Inner West issues may take centre stage as Labor elects local to leadership

Luke Foley, new Labor leader

Labor’s new leader Luke Foley lives at Concord West, and is well versed in the issues facing Inner West areas like Strathfield.

Within hours of taking up the reigns of party leadership, he announced a visit tio Strathfield with Labor contender Jodi McKay -  another indication that the Liberal-held seat is being targetted by the party.

Ironically, Mr Foley was touted as someone who might stand as Labor candidate for the Strathfield state seat once held by Labor minister Virginia Judge. Instead, he will contest neghbouring Auburn.

And in another irony, Ms McKay was touted in the Sydney Morning Herald as a potential Labor Party leader. A poll maintained 21 per cent of voters preferred the form Newcastle MP and one-time minister as party leader, even thought she had not been elected to a seat.

Mr Foley has been instrumental in trying to bring clarity to how Homebush West and other Parramatta Road communities have been affected by new plans for high housing density. He promised jobs closer to homes and an end to the long commute in his first statement as Labor leader on Saturday.

But there was no mention of the contentious issue of amalgamations and local government reform which could see Strathfield merged with neighbouring councils.

Mr Foley, 44, and a married father of three, accepted the leadership "with great pride and humility" after former leader John Robertson stood down over a letter he penned in favour of siege gunman Man Haron Monis in 2011 as his local MP.


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