THE woman credited with spearheading the successful 11th-hour rescue campaign to save the doomed Regal Cinema has been named as Labor’s candidate for the state seat of Lake Macquarie.
Jo Smith, the executive director of the Australian Guild of Screen Composers, and a former policy advisor for Screen Producers Australia, was welcomed to the fold by the Hunter’s Labor MPs on Monday.
NSW Senator Lynda Voltz and Shadow Minister for the Hunter, Kate Washington, announced that Ms Smith would contest the seat at next year’s state election.
They described Ms Smith as a community advocate with “a long history of effective lobbying”.
Hunter state Labor MPs Sonia Hornery (member for Wallsend), Tim Crackenthorp (Newcastle), Clayton Barr (Cessnock), Yasmin Catley (Swansea) and Jenny Atkinson (MaitlandO) attended the announcement outside Awaba House, Booragul.
Ms Smith was born in Fishing Point, was raised and lives in Booragul.
She graduated from the University of Newcastle.
She recently led the campaign to retain the Regal Cinema and now manages a team of 100 dedicated volunteers who were recipients of the 2017 Newcastle Volunteer Team of the Year Award.
“Lake Macquarie is one of the best places to live in Australia. I want to keep it that way,” Ms Smith said.
“I want to stop the losses, restore what we have lost, protect what we have, and build on this. The continued downgrading of public transport, selling off of public assets and threats to local medical services need to stop.
“Being part of a united Hunter team that works together to deliver more for the region is the best way to achieve this,” Ms Smith said.
Lake Macquarie duty senator, Lynda Voltz, welcomed Ms Smith’s candidacy.
“I am very pleased to announce a strong community representative as the state Labor candidate for Lake Macquarie,” Ms Voltz said.
“Jo Smith has extensive experience in policy and successfully lobbying government. She will be a very strong - and very effective - voice for Lake Macquarie and a valuable member of the Hunter Labor team."
Independent MP Greg Piper has held the seat of Lake Macquarie since 2007.