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Paul Tonkin, Lawyer and health advocate

Posted on 18 June 2019
Paul Tonkin, Lawyer and health advocate

Paul Tonkin was admitted as a partner in the firm Tonkin Drysdale Partners (TDP) on the same day that his father Phil Tonkin, who opened the doors of TD Tonkin & Co on July 13, 1958, announced his retirement in 1992. He joined Darrell Pannowitz OAM, who is now Managing Partner, Jim Drysdale, who retired in 2002 and John Fitzpatrick, who retired in 2004. Paul Quinn was subsequently admitted as Partner in 2004 followed by Lee Pawlak, an Accredited Specialist in Family Law, in 2014.

In 2016, Paul's son, Dominic came on board as Associate Solicitor, continuing the Tonkin family legacy, and Solicitor, Nick Fagan joined the firm in 2018. This month, Sophie Newham joins the firm as a Senior Associate, expanding the legal team to seven.

They are capably supported by General Manager, Julie Downey and a team of seventeen, many of whom have been with the firm for more than ten years (some have accrued more than twenty-five years).

One of Phil Tonkin's greatest legacies is the philanthropic culture that has been synonymous with the Tonkin Drysdale name throughout the decades. "We take great pride in giving back to our community and always emphasise that our support is never a one-off. It's about taking a brave and conservative approach to ensure that what we do is sustainable and that we are creating good value for the community," said Paul.

As a personal advocate for the Central Coast community, Paul's contribution has been enormous. He was named Gosford Council's Citizen of the Year on Australia Day in 2015 for his dedicated and passionate advocacy to ensure the Central Coast community has the best possible public health services and for his personal time and support given to numerous other local initiatives and organisations. But it is arguably Paul's service to local health for which he is best known. As Chairman of the Board of Central Coast Local Health District since 2011 and a member of the Board since 1994, Paul has been instrumental in the achievement of many major milestones, most notably the $348 million redevelopment of Gosford Hospital and a $200 million commitment for the expansion of Wyong Hospital. He has also been there for the entire journey towards our current status as a health district in our own right, divorced from northern Sydney.The Tonkin family's connection to the health sector is strong. "My grandfather was a doctor, my mother was matron of a Sydney hospital and many of my relatives today are doctors," said Paul. He credits Jillian Skinner, the NSW Minister for Health during the Baird Government, for her hard work in advocating for the Central Coast. "I'll never forget Jillian coming up to me at a function a few months out from the 2015 election and saying, 'Paul, we did it!' It's been a great journey.

The Gosford Hospital redevelopment is on track for completion late this year. Paul also credits Emeritus Professor Maree Gleeson and Lucy Wicks for their advocacy work that led to funding from the Federal and State Governments as well as Newcastle University for the establishment of a medical school at Gosford. "The class of 2020 will be the first cohort to have an opportunity to study medicine on the Central Coast," said Paul. "At one point we wondered if Gosford would ever return to the heady days of the 70s and 80s when it was the hub of the Central Coast. This will all help to make it so again. Health is very big business for the Central Coast."

Read the full story in CCBR

Tags: Cover Story June 2019

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