Sydney can’t tell us: member

SYDNEY EXPERIENCE: Nationals preselection candidate for the seat of Orange Scott Barrett. Photo: SUPPLIEDONE of Orange’s long-time Nationals members has voiced concerns about a state preselection candidate, saying she does not wantto see too much influence coming from Sydney.
Nanjing Night Net

Scott Barrett will stand for preselection for the state seat of Orange on Sunday against Orange councillor Scott Munro, Cabonne councillor Janelle Culverson and barrister Duncan Brakellafter spending the past twoyears working for Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water Niall Blair.

The winner will stand in the byelection, at a date to be announced, to replace former member Andrew Gee after his move into federal politics.

Although Mr Barrett was born and raised in Orange and returned to live near Borenore recently, branch member of more than 60 years Leah Trudgett said she was worried Mr Barrett’s recent work in Sydneyhad separated him too much from the bush.

“If he gets in, he’s going to let them tell us what to do,” she said.

Mrs Trudgett credited The Nationals for providing a bus service between Euchareena and Orange, but for her grandchildren raising families of their own, accessing childcare was their main challenge.

“I worry not so much for me, but for my grandchildren,” she said.

She conceded MrGee, who became the MP after moving to Orange from Sydney, had performed well because he was accessible when she wanted to speak to him.

“The person has to be in Sydney some of the time but they have to spend a certain amount of timein their district,”she said.

Mr Barrett said the point of The Nationals was to represent regional areas’ interests.

“If Iget through, who will have put me there? The members of the party, and if I’m lucky enough at the byelection, the members of the electorate and that’s where my loyalties will be,” he said.

“A big part of being the local member is being available and approachable and turning up to every opening you possibly can.”

He said his experience in seasonal work throughfruit pickingand shearing ledto the Sydney offer, which he at firstturned down.

“They wanted someone with dirt under their fingernails,” he said.

“Iworked on the bat nets program to protect the orchards out here –initially that program was for the Sydney basin but we got it opened up to regional areas.”

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