09 June 2016
by Primrose Riordan
Vote For Me, You Get A Harbor: Liberal MP
The Labor Party said a comment by Liberal Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis suggesting the Turnbull government may deliver projects in her seat only if she is elected was a repeat of a widely criticised remark made by ex-Victorian Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Ms Sudmalis in her seat, which she holds by 3.8 per cent, on Wednesday to promise $358,000 to build the Jindelara Cottage in Ulladulla and $790,000 to upgrade Ulladulla Harbour.
"If I'm elected and the Turnbull government is returned, these projects will go ahead. That's the commitment we've made to this community,"
Ms Sudmalis said the money would come out of the National Stronger Regions Fund.
"It's basically saying if we're re-elected those rules [under the fund] still apply. They've gone through the vetting, we've budgeted for them, we can do them," she said.
Liberal candidate Sophie Mirabella's campaign to recapture Indi was damaged when she suggested the Abbott government withdrew $10 million in local hospital funding when she lost the seat at the 2013 election.
"This is Sophie Mirabella all over again. Is Ms Sudmalis seriously suggesting that if local residents don't vote Liberal, they will be punished?" a Labor spokesman said.
Ms Sudmalis said she discussed the projects when Mr Turnbull was in the electorate a couple of months ago and she was still lobbying for the Nowra bridge.
She was accompanied by local mayor and former Gilmore Liberal MP Joanna Gash, who also attended a pie lunch with Mr Turnbull earlier in the day.
Ms Sudmalis, who used to work for Ms Gash, said she now worked together with her to secure "the lions share" of black-spot funding for the electorate.
"There's been a good synergy there because if I flick through, we get advanced notice of the grants that are coming up, [and] I send that out to my local mayors," she said.
"The Shoalhaven has got the lion's share of a lot of funding, we've achieved about $15 million worth of black spot funding.
"I think we're the top-scoring electorate and it's because of that synergy, because as soon as that round of black-spot funding is announced I'll email saying get it out there, get your applications in."
Ms Sudmalis also recently connected a Coalition pledge of $2.5 million towards the Moruya Airport, which services her electorate, to the re-election of the Turnbull government.
The comments come after it was revealed the Coalition had made $1.3 billion of micro-announcements since the election, mostly in marginal seats.
Since then, just in the past week, the Coalition has made about another $100 million in minor spending promises.