Rick Colless celebrates 16 years in Parliament
Rick Colless is renowned for his hard work and dedication to his parliamentary duties, and his commitment to The Nationals. So on Friday night Central Council delegates, MPs, members and other dignitaries gathered in NSW Parliament's impressive Jubilee Room to commemorate Rick's 16 wonderful years of service.
Rick’s story began, like so many, on the farm. Coming from an extensive line of family farmers, Rick has a deep love and is a fierce advocate for the environment, agriculture and the people involved within the industry. Before entering Parliament he worked for many years in communities across New South Wales for the Soil Conservation Service – in Henty, Cowra, Goulburn, Gunnedah and Inverell – before progressing to work as an agricultural and environmental consultant.
His first foray into politics was in Local Government where Rick spent 13 years on the Inverell Shire Council (1991 to 2004) and during his term as Mayor, he worked tirelessly to improve the local environment and ensure its country residents got a fair go. It was this dedication to the communities of regional NSW which inspired Rick to join The Nationals and serve as Chairman of the Northern Tablelands SEC.
Following the retirement of Richard Bull, Rick joined our State Parliamentary team as a Member of Legislative Council in September 2000 and ever since Rick has been a key influence in parliament and within the Party.
During his 16 years of service, Rick has taken on multiple positions of responsibility, sitting on a wide variety of councils form State Development and Recreational Fishing to Law and Justice and Social, Public and Affordable Housing. He currently serves as the Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources and Regional Planning. He held the position of Deputy Opposition and Government Whip in the Legislative Council from 2007 – 2015 and has been the Chair of the Standing Committee on State Development and Deputy Chair of Staysafe.
In the lead up to the 2007 State Election Rick served as the Duty MLC for the Murray-Darling electorate and was part of the team which helped John Williams capture the seat from the Labor incumbent. Over the 2007 – 2011 term, Rick took on the role as Duty MLC for Bathurst helping candidate Paul Toole to a record-breaking victory – winning the seat back from Labor with a 36.73 per cent swing!
Outside of State Parliament, Rick continues to represent primary producers and sustainable productivity in his role as Chairman of the NSW Forest Industry. Over the past 16 years, the people and communities of NSW have been extremely fortunate to have Rick in State Parliament as under his leadership, our future has never looked so bright.