Liberal Peter Hendy, member for Eden-Monaro in Queanbeyan. Photo: Rohan Thomson
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Newly-minted MP Peter Hendy is vowing to boost small business in the electorate of Eden-Monaro to drive further growth in the region.
However projects promised by the outgoing Labor government would be reviewed, he said.
Peter Hendy shakes hands with Labor candidate Mike Kelly after being announced as the winning candidate in Eden-Monaro. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Mr Hendy was finally declared the winner of the nation’s bellwether seat on Wednesday in a small ceremony at Queanbeyan.
Unusually, the outgoing MP, Labor’s Mike Kelly, attended the gathering and offered his congratulations to his successor.
The Australian Electoral Commission says the two-candidate preferred count so far gives 45,192 votes to Mr Hendy and 44,121 to Dr Kelly.
Mike Kelly speaks to media after the announcement that Liberal Peter Hendy, has won the poll for Eden-Monaro. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Divisional returning officer Pat Satie declared the poll, saying every candidate conducted themselves professionally and made his task relatively easy.
The full distribution of preferences was underway but would not affect the result, he said.
Mr Hendy paid tribute to Dr Kelly’s work in the electorate over six years.
‘‘There are pressures on maintaining economic viability in regional towns in particular and part of that is to ensure small business is strong and robust,’’ he said.
‘‘Everything we can do for small business across the region we will do over the next few years to ensure we have the jobs for the people ... the young people in particular in Eden-Monaro.’’
Although Dr Kelly conceded previously, Mr Hendy said he had remained concerned about the closeness of the vote.
‘‘I was always a little worried someone might find 1,000 votes under one of those chairs over there,’’ he said.
‘‘It can happen, we saw it happen in Indi so you never know.’’
Dr Kelly said the campaign had been very tough and noted Mr Hendy had been campaigning for at least 15 months.
‘‘That’s one of the longer commitments that I’ve seen from a candidate,’’ he said.
Dr Kelly would like to move to the Senate for one term, if Foreign Minister Bob Carr retires, and recontest Eden-Monaro at the next election.