Member of the NSW Legislative Council
Rick Colless has been a key part of the NSW Nationals Parliamentary Team since entering the Legislative Council. He has served in a number of roles during this time, and has recently transitioned from Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources and Regional Planning to Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources and Western NSW.
In the lead up to the 2007 State Election Rick served as Duty MLC for the Murray-Darling Electorate and was part of the team which saw John Williams capture the seat from the Labor incumbent – the first time The Nationals had ever held a state seat containing Broken Hill. Over the next term of Parliament Rick served as Duty MLC for the Bathurst Electorate, helping candidate Paul Toole to a record breaking 36.73 per cent swing to wrest control of the seat from Labor – possibly the largest swing in Australian electoral history.
Prior to entering Parliament, Rick Colless studied at Hawkesbury Agricultural College (now University of Western Sydney) where he majored in soil and water engineering, soil science and agronomy.
He then went on to enjoy a 26-year career as a soil conservationist for the former Soil Conservation Service, working extensively throughout NSW on a range of innovative programs, including conservation farming, dry land salinity management and vegetation, pasture and grazing management, in addition to the structural soil conservation works programs for which the New South Wales Soil Conservation Service won worldwide acclaim.
He resigned from the Department in 1996 and worked as a private agricultural consultant specialising in soil science and agronomy with clients across all of NSW and many in South Australia.
Rick has continued this keen interest in agricultural affairs through his current work in Parliament and prides himself in continuing The Nationals’ legacy of looking out for the interests of those on the land.
Having also served on Inverell Shire Council for thirteen years from 1991 to 2004 (including a term as Mayor), Rick has a great deal of experience in fighting for a fair go for country residents, work which he is proud to continue in government.
Rick has also held roles in Parliament as Deputy Government Whip in the Legislative Council and Chair of the Standing Committee into State Development.