NEWLY retained Throsby MP Stephen Jones has vowed to lobby for the Illawarra from his unfamiliar spot in opposition, believing there is no reason the Coalition can't honour his party's promises on infrastructure, health and education.
Celebrations in the Illawarra's Labor heartland were tempered by the party's national losses on the weekend.
However, Mr Jones easily retained his safe Labor seat despite big swings away from the party, with two-party preferred results giving him a margin of about 10 per cent.
In Throsby, there was a first-preference swing of about five per cent against Mr Jones, who won his seat outright in 2010 but received only 45.5 per cent of the vote last Saturday.
Liberal Larissa Mallinson lost nearly three per cent of the vote her party received at the last election to secure 27 per cent of first preferences.
Mr Jones now faces his first term in opposition after three years as a vocal backbencher in the Gillard and Rudd governments.
As a cheer went up around Oak Flats Bowling Club when ABC TV called Throsby in his favour on Saturday night, Mr Jones said it was a "fabulous honour" to be returned.
However, he acknowledged there would be many challenges under a Coalition government.
"I will do it with as much energy and vigour as I have for the last three years and my message to Tony Abbott is, firstly, congratulations, but then to keep the National Broadband Network through the [region]," he said.
Mr Jones also maintained that he would continue to support manufacturing within the region.
"Your number one job is to represent the local area, and that's what I'll be doing," he said.
"[Being in opposition] makes it a little bit harder, but not impossible.
"There were times during the last parliament where I stood for issues that weren't supported by members of my own party... There's still the responsibility there to try and change some minds."
Mr Jones also didn't rule out a future role as a shadow minister, but said he wanted to contribute "in a big way" to rebuilding Labor's stocks.
Mr Jones weighed in on who should assume the Labor leadership, saying he would support Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
"He has been a strong Deputy Prime Minister and he understands the needs of this region," Mr Jones said. "If he wanted the position, he would have my full support.
"Whoever we choose, it is most important that we lock in behind them for three years."
Celebrity candidate Gary "Angry" Anderson almost doubled the National Party vote in Throsby, taking it from 5.3 per cent to 10.4 per cent.
Shellharbour councillor and Greens candidate Peter Moran received 6.6 per cent fewer votes than in 2010.
Palmer United Party candidate May King earned 4.6 per cent of the vote in the electorate.
Independent Paul Matters received 2.27 per cent.
Candidates from the Democratic Labour Party, Katter's Australian Party and the Non-Custodial Parents Party received less than 400 votes each.
The Bullet Train for Australia candidate got less than one per cent of first preference votes, while the Christian Democratic Party candidate less than three per cent.
There were nearly 7000 informal votes in Throsby, a total of 8.6 per cent and a 1.7 per cent swing.