David Southwick defends real estate portfolio

October 2, 2023 by AAP
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The Victorian opposition’s new cost of living spokesman has defended stepping into the role while having interests in 17 properties.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition David Southwick MP (left) speaks to media at a press conference at Victorian Parliament in Melbourne, Monday, October 2, 2023. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Caulfield MP David Southwick took on the role as part of a shadow cabinet shake-up unveiled on Monday, sparked by the departure of upper house Matthew Bach who accepted a teaching job in the UK.

Mr Southwick’s register of interests disclosure to parliament shows he had interests in 17 properties, personally or as part of a trust, as of February this year.

When asked about his lived experience of dealing with cost of living pressures, Mr Southwick said he was focused on people who worked hard.

“I don’t turn away from the fact that, you know, I had a life before politics,” Mr Southwick told reporters at parliament.

“My focus is ensuring that every single Victorian is represented and I will fight for every single Victorian like I always have.”

He said he intended to address energy costs, property taxes and government debt.

Mr Southwick’s primary and secondary residences are listed as Caulfield North and Kallista in the Yarra Ranges, while he also has land in St Kilda East.

He also has an interest in 14 other properties held as as part of trusts located in Altona Meadows, Seabrook, Elwood, St Kilda, Sunbury and the Melbourne CBD as well as three in Werribee and three in Laverton.

His interstate interests are in Mulwala in NSW and Surfers Paradise in Queensland.

Mr Southwick gained the cost of living portfolio in addition to other responsibilities, including major projects and transport infrastructure.

Former opposition leader Matthew Guy is back on the opposition front bench, taking the public transport portfolio from Richard Riordan.

Mr Guy said he would stay on as a member for Bulleen until at least the next election in 2026 and ruled out challenging John Pesutto for the leadership after already losing two elections.

Ann-Marie Hermans lost the emergency services, WorkCover and Transport Accident Commission portfolios as part of the reshuffle while David Hodgett lost planning, energy and resources.

Mr Pesutto said his new team offered a fresh vision for the state.

“I’ve always believed that it’s important to have a blend of new talent with experience and wisdom tha t comes with it,” he said.

AAP report by Rachael Ward in Melbourne

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