While COVID-19 has completely changed the world and monopolised the attention of governments across Australia, Kristy McBain says the issue that is most on the minds of voters in Eden-Monaro is bushfire recovery and how help is getting to those who need it.
Even those in towns that were unaffected by the fires that terrorised communities across Australia over the summer, recovery for the region is the issue that is on their minds.
Many of the towns that are now synonymous with the fires are in Eden-Monaro. Places like Cobargo and Batlow, where streets were flattened. Ms McBain rose to prominence then as the Bega mayor leading a community in a terrible time.
Now as the Labor candidate, Ms McBain says bushfire recovery needs an overhaul, to both become streamlined, but also more localised.
"We can't have people who are significantly traumatised, trying to rebuild their lives or manage their farms spending hours on telephone lines trying to access assistance," she said.
"There has to be a system where this recovery project is streamlined and a lot more case managers are put in place to go and speak to the several agencies and get the assistance for these people who are on most occasions having to tell their story multiple times sometimes to the same agencies to get some help."
The Eden-Monaro byelection is set down for July 4, following the retirement of Labor member Mike Kelly. The ultra marginal seat is being contested by Ms McBain for Labor, as well as Fiona Kotvojs for the Liberal party, with the Nationals and a string of minor parties also running.
McBain is also advocating for creative ways to support places in the electorate that have suffered from drought, followed by bushfires and then COVID-19.
"There has to be targetted ways to deal with those regional areas that have suffered and whether that's through infrastructure, that will allow economies to grow, whether it's additional money being made available to local business or whether it's trying to incentivise people to travel to those regional areas," she told The Canberra Times.
"One of the suggestions I had as mayor following on from the bushfires was around tax-deductible holidays to those bushfire-impacted regions."Kristy McBain
"One of the suggestions I had as mayor following on from the bushfires was around tax-deductible holidays to those bushfire-impacted regions to try and get people to travel to them.
"We have to think outside the box at the moment."
Along with recovery, Ms McBain is calling for more services for the regions, increased infrastructure investment and incentives for more people to move to the regions.
Labor has promised funding for Dunns Creek Road outside Googong, as well as funding for the Barton Highway duplication, part of which will start this year with federal and state funding.
Like many, Ms McBain moved away from her childhood home on the South Coast to study in Canberra, before eventually returning to Tura Beach. She says "dozens" of her friends from high school would love to move back, and the prevalence of working from home during COVID-19 shows it can be possible for people to live regionally and work for major employers based in the bigger cities.
"But with that needs to come some investment from the government, high speed internet getting rid of mobile black spots, that is going to be key in growing regional economies."
Ms McBain has stepped down as mayor to run in the federal campaign, something that would have seemed unthinkable when during the bushfires she shied away from the "politician" label, and her long period of lapsed membership of the Labor party.
"I guess I didn't see myself as a politician because I was part of a community, I wasn't there to play games, I was there to get some action done," she said.
"One of the reasons I decided to take this opportunity to run in the byelection is because I want to see politics done differently. You know people in my community, people right across Eden-Monaro, the regional communities the state are literally sick of the politics we see."