Simon Kennedy | Liberal

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1. Tell us your name and political party

Hi everyone, my name is Simon Kennedy and I’m your Liberal candidate for Bennelong.


2. What is your connection to Bennelong and why are you running for the seat?

I grew up in this community, and I was raised with local values. I spent my career solving the toughest problems for communities around the world, and now I want to take these values and skills to get to work for Bennelong.

I was born in West Ryde and raised locally by a single mother. Early in life I was raised by my mum and my grandfather, Stewart, who served during World War II and was my main caregiver whilst my mum worked to support the family. My grandfather was a powerful influence on me, instilling a strong work ethic and an appreciation for Australia’s values and our hard-won freedoms.

I was school captain at Epping Boys High School and served on the Ryde City Youth Council. As School Captain, I organised community concerts for local aged care residents. After graduating from the University of New South Wales in Law and Commerce with distinction, I joined McKinsey & Company, where I advised governments and companies internationally.

My career took me around the world where I gained experienced working with governments on how to rebuild and strengthen the economy after the Global Financial Crisis. Whilst overseas, I continued to stay engaged locally, including with Epping Rotary, Ryde Salvation Army and Epping Boys High.

The desire to improve our community’s wellbeing is the core reason why I left the private sector to run as your local member in Federal Parliament.


3. Tell us a bit about yourself and what other “hats” you wear in your life. 

Firstly, when you’re bald you need a lot of hats! I have at least three.

My favourite hat is being a husband to my wife Nila and father to my two kids – Taj and Kaia who are six and four years of age respectively. My wife is an Infectious Diseases Doctor who worked on the COVID-19 response. The last two years have been an intense juggling act – balancing work and raising our young kids. This was an all-too-common experience for many families in Bennelong, who had to manage their professional lives and look after their kids who were at home learning online.

My second hat is community service. I have led pro-bono work for some of the most prominent charities, foundations, and sports organisations at home and abroad, including Banardos, the leading child protection charity in Australia. I also serve on the board of the Committee for Sydney which enhances the economic, social, cultural, and environmental conditions of our city.

My final hat is my work. My career has focused on working with governments to better serve their communities.  I am deeply motivated to improve communities – whether this is my work on the disaster recovery in Haiti, or with US state governments post-Global Financial Crisis.


4. What do you love most about the area and what is your favourite spot?

What I love most about our area is the people. Bennelong is the most successful multicultural community in the most successful multicultural nation in the world. The diversity of our electorate is our strength. We have a vibrant community that is cohesive, patriotic, and aspirational. Few other electorates in Australia have such vibrant Chinese, Korean, Indian, Armenian, Italian and other communities coexisting peacefully with each other.

My favourite spot is Lane Cove National Park in North Epping. At Epping Boys High School, we used to do cross country through there, and my family would go walking through the National Park on weekends.


5. What do you believe are the 3 main issues affecting the seat of Bennelong and why? If elected how would you address each of those issues? 

In my interactions with locals, three main issues stand out:

  1. Cost of living:

I understand that some families in Bennelong are doing it tough with cost of living pressures. The Liberal Government is delivering by providing relief right now.

We have cut fuel prices by 22 cents per litre by halving the fuel excise tax. For an average family, this will save $30 a week and $700 over six months.

We have increased tax relief, enabling 76,000 taxpayers in Bennelong to receive a cost of living bonus of up to $1500 in this year’s tax return. We are also helping the most vulnerable in our community, already giving a one-off cash boost of $250 to pensioners and funding more life-saving medicine through the pharmaceutical benefits scheme. In the past year, the Liberal Government has funded 1,720,474 free or subsidised medicines in Bennelong through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

  1. Overdevelopment:

Overdevelopment has been rampant in our area. Ryde Council had a development target of 7,600 dwellings between 2016 – 2021, which they exceed by a whopping 30%, completing 9,800 dwellings in that timeframe. I am strongly against inappropriate development. I’m tired of seeing local, state and federal governments pointing the finger at one another – it’s time for a constructive response. I want sensible, smart and efficient decision-making when it comes to local planning, and to ensure that developers contribute their fair share to the community, in better local infrastructure and amenities.

  1. Housing affordability:

I understand that young families are finding it difficult to enter the housing market. I want to support families to achieve the Australian dream – owning their own home. The Liberal Government has expanded the first-home guarantee scheme enabling hard-working residents to buy their first house without waiting years to accrue a deposit.


6. What other key objectives do you have planned for the area? Please provide short-term (under 12 months) and long-term (up to 3/4 years). Please keep to a max of 4. 

Short term:

  1. Building the infrastructure our community needs

Our Government has secured $80 million to complete the Macquarie University Station Bus Interchange and $7M to complete the intersection of Blaxland and Balaclava Roads, Eastwood. In addition, I want Meadowbank and West Ryde to be better connected by constructing new pedestrian and bike paths.

  1. Protecting our green space

I will fight to save TG Milner from overdevelopment and preserve North Ryde Common, as well as unlocking new green space across Bennelong. I’m also a passionate supporter of Ryde Council’s 1,300 new street tree initiative and will fight to secure federal funding to expand additional tree plantings in Bennelong and restore our diminished tree canopy.

Long term:

  1. Making Bennelong the Silicon Valley of Australia

Bennelong is the #1 electorate in Australia for technology jobs, with 18,000 people employed in the sector, centring around Macquarie Park. As a tech-investor, I know how to help the businesses of Bennelong grow to create more local jobs. We have an amazing opportunity to help Macquarie University tap into the Government’s $2.2 billion University Research Commercialisation Action Plan to create world-leading businesses.

7. What is your party leader’s biggest strength and biggest weakness?


The Prime Minister is a proven economic manager. We have experienced the fastest economic recovery from the pandemic out of all advanced economies. Our economy is 3.4% bigger than it was pre-COVID. By comparison, the U.S economy is only 3.2% bigger whereas Germany is still -1.1% smaller than was it was before COVID. The unemployment rate is about to go below 4% for the first time in over 50 years.

The Liberal Government’s JobKeeper payment supported 7,900 businesses and 29,600 employees in Bennelong through the pandemic, to help keep them connected to their place of work, setting the groundwork for the recovery. The Government also supported businesses in Bennelong through the pandemic with the tax-free cash flow boost, which helped around 6,300 small and medium businesses providing $253 million in payments.


The PM is a big supporter of the Cronulla Sharks which is not my Rugby League team. Go Bulldogs!.