We are excited to announce that Tonia Gray has been preselected as the Greens candidate for Kiama in the March 2023 State Election.
Tonia, who currently lives in Berry, is a Ward 1 Councillor on Shoalhaven City Council and is a Professor in the School of Education at Western Sydney University.
In support of her decision, Tonia said “I’m running because more capable women are needed in politics. Our local communities are demanding transparent and honest decision making. Inappropriate development is a serious threat to our local coastal communities and the current Coalition state government has sidelined local input into planning decisions.
“The current government has done nothing to address housing affordability and emergency accommodation,has widened the inequality gap, and transitioned too slowly into renewables. NSW’s education and health systems are beyond breaking point, we are haemorrhaging good people. Our youngest and brightest are the invisible casualties of COVID confronting the uncertainty of life due to ten natural disasters in three years.”
Tonia has a long family connection with the Illawarra and South Coast stretching back as far as the early 1800’s. “I’m deeply embedded in this regional seat having lived 16 years in Berry and 13 years prior in Kiama. Born in Wollongong Hospital, as the daughter/granddaughter of Port Kembla steelworkers, I was educated in the public-sector, and graduated as a high school teacher from the University of Wollongong. I lectured at UOW in the School of Education from 1989 to 2012.” Tonia said.
As the new State member for Kiama, Tonia will commit to working towards a fairer, healthier and cleaner future for NSW. She sees this being achieved through five principal tasks:
- Tackling climate justice by rapidly transitioning to renewable energy and public ownership of key energy assets
- Demanding expanded funding for world class education, public housing, hospitals, public transport and social services
- Protecting our precious natural environments and productive agricultural landscapes
- Restoring integrity and respect to politics and ending dirty donations
- Working with First Peoples to establish a path for sovereignty and meaningful treaties.
Tonia believes that a change in Kiama’s representation will help change the broken state leadership model. “Moving to a socially just, ecologically sustainable, and clean economic future for us all are my core objectives” she said. “The Greens in NSW have a comprehensive 50 point policy plan to support those objectives”.
Tonia will bring to the role of member for Kiama a wealth of skills developed during her work for a Masters in Community Health (USA), a Doctorate in Education and her current Senior Leadership role at Western Sydney University. “I have sharpened my skills in ethical, compassionate, and civic-minded leadership” she said.