NSW Nationals chairman Bede Burke was returned as chairman for a final year at Central Council, with both State and Federal Governments seeking re-election next year.

The vote, which came ahead of the Annual General Conference at Cowra, helped cement the party’s leadership going into those contests.

Its an honour, it’s almost surreal … when I was first elected I never thought I was even capable of doing it for one year let alone reaching the constitutional endpoint,” Mr Burke said. “It’s humbling and my thanks go out to the Central Council and the members in general who supported me.”

Long-time colleague and friend Grant McMillan, who is also the Party’s Senior Vice Chairman, said his mate Bede was the right bloke for the position.

“He’s a terrific bloke, it’s a pleasure to work with him and from my point of view, I couldn’t get a better person to work with,” he said. “He has the NSW National Party at heart, believes in it and strives for the Party to get the best outcomes.”

Anabel Williams from the Wagga Wagga SEC said Mr Burke was a personally inspiring leader and she couldn’t think of anyone better to lead the Party into the next year.

“Bede Burke is a man with a lot of integrity, he’s very passionate about the party,” Mrs Williams said. “He’s approachable, but also a straight shooter and he will only strengthen our position in the lead-up to the election.”

With the State Election less than a year away, Mr Burke said it was time for every member to “grab onto the bar and start lifting”.

“Ïf we thought the last year was hectic this one will be even more of a challenge, trying to retain a third term of Government at both a State and Federal level won’t happen without a lot of hard work, unity and really strong discipline – that’s how we act as Nationals,” he said. “Strong unity allows us to be as successful as we have been for the past two elections, but we should never take that for granted because opposition will come our way if we’re off our guard.”

There were also some changes with the Central Executive, with Vice Chairman Dominic Hopkinson stepping down and Jocellin Jansson taking the role. We also thank outgoing Executive members Wes Fang, Christine Ferguson and Claire Taylor for their service, and welcome Scott Barrett, Perin Davey and former Senator Fiona Nash to the team.