2 March, 2022
Parkes federal election hot seat
On Friday, February 25, Jack Ayoub who was born and grew up in Coonabarabran, was endorsed as the Labor candidate for Parkes, to run against National’s Mark Coulton in this year’s federal election.
Mr Coulton, the current federal member
for Parkes, announced he would once
again contest the seat of Parkes after
being pre-selected as the Nationals’ candidate
for the sixth time in May last year.
Mr Ayoub contested the seat of Parkes
for the first time at the previous federal
Mr Ayoub shared with Gilgandra
Newspapers his stance on the following
key issues going into the election:
Mr Ayoub said his emphasis was on
ensuring there’s sufficient social housing
that is located and built in a way that is
sensitive to place.
“People shouldn’t have to move or
feel a sense of dislocation in order to
have secure housing.
“Fortunately, the Labor Party has
committed $10 billion to the issue of
social housing across the nation, allowing
us to draw upon that in addressing
the needs of the Parkes electorate.”
He said he wants to ensure that towns
throughout the electorate have enough
housing stock to attract professionals and
“This will also alleviate the current
issue of exorbitant rental prices that are
compounding the issues involved in the
cost of living.”
He said the construction of houses is
set to create hundreds of jobs, many of
which will be fulfilled by apprentices.
He said the above policy will assist in
addressing the pressing issue of domestic
violence. In addition to this, he supports
the Labor Party’s initiative of creating
250 community sector worker positions
throughout regional Australia.
Mr Ayoub said he seeks to ensure that
the communities across Parkes have the
resources to accommodate people that
seek to upskill, learn a trade, and further
He said the Labor Party is doing this
by lowering the cost of tafe courses, particularly
in the fields of hospitality and
The Labor Party is also set to invest
almost 500 million into the nation’s
school system, ensuring that basic
amenities are upgraded in line with the
needs of students.
Mr Ayoub said he also seeks to
ensure that university students have the
opportunity to remain in their community
whilst completing their university
This can be achieved with the help of
innovative enterprises like the ‘Country
University Centre’ which is servicing the
community of Narrabri to great effect.
Mr Ayoub said he upholds Labor’s
position on climate change.
“We are of the view that there is a significant
economic imperative, and a
strong business case to be made in favour
of addressing climate change; in cutting
emissions, we have the capacity to
unlock 600,000 jobs, while also bringing
down the household power bill by as
much as $300.”
Mr Ayoub said he wants to make sure
there are ample job opportunities for
people in the Parkes electorate.
Aside from providing sufficient housing
for workers, he seeks to fulfil this
agenda by rebuilding Australia’s manufacturing
industry, supporting tradespeople
and apprentices, ensuring that the
government works actively to recruit
apprentice tradespeople, and by making
childcare cheaper for working parents.
He said furthermore, it was imperative
in a thriving regional economy to
have access to reliable internet.
In recognition of this, he supports the
Labor Party’s policy of boosting access
to The NBN.
Mr Ayoub, a Kamilaroi man, said
“First Nations people stand to benefit
from all of the policies that have been
From a great supply of social housing
and a greater number of community
workers, to a reduction in the cost of an
apprenticeship, the Indigenous community
stand to benefit considerably.”
Mr Ayoub said with his grandmother
being an Indigenous elder of Coonamble,
he has intimate connection to the needs
of his community, and makes it his personal
priority to reflect those needs in all
of his advocacy.
Mr Coulton told Gilgandra
Newspapers “my goals are to grow on
what we’ve done and if I had to identify
a problem I think we need to overcome,
it’s our lack of people”.
“We’ve got enormous opportunities through pretty well every occupation from the professions - health professionals, aged care, education right through all the trades, and agriculture. We have enormous opportunities in front of us, but to reach our full potential we need more people,” said Mr Coulton.
He said five-or-six-years-ago the towns were giving away free rental to encourage people to come, as opposed to currently the challenge is accommodating the increasing population to make sure they’ve got the services they require when they relocate.
Mr Coulton said he has been working
with organisations like the Regional
Australia Institute to promote the region
to fellow Australians but also working
with the minister for immigration to
make sure there aren’t artificial impediments
in place so that we can get skilled
migrants to come in.
“I firmly believe that skilled migrants
not only will help with our workforce
issues but add to the culture and liveability
of country towns,” said Mr Coulton.
He told Gilgandra Newspapers the three main issues he saw as necessary to address this problem were Connectivity Mr Coulton said the NBN rollout, satellite services, plus the other data services were priorities.
He said “connectivity is improving
and we’ve got to keep pressure on
telecommunications companies to make
sure they’re upgrading their services”.
“That’s enabling a lot of people with
one member of the family gets a job in a
country town, the other one can keep
their job somewhere else by working
Mr Coulton said “we’re working on a
permanent solution. In the past years
we’ve paid locum relief doctors huge
amounts of money to come in and fill in
gaps in our workforce.
“Unfortunately one of the unforeseen
consequences we have a cohort of medical
professionals that only want to do
casual work, and not settle into an area.
That’s why we’re training doctors
locally in Dubbo, doing their full degree.
We’ve doubled the number of training
places for junior doctors into regional
“We’re looking at permanent solutions
rather than short term ones. He said
it was also important to train allied health
workers in a more generalist way, so that
they can deal with mental injuries right
through to elderly people recovering
Mr Coulton said while schools are run by the state government, the federal government can help improve schools by making sure “when those people are looking to come to a town to work as a teacher, there are other services and lifestyle opportunities that are attractive to them”.
By Natasha May