Australia

Liberals concede defeat in bitterly-fought Eden-Monaro by-election

Kirsty McBain has been elected to represent the people of Eden-Monaro. Source: AAP

Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs has conceded defeat to Labor in the Eden-Monaro by-election, with former Bega mayor Kristy McBain set to be the new member.

Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs says it's time for her to do some fencing after conceding defeat to Labor's Kristy McBain in the Eden-Monaro by-election.

Ms McBain led Ms Kotvojs by 730 votes at 6pm on Thursday, but the Liberals believed the result was clear enough to concede with between 1,000 and 2,000 votes left to count.

"This community shaped who I am and I will always fight for it, but right now I have some fencing to do," the southern NSW truffle farmer said in a Facebook post.

Ms McBain, who will replace retired Labor MP Mike Kelly, wrote on Twitter her opponent had run a "hard-fought campaign".

"It's an honour and a privilege to be elected to represent the people of Eden-Monaro," she said.

"No region has been harder hit from drought, bushfires and COVID-19 than Eden-Monaro. For our border communities, the new travel restrictions means we face even further challenges.

"I'll work with all levels of government to get he best outcomes for our communities."

Ms Kotvojs described the opportunity to run for the seat as a "gift".

The New South Wales seat was held by Labor's Mike Kelly before his retirement due to health reasons.

The by-election was seen as the first real test of Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s leadership since he took over following the party’s bruising shock election loss last year.

The seat takes in wealthier areas surrounding Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory as well as poorer farming communities hit hard by the summer’s bushfires.

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