25 Jul The Nationals make Kempsey stop-off on bus tour
By Thom Klein – The Macleay Argus.
ANDREW Stoner brought key figures from The NSW Nationals parliamentary team by bus to home territory on Wednesday. The Deputy Premier – who is also party leader – was in fine form at the Slim Dusty Centre, where he and a large entourage received a warm welcome.
An invited audience of Nationals Oxley branch members and community representatives gathered at the venue for an informal – and often lighthearted – function with a serious purpose.
The Kempsey visit is part of a week-long 900km tour of the Far and Mid-North coasts and Northern Inland.
Those accompanying Mr Stoner include Minister for Roads and Freight, and Leader of Government in the Upper House, Duncan Gay MLC; and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health, Melinda Pavey MLC; as well as North Coast members, including Leslie Williams (Port Macquarie), Andrew Fraser (Coffs Harbour) and Stephen Bromhead (Myall Lakes).Guests included Mid North Coast Local Area Commander Superintendent Paul Fehon; Kempsey Shire Council mayor Cr Liz Campbell, general manager David Rawlings, Cr Anna Shields and Sue McGinn; Gary Scott and Tania Powick from Kempsey and District Chamber of Commerce; Uncle Harold ‘Blu’ Smith; and representatives of the North Coast Area Health Service.
Mr Stoner told The Argus the tour was an important opportunity for The Nationals to engage with communities across the region.
The party conducts such tours regularly to regions across the State.The rationale behind the tours was two-fold, Mr Stoner said.
Firstly, they allowed party members to focus on policy and they promoted a shared understanding among party members.
Secondly, they were an opportunity to engage with communities in a relaxed manner to garner feedback on Nationals policies and to listen to issues of concern.
“I believe we have a good set of policies,” Mr Stoner said.
“The purpose is to keep our focus on achieving for people in regional and rural NSW.”
The member for Oxley acknowledged while the tour was not a Nationals election pitch, the party had one eye on March 2015 and said the visits would play a role in policy development.
Community feedback: Andrew Stoner chats to Booroongen Djugun CEO Garry Morris at the Slim Dusty Centre. The Deputy Premier said it had been the first ‘en masse’ visit to Kempsey by key Nationals figures during his 11 years as party leader.
Destination Kempsey: Oxley member and The Nationals leader Andrew Stoner was keen to bring his parliamentary team to home turf.