Voter and Youth Insearch volunteer Zane Condon (Image: Amber Schultz/Private Media)Voter and Youth Insearch volunteer Zane Condon (Image: Amber Schultz/Private Media)
Voter and Youth Insearch volunteer Zane Condon (Image: Amber Schultz/Private Media)

Mental health support could be a vital issue in the marginal seat of Gilmore, south of Sydney, which was devastated by the Black Summer bushfires, COVID-19 isolation issues and recent flooding in the region. 

More than 5000 children and youth are at risk of significant harm in the electorate, CEO of peer-led youth trauma recovery organisation Youth Insearch Stephen Lewin tells Crikey. One in five children in Shoalhaven is affected by mental illness and more than a third of self-harm emergencies involve people aged 15 to 24.

The seat is held with a 2.6% swing by Labor’s Fiona Phillips, who is up against the Liberals' Andrew Constance and the Greens’ Carmel McCallum. Constance’s presence makes for an interesting election: as the Liberal member for Bega for the past 18 years, he's held the NSW treasury and transport ministerial portfolios, but rose to infamy during the Black Summer bushfires.