A fresh face for the Nationals in the Lismore electorate
A YOUNG macadamia farmer is the new face of the NSW Nationals for the state seat of Lismore after winning the party's pre-selection contest last weekend.
Austin Curtin, a farmer from Tregeagle, south of Lismore, is set to replace retiring MP Thomas George at the 2019 state election.
The father of two, with a third child on the way, said he was humbled to be selected by voters in a new process, which saw 3657 of those enrolled in the electorate vote to pre-select the Nationals candidate.
"I felt really encouraged, certainly on the front-line, that I was getting a lot of support from voters who were keen to see someone young and new throwing their hat in the ring,” Mr Curtin said.
"I think they felt that was needed in the region.”
As he continues to work on his farm, Mr Curtin said he was looking forward to getting to know the entire electorate better, from Tenterfield to Mur'bah.
"It's really about listening from here,” he said.
"It's going to be a busy period. I'm still farming, I've got to get a crop off, and there's plenty to do with the family, but I'm going to take every opportunity that I can get to see as many people and places as I can.”
Mr Curtin said he was already meeting with community groups in Murwillumbah and across the region to discuss ways he could help, regardless of whether the issue aligned with Nationals values or not.
"I'm not there to just be a representative of the party,” he said.
"There are groups that reach beyond the National Party. I want to represent everyone, so you've got to go connect with those groups that might be against where the Coalition is at.
"We're very different to the rest of the state.”
Mr Curtin is keen to hear from people on the proposed rail trail, energy policies, social housing, health and creating safer communities.