Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce. Alistair Brightman

Nationals coming to town for state conference

NATIONAL Party members from across NSW will descend on Tweed Heads this week as part of the organisation’s state conference.

NSW State Director Nathan Quigley said more than 350 delegates were expected to attend the conference, to be held at Twin Towns on Friday and Saturday, with a welcoming dinner at Casuarina on Thursday night.

Political heavyweights, including Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant will be key guest speakers at the event.

Mr Quigley said the conference, which had been organised prior to the election being called, would fit in well with the federal campaign.

“This is going to be one of the major launch points for the Nationals’ campaign across the country,” Mr Quigley said.

“Barnaby Joyce will be giving the headland speech at conference on the first day, setting the agenda for across the country and for the Far North Coast particularly as well.”

Mr Quigley said the Northern Rivers, including the seat of Richmond in which Tweed falls, was crucial to the party.

“We take the Northern Rivers very seriously,” he said.

“We have a long track record of representing the area at both state and federal levels and the issues there are very dear to our hearts.

“The hip-pocket things with local families in the Tweed to the environmental issues going on in the area, are almost a microcosm for the rest of the country.

“To represent regional Australia as a whole well, we need to be doing a good job of representing issues up there.”

He said it would be “a big call” for Nationals candidate Matthew Fraser to unseat sitting MP Justine Elliot, particularly with the region’s strong Greens support.

“It is always going to be a tough area for the Nationals to win, but I think with Matthew Fraser there we have a very good chance,” he said.

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