Clarence MP Steve Cansdell sorts through a mountain of emails following his win in the election.
Clarence MP Steve Cansdell sorts through a mountain of emails following his win in the election. JoJo Newby

Hospital at top of Cansdell's list

YESTERDAY morning Steve Cansdell’s euphoria at the massive NSW Coalition election win took a back seat to more pressing matter of where to find $300,000 to get Grafton Base Hospital’s new orthopedic surgery fully outfitted.

Mr Cansdell said the task, although insignificant in money terms to big ticket promises like the completion of the Pacific Highway and a second Grafton bridge, was vital to the success of the surgery.

“That’s my number one priority,” Mr Cansdell said. “I’m starting work on it today.

“I’ve met with the new orthopedic surgeon, Sam Martin, and Dr Allan Tyson and told them that will be my first job, to find them the funding to fully equip the surgery.

“Dr Martin is an amazingly talented man and we’re fortunate to have him here.

“Things will be tight, but the costs now to get this equipment will be saved 10 to 20-fold in the future.”

This task brought home to Mr Cansdell what it means to change from opposition to government.

“This is an area I’ve never been in my previous eight years in State politics,” he said.

“It’s going to be a steep learning curve, but it’s going to be exciting.”

Mr Cansdell is adamant he will hold his leader, Andrew Stoner, to his commitment to a start on a second Grafton bridge in this parliamentary term.

“It’s something I’m going to hold him to,” Mr Cansdell said.

“A lot of people told me it’s something they won’t see in their lifetime. If it can be done in the next eight years that will be great.

“It’s going to be a mammoth task, but that’s a goal we’ve set ourselves.”

Mr Cansdell said the most pressing commitment was to upgrade the Pacific Highway.

“I’ve got friends who are paramedics and emergency services personnel, and if we can have them not going out to accident scenes dragging bodies out of cars that’s going to be a huge plus.

“Those sorts of horrific accidents ruin families and ruin communities. That sort of major infrastructure improvement could cut the death rate by nine-tenths.”

Mr Cansdell should find out this week if he will be the parliamentary secretary to the Police Minister.

He wants the job, but is not sure if he will get it.

“I’ll be going to Sydney on Wednesday and the position will be a lot clearer then,” he said.

At a local level Mr Cansdell is angry at claims from Independent candidate Richie Williamson that he and other Nationals offered him inducements not to run in theelection.

He described Mr Williamson’s claims as “rubbish”.

“He wanted to discredit my character by making false accusations,” Mr Cansdell said.

“It shows his lack of credibility.”

Despite these feelings Mr Cansdell said he would continue to work with Mr Williamson in his role asClarence Valley Mayor.



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