Curtin raised on Nats' 2019 Lismore election bid
A GRASSROOTS Nationals Party member with no political experience has been declared as party's candidate for the 2019 state elections in the seat of Lismore.
Tregeagle macadamia farmer Austin Curtin out-polled Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty and real estate agent Andrew Gordon at pre-selections on Saturday.
Vote counting went late into the night, with 3,657 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 Lismore trauma surgeon by 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 - an ABC journalist - returned to the family farm, in operation since 1989.
The 38-year-old has been a member of the National party since 2014, and is on the Tregeagle Hall 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 help people and we are compassionate and that is the fundamental thing that we need to take into politics to help our community," 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 Austin was "an exceptional candidate with a strong history of living in, and serving the communities of Lismore and Tregeagle".
"Austin has proved himself to the communities of the Lismore electorate," Mr Barilaro said.
"The turnout was nothing short of incredible, with 3657 votes cast across the day, which shows just how keen the community was to participate in the democratic process and have their say."