Kathy Smith resigns due to return of cancer
Member for Gosford Ms Kathy Smith has announced her resignation from NSW Parliament, because her cancer has returned.
The resignation was confirmed in a media statement from the NSW Opposition Leader Mr Luke Foley.
He said that, against the odds, she won Gosford for Labor in 2015.
Ms Smith was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and doctors were confident at the time that she would overcome the disease that first struck her in 1996.
Unfortunately the cancer had more recently metastasised and required further treatment.
"There is no higher honour than to represent your community in Parliament and that is why it is with great sadness that I announce my decision to resign as your Member for Gosford," Ms Smith said.
"When I was diagnosed with cancer last year, my doctors were positive that with treatment I would win my second battle with this disease," she said.
"Unfortunately, the cancer has metastasised and will now require further treatment.
"This was not the result any of us was hoping for.
"It was my first battle with this disease that led me to become a cancer advocate, then Chair of Cancer Voices NSW and ultimately be given the privilege of representing my community in the NSW Parliament.
"I am proud of what we have achieved together on the Central Coast and I know that whoever comes next will continue the great work that I and the Foley Labor team have started.
"I now look forward to spending more time with my family and continuing my treatment and recovery," she said.
Ms Smith thanked her staff, Ms Jane Letteri and Ms Amy Walsh, and her husband Peter whose dedication and support had made so much possible at this difficult time.
NSW Opposition leader Mr Luke Foley said: "I said when Kathy was diagnosed with cancer that she had all our heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery.
"Now with her resignation, we are losing a remarkable, resilient and admirable woman, mother and colleague.
"Her spirit and outlook will be missed around Parliament and important though her work here was, she has a much bigger battle ahead.
"She has our entire sincere good wishes for that struggle.
"Please give her your best thoughts, and prayers.
"She and her family will get strength from that."
Mr Foley said Ms Smith's achievements during her time as Member for Gosford included her exposure of the dangerous condition of the Hawkesbury River Rail Bridge which led to an inquiry by the Office of Transport Safety Investigations and forced the Government to make repairs.
She led the fight against the closure of the Roads and Maritime Services office in Woy Woy by collecting a petition with more than 15,000 signatures and forcing a debate in the NSW Parliament.
Ms Smith was credited with stopping the proposed increase in train fares which would have almost doubled fares for seniors by 2018 and would have cost daily commuters from Woy Woy to Tuggerah an extra $386 per year.
"She fought to keep our public hospitals in public hands because patients should always come before profit; campaigned to fix the $12 million maintenance backlog at Gosford schools; and championed Brisbane Water oyster growers in their continuing efforts to re-establish a viable local industry."
NSW Labor Senator Ms Deborah O'Neill, former Federal Member for Robertson, released a statement following Ms Smith's announcement.
"I am very sad that my friend and colleague Kathy Smith has had to resign as the Member for Gosford," she said.
"Kathy has been a strong voice for our community for many years.
"I first met Kathy when she was the chairperson of Cancer Voices NSW and she was fighting to secure funding to build the Regional Cancer Centre at Gosford Hospital.
"Thanks to Kathy's persistent and passionate advocacy on behalf of locals, the Cancer Centre was built by Labor and thousands of locals now receive their cancer treatment right here on the Central Coast.
"Kathy has continued to be a strong champion for our community and has fought against the Liberal Government's attack on our local services, while battling her own illness in the last 12 months.
"My thoughts are with Kathy, Peter, her children, grandchildren and her close friends at this very difficult time."
Media statement, 14 Feb 2017
Maegen Sykes, Office of Luke Foley
Media statement, 14 Feb 2017
Rhys Zorro, Office of Deborah O'Neill