The NSW Nationals is getting ready to celebrate 100 years as Regional NSW’s oldest champion.
The NSW Nationals’ centenary marks 100 years of representing the interests of rural and regional communities, and branches across the state will celebrate this milestone across the coming year.
Party Chairman and retired Nationals MP Andrew Fraser said he was proud to lead the organisation into its second century, but warned there were still challenges ahead.
“We’ve got a great track record of standing up for the people outside of the big cities, from fighting hard to maintain and increase regional medical services to establishing Southern Cross University and the University of New England, and pushing to move government jobs out of the city and into the regions,” Mr Fraser said.
“However, the drought is never far from our minds and we still have a long way to go in building dams and making sure our communities get their fair share.
“Thankfully, we’ve got not only the money but also the time to do those things now, the opportunity is now. I’ll be working closely with our parliamentary party to get what we need.”
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said he could not be more proud to be leading the Party during its Centenary year.
“We are currently facing one of the worst droughts on record and no one feels that harder than those people living in Regional NSW,” Mr Barilaro said.
“A strong Regional NSW is the backbone of a strong NSW and although times are tough now, when it does rain we will be ready to go with a strong economy.
“Now more than ever we know the importance of water security infrastructure and I am proud to be working hand-in-hand with my Nationals colleagues at both a state and federal level to ensure we drought-proof NSW for the future.”
The NSW Nationals trace its origins to the formation of the Progressive Party of NSW on October 13, 1919, later renamed The Country Party in 1925. In 1977 the party changed its name again to the National Country Party, before settling on The Nationals in 1982.
The NSW Nationals have produced nine Federal Leaders and five Federal Presidents, and have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with communities through fire, flood and drought.
Former NSW Nationals Chairman and Federal President Christine Ferguson said without an independent National Party, state and federal policy development would be dominated by city interests and city-based politicians.
“One of the things that has stood out over the past six months of centenary planning is just how far we’ve come and what we’ve achieved,” Ms Ferguson said.
“Time and again over the years we’ve been written off and declared dead, but country people don’t roll over that easily, and we’re still here holding Sydney to account.
“Our regions produce top-notch food, wine, fibre and minerals that not only feed our communities but keep Australia strong, and it’s important to have a party like ours there to speak up for them.”