FIVE-time Paralympian, local farmer, East Gippsland Shire councillor and business manager Jeff McNeill is competing to represent Gippsland in Canberra in the coming Federal election.
Mr McNeill has been endorsed as the ALP candidate for Gippsland and is no stranger to big challenges.
He is described as passionate about a fair go for all Gippslanders.
“We need to invest in our people, make sure our children have a quality education, make sure our hospitals are properly funded and that we have a world class national broadband network for our future prosperity,” Mr McNeill said.
The federal government has to take a specific approach in regional areas and that was at risk with the current Nationals’ MP under an Abbott government, according to Mr McNeill.
“We need to make sure the people of Gippsland don’t suffer the savage cuts we’ve seen under the Victorian Liberal Nationals coalition.
“We’ve seen time and again what happens when our local representatives are part of a coalition Government with cuts to TAFE, DPI, Parks, the CFA and now stopping our train at Traralgon. Gippsland cannot afford to again have a member of a coalition government or a Nationals back bencher, or front bencher for that matter.
“We need true equity in our community. Thousands of people in Gippsland need Labor’s national disability insurance scheme, they also need an affordable paid parental leave scheme and any reduction in payments to pensioners would be a national disgrace,” Mr McNeill said.
A Gippslander himself, the current Leader of the Opposition in the Victorian Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Water, Resources and Commonwealth-State Relations, John Lenders understands the grit and determination behind Mr McNeill.
“Don’t ever tell Jeff it can’t be done, losing his sight as a young boy and going on to compete in 11 World Championships and five Paralympics while running a farm, a health clinic and raising a family, shows a strength of purpose and character that is rare.
“Jeff is a very capable individual and would be a real asset to Gippsland as their representative in Canberra,” John said.
Mr McNeill understands that local people want a representative who listens to them and understands the issues communities across Gippsland face.
“Losing my sight at an early age means I have a good ear for listening,” he said.
It’s a point Eastern Victoria MLC Johan Scheffer supports.
“Jeff really listens to people on a personal level, he has the unique ability to understand the personal challenges people face, what needs to be done and how to advocate for them to make sure they get what they need,” Mr Scheffer said.