Samantha Talakola: Our sense of community means so much to me

Londonderry's Liberal candidate Samantha Talakola: Make the most of the Liberal government's family benefits

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Tell us a bit about yourself 

Samantha Talakola: Born and raised in southern India, I migrated to Australia at a young age to pursue higher education in Business Management. Since coming to Australia and calling Western Sydney home, I have grown from strength to strength, and have always been thankful for the support I have received from our local community. As a single mum, raising two children who attend local schools, I am a passionate community worker, always believing in giving back to our region. Whether it’s in my many volunteer roles or within my professional capacity in disabilities, mental health and with women escaping domestic violence, I am passionate about working with our diverse community. My community experience in Western Sydney means I understand the challenges faced by many families, and the importance of a government which can deliver a strong economy to provide the services those families need. 

What would you say are the three main issues concerning the voters this election? 

Having a government with a long-term plan to reduce pressure on household budgets; build the infrastructure for the future, and invest in frontline services 

Samantha Talakola
(Source: Supplied)

Tell us about your electorate. Three issues of importance in your electorate? What are the three main changes you wish to make if you are to be elected? 

Being a local from Londonderry means something special to me, and it’s something I wear as a badge of honour. I know what it’s like to squeeze your pay cheque as hard as possible. I know what it’s like driving down a congested road, stuck in traffic and wondering if I’ve left enough time to make it to work. I’ve had to hunt for childcare for my kids like so many other families. That’s what makes me a Londonderry local.

Our sense of community means so much to me that it has driven my determination to pursue this opportunity to be the voice for Londonderry in NSW Parliament. If elected, easing the pressure on family budgets through strong economic management will be a top priority for me. I am a strong advocate for delivering the infrastructure for our growing population, so I will also focus on delivering the Jordan Springs High School, building the new multi-sports arena in Claremont Meadows, upgrading The Driftway and Londonderry Road, upgrading Richmond Road and the new Metro rail line for Tallawong to St Marys.

I will continue to listen to the people of Londonderry every day. I believe in supporting small business and encouraging families to use the Perrottet Liberal Government’s family benefits and vouchers (such as Active Kids, Creative Kids, Back-to-school vouchers and the $250 Energy rebate) to help put money back in locals’ pockets.

Why politics? What convinced you to join the party of your choice? 

Samantha Talakola: Western Sydney has been in my heart since moving to this area as a young mother ten years ago. It’s where I’ve been raising my two children, where they’ve gone to local public school, and where I’ve worked for the local council and communities in Western Sydney. I left India as an 18-year-old in pursuit of higher education and never in a million years did I think that I would be standing next to the Premier of NSW while making incredibly significant announcements for the future of Western Sydney. This happened because the community embraced me, wrapped its arms around me and supported me. Now I want to give back. And the best way I can show my affection is to be your champion, your voice, and your representative in Parliament. 

There’s been much discussion about better representation in politics: more women, more people of colour, more migrants. And yet high-profile mainstream politicians continue to be parachuted in, even in migrant-heavy seats. What are your thoughts here? 

Samantha Talakola: I am an Indian-born Australian woman that defied all odds when I was 18 to travel to Sydney from my homeland to better my education and start a new life. I am very proud of my heritage, and where I came from but most importantly I am proud what I have managed to achieve as a woman. I have been embraced by this country, the local community, and feel my values align with the Perrottet Liberal Government. My experience has been good. When I decided to put my hand up to run for the seat of Londonderry, I was welcomed and accepted. I never had any resistance there. The Liberals have a strong focus on tolerance and diversity. I have only been encouraged and supported to stand side by side with Premier Dominic Perrottet and the Liberals to accurately represent the people of Londonderry and Western Sydney. 

Samantha Talakola
(Source: Supplied)

What do you think are the pressing needs of the Indian Australian / South Asian community? 

Samantha Talakola: The state has an incredibly strong and passionate Indian and South East Asian community, which the NSW Liberal Government has supported and partnered with on many different platforms. Whether it is contributing financially to ensure the celebration of major cultural events or even the creation of local sporting facilities that include courts for sports that are enjoyed by the local Indian community. Most importantly, for many families in the Londonderry electorate, the rising cost of living and mortgage squeeze is being felt. That is why I am proud to be running for the Perrottet Liberal Government with a long term plan to reduce pressure on household budgets, build the infrastructure for the future and invest in frontline services. 

Who inspires you?

Samantha Talakola: I am inspired by the people I talk to every day, especially those in community service. I am nourished by the stories and experiences of those residing in Western Sydney. Everyone’s story is unique, but one thing is for sure – we all share a sense of resilience and perseverance. That is what inspires me.

What are you reading atm? Watching? Listening to?

Samantha Talakola: I am a long time listener of 2BG and more recently a listener of The Edge radio station. When I get a moment, in between raising my two beautiful children, my community work and the campaign, I might catch a documentary or two on Netflix.

Read More: Dominic Perrottet: India will be one of my first overseas visits if we win

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