Welcome Steph and Austin
October 14th was a rare event in the history of the NSW Nationals: A double by-election.
After two strong campaigns, our candidates Steph Cooke from Young and Austin Evans from Coleambally fought off all other challengers to become the new Nationals Members for Cootamundra and Murray.
Under intense media scrutiny and in a tight time-frame, Steph and Austin fought off the competition to become our new Nationals MPs for Cootamundra and Murray after the retirements of two of our Party stalwarts – Katrina Hodgkinson and Adrian Piccoli.
The victory in Cootamundra came quickly, with Steph Cooke thanking her hometown supporters, her family and Nationals volunteers on Saturday night to a packed crowd at the Cootamundra Country Club, where she made her first announcement as Member for Cootamundra – a million dollar upgrade to the facility.
Although the result looked clear on the night, the Murray count took a little longer, with Austin confirming victory on the Monday.
Nationals Leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro welcomed Steph and Austin and acknowledged the gruelling campaign.
“This has been a hard-fought campaign and I’m delighted the NSW Nationals will retain both seats of Murray and Cootamundra,” he said.
“Steph Cooke and Austin Evans deserve this. They have worked extremely hard engaging with communities, listening to locals and dealing with the tough issues, and I know they will continue to do so.”
“I want people like Steph and Austin on my team. Local champions and tough fighters.”
Both Steph and Austin hit the ground running, with Steph heading to Cowra show on the Sunday and Austin commencing his electorate-wide tour, with both candidates making it clear that to them, being an MP means putting locals and local issues before anything else.