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Delegates, energetic supporters, keynote speakers and members of our State and Federal Parliamentary teams gathered in Lismore over the weekend for the North Coast Conference, excited to re-establish this great tradition, and eager to debate local issues and discuss the region’s future.

The agenda was packed with a diverse range of motions, fascinating guest speakers and, in a first for a NSW Nationals conference, interactive and enlightening breakout sessions.

North Coast Nationals MLC Ben Franklin opened the conference before motions hit the floor and were hotly debated by delegates.

Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro captured the room’s attention during his morning address by tackling head on the Orange by-election result, the rebuilding of the Greyhound industry and the challenge before the Party over the next two years. John then joined the rest of his North Coast colleagues to face the audience for State Parliament question time.

Breakout sessions throughout the day included an analysis of the US election, campaign management and voter engagement,  policy spotlight on social housing and domestic violence run by champions in their respective fields as well as a session dedicated to primary industries and land use conducted by our very own Rick Colless MLC.

Delegates were lucky enough to have New Zealand National Party MP Scott Simpson, Chair of Local Government and Environment Select Committees address the congress in the afternoon to talk about the success of the NZ Nationals in winning the environmental debate. He talked about the successful creation of the BlueGreens within their Party, which meant that the electorate could have confidence that consideration for the environment was a core part of NZ National thinking.

To conclude the day’s formalities the Federal Leadership team took over with Leader Barnaby Joyce delivering a speech on the hard work put in by The Nationals on the North Coast, and Deputy Fiona Nash delivered the Federal Parliamentary Report. North Coast Nationals Luke Hartsuyker MP, David Gillespie MP and Kevin Hogan MP were all also on hand for region specific questions during federal question time. 

But when all is said and done, no Nationals conference can wrap up without the big finale. This time, it was dinner and drinks at Lismore’s LaVida Bar which saw over 110 grassroots members, supporters, members of Parliament and special guests come together to celebrate an industrious and enjoyable day.

For those who missed out on attending our inaugural regional conference on the state’s North Coast, don’t be disappointed. Due to its success we’ve already locked in the date for our next regional conference, this time for Southern NSW in Griffith on March 18.

You can see pictures from the conference as well as Leader John Barilaro’s address on our Facebook page here.

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