The electoral district of Bega is a seat in south-eastern NSW. The south coast electorate Bega covers all of Eurobodalla and Bega Valley shires. The seat covers the towns of Bega, Eden, Batemans Bay and Moruya.
According to 2016 Census data, Bega has:
A population of 70,054 (47,669 voters turned out in 2015 out of 54,510 enrolled);
A higher than average median age at 52;
A lower than average level of highest educational attainment with 14.1% of constituents achieving a Bachelor Degree level and above; and
A lower than average median weekly household income of $960 (vs. $1,486 for NSW).
Bega has existed in its current form since 1988, with a seat of the same name also existing from 1894 to 1920. Bega has always been held by the Liberal Party. The seat was won in 1988 by Liberal Russel Smith, with Smith holding the seat until his retirement in 2003. Liberal Andrew Constance replaced Smith in 2003 following Smith’s retirement. Constance has held Bega since 2003 for the Liberal Party.
The current member, Andrew Constance, holds the seat for the Liberal Party.
Andrew Constance (LIB)
Before election to Parliament in 2003 Constance worked as a corporate affairs consultant representing large industry associations and multinationals in the Asia-Pacific region. At the time of his election in 2003 Constance was aged 29, making him the youngest member of Parliament.
The pre-selection of Constance, an outsider and former Young Liberal President, caused some outrage amongst locals. This resulted in Bega being contested by Independent Chris Vardon, who had served as President of local Eurobodalla Shire for 12 years. Vardon's campaign forced the Liberal Party to divert resources to what otherwise would have been a safe seat. Constance withstood the 2003 challenge, increased the majority in 2007 and made the seat a safe took the seat into very safe Liberal territory at the 2011 election. In the 2015 election Constance received 53.2% of first preference votes, and ended with 58.2% of two-party-preferred, a swing of -10.3 points.
Constance is currently Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, a role he took 2 April 2015. Under the O'Farrell government Constance became Minister for Ageing and Disability Services. Constance was briefly Minister for Finance before being appointed Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations by new Premier Mike Baird in April 2014.
Leanne Atkinson (LAB)
Atkinson is the Labor Party candidate for Bega in the 2019 election. Atkinson is a local businesswoman and mother of five. She is a former Board member of Regional Development Australia and former Shire Councillor. Atkinson has 25 years of experience working in tourism and regional development.