Deputy Prime Minister Michale McCormack, Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight and Nationals candidate for Cowper Patrick Conaghan
Deputy Prime Minister Michale McCormack, Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight and Nationals candidate for Cowper Patrick Conaghan TREVOR VEALE

Deputy PM called out on flying visit to push for Pat

THE media were already reporting the visit from deputy PM as an attempt by the Nationals to shore up the electorate against high profile independent Rob Oakeshott, and the lack of detail and fact our mayor only learnt of the visit through the media this morning, did little to counter this.

Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack flew into Coffs Harbour to announce a $10 million boost for the long-anticipated Coffs Harbour Airport Enterprise Park.

Canberra media described Cowper as a 'weak seat' and referred to Nationals candidate Patrick Conaghan as a rookie up against Oakeshott - a former kingmaker at a federal level.

Mr Oakeshott helped deliver Julia Gillard's Labor minority government in 2010.

The retirement of long serving Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker was always going to hurt, but his absence on the federal election campaign trail has been noted.

It's in stark contrast to retiring Nationals State MP Andrew Fraser's support for new candidate Gurmesh Singh in the lead up to the March 23 state election.

The deputy PM was asked if this was a bad look for Mr Conaghan.

"Luke's probably down at pre-polling or doing something - also fighting hard to get Pat up in Cowper. As I go out and about in other seats you can't just have a whole host of people behind you. We're looking towards the future and that's Pat Conaghan," Mr McCormack said.

,  Denise Knight Mayor Coffs Harbour.. 01 MAY 2018
Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight only learnt about the visit from the media early this morning. TREVOR VEALE

The 100-lot Coffs Harbour enterprise estate off Aviation Dr is being developed by Coffs Harbour City Council.

New funds pledged today will be used to prepare the site and carry out drainage works and Mr Conaghan emphasised the importance of creating new jobs in the region.

"I said the day I became The Nationals candidate that I was committed to addressing youth unemployment here in Coffs and today we are taking real action," Mr Conaghan said.

"The new airport industrial estate will lure new industries to town, create thousands of local jobs and inject millions into our regional economy - putting money back in the pockets of local businesspeople."

Coffs Harbour City Council Mayor Denise Knight filled in the gaps about what is proposed at the enterprise park.

"This is something that Coffs Harbour City Council has been working on for a number of years now. To have 43 hectares of land that we will be able to divide up for for aviation and commercial and industrial land is something we've been screaming out for in this community so I would like to thank the government for the input of the 10 million dollars, it will really help," Cr Knight said.

She outlined the possibility of a hotel at the enterprise park and acknowledged the Aboriginal cultural significance of the site.


Airport Enterprise parkfunding, Michael McCormackDeputy Prime Minister, Patrick Conaghan Nat Candidate Cowper,  Denise Knight Mayor Coffs Harbour.adani protesters. 01 MAY 2018
Stop Adani protesters speak with Nationals candidate for Cowper Patrick Conaghan. TREVOR VEALE