The Liberal Party has selected local businesswoman, Dr Fiona Kotvojs, to contest the key federal seat of Eden-Monaro, held by Labor’s Mike Kelly, at the election due in 2019.
South Coast beef farmer and small businesswoman, Dr Kotvojs will be aiming to become the first woman to represent the one-time bellwether seat after being chosen by a plebiscite of Liberal Party members at the weekend, beating out four other candidates.
Dr Kotvojs joins the fight for Eden-Monaro at a time when many female Liberal MPs have come out against the culture of the Federal parliamentary party and alleged bullying and standover tactics during the recent leadership change, and against the party in general for not selecting more women to stand for Parliament.
The Liberal Party said Dr Kotvojs had outlined a strong vision for the local community, and a desire to bring more local jobs into the region.
She brings strong local links and experience in business and the community to the contest.
Born in Bega and raised on the family farm in Dignams Creek, she lives on the family farm between Narooma and Bega, growing Simmental cattle and truffles.
She started her professional life as a high school teacher, then applied her science qualifications in coastal environments, including Environmental Impact Studies.
Dr Kotvojs has also worked in the private sector to design, manage and evaluate Australian foreign aid programs in Asia-Pacific nations across education, environment, natural resources, agriculture, infrastructure, health, community development, economic governance, as well as law and justice sectors.
As well as managing the family farm, Dr Kotvojs has established two successful small businesses, is a Rural Fire Service volunteer, Anglican Church Property Trustee and
Oxfam Australia Director.
She will campaign on more reliable job opportunities and retaining young people in the region.
“From Eden to Yass and Narooma to Tumbarumba, families with children are concerned about job security,” she said. “Our community is calling out for more local job opportunities, reduced seasonality of work in areas dominated by tourism and orchards, and maximizing long-term employment through the great Liberal Government initiative of Snowy 2.0.
“Young people leave our area for work or study and don’t return, and we can change this by reducing red tape and creating better incentives to attract and grow businesses across our region.
“This electorate is better off under the Morrison Coalition Government, which is focused on delivering more jobs, growing the economy and driving down energy costs. More than 16,000 small and medium businesses in Eden-Monaro are benefiting from tax relief introduced by the Coalition Government and opposed by Labor.”
Dr Kotvojs said she has been humbled by the support and trust that the local party members had given her. “I’m looking forward to campaigning every day on the issues that matter to this community – job creation, better support for skill building and upgrading our roads.”
Eden-Monaro is set to become a three-cornered contest, with the National Party calling for potential candidates to nominate.