Bega MP and former NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has officially been selected as the Liberal candidate for the marginal seat of Gilmore.
Mr Constance will take on Labor incumbent Fiona Phillips who won the seat from the Liberals in the 2019 federal election with a margin of 2.6 per cent.
Gilmore was held by the Liberals for more than two decades until the last election, when Mrs Phillips won the seat in a battle against Warren Mundine.
He acknowledged it has been a challenging time for residents in the NSW South Coast electorate who faced the Black Summer bushfires, followed by the pandemic, and said he wanted to deliver "the best outcomes for people moving forward".
"I've seen on the front-line the impacts we have had in terms of Black Summer," he said on Monday.
"Every day for two years, that community continues to deal with the difficulties associated with the pandemic.
"But moving forward, I want to ensure that we build on what's already here in terms of our regional development.
"Which means tackling things like land management. It also means making sure we have the right resilience and mitigation in place and that we take action on climate change."
He noted he had delivered some of the most significant infrastructure in the NSW South Coast electorate and pledged to continue that.
This includes projects such as the Albion Park bypass, Berry to Bomaderry duplication, the Nowra Bridge project, Batemans Bay Bridge, Batemans Bay South Link road and Nelligen Bridge.
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"As someone who's delivered infrastructure as a state minister and local member in excess of $3.5 billion locally...we've been making those investments which matter," he said.
"It's not just about the infrastructure. It's about the jobs behind it.
"And there's more to do. I want to single out the Jindelara Respite Cottage in Ulladulla for special mention.
"That's an example of a local project backed by local service clubs, needing more support moving forward to continue to support people with disability."
Mr Constance also guaranteed the $260 million Eurobodalla Regional Hospital would be a level four health facility.
"The Moruya location at the Eurobodalla Regional Hospital will be level four," he said. "It's guaranteed."
"The close observation unit that has been established in the Moruya Hospital right now is a stepping stone for an eight bed Intensive Care Unit, which delivers the level four status for the new facility."
Mr Constance was joined by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne, Senator Jim Molan and newly-elected Shoalhaven councillor and president of the Gilmore Liberal Federal Electorate Conference Paul Ell who endorsed him as candidate on Monday.
The announcement comes after three candidates who put themselves forward for pre-selection pulled out of the race in December.
The first to announce he would pull out was Mr Ell.
"On behalf of the Liberal Party members of Gilmore, we're really excited to be getting behind Andrew to support this campaign," said Mr Ell.
Vincentia businesswoman and former Shoalhaven councillor, Jemma Tribe, along with Sanctuary Point resident and former staffer to Christopher Pyne, Stephen Hayes, also withdrew their nomination.
All three former nominees said they did not feel pressured to withdraw, but instead felt Mr Constance stood the best chance of winning the bell-weather seat back for the Liberal Party, after a disastrous campaign in 2019.
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