Curtin drawn out as new Nationals Party candidate
A GRASSROOTS Nationals Party member with no political experience has been unveiled as the party's candidate for the seat of Lismore ahead of the 2019 state election.
Tregeagle macadamia farmer Austin Curtin out-polled Tenterfield Mayor Peter Petty and real estate agent Andrew Gordon in the pre-selection process on Saturday.
Vote-counting went late into the night with 3657 primaries received from six booths across the electorate in the Nationals' second community pre-selections after an open poll in Tamworth in 2010.
Mr Curtin grew up in Lismore and is the son of a local trauma surgeon of the same name.
The father-of-two has degrees in economics and communications and has worked in agriculture, education and human resources sectors.
Mr Curtin re-trained as a carpenter while living in Perth but, after meeting his wife, a journalist, returned to the family farm which has been in operation since 1989.
The 38-year-old has been a member of the Nationals Party since 2014 and is on the Tregeagle Hall organising committee.
"I believe the Nationals are the best party to represent rural and regional people in Australia because they understand country people and how to help rural towns thrive," Mr Curtin said.
"Through this process I've listened to people's concerns about unemployment, lack of business promotion and the need for safer roads, safer bridges and safer communities."
Mr Curtin said he was driven by a desire to give back to the community.
"We are a family that helps people and we are compassionate and that is the fundamental thing that we need to take into politics," he said.
"I care for people, I am genuinely interested in people, and everything I have done is about connecting with people.
"There is so much to be gained by giving to your community, rather than asking what the community can do for you."
NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro said Mr Curtin was an exceptional candidate.
"Austin has proved himself to the communities of the Lismore electorate," he said.