It won’t come as a surprise to many, but Nationals Member for Lismore Thomas George has officially announced that he will be retiring from the NSW Parliament at the next state election in March 2019.
Mr George was first elected to Lismore in 1999, and has become a regular face in Tenterfield since the redrawing of electoral boundaries took the shire from the Northern Tablelands electorate to Lismore in the last state election.
During his time in the Parliament, Mr George has served as The Nationals’ Whip, on numerous committees and rose to the position of Deputy Speaker, which he currently holds.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the people of the Lismore Electorate since 1999,” Mr George said.
“Representing our communities in Sydney has been an enormous responsibility, and a role I have never taken lightly. It’s a difficult task, but one that I will be eternally grateful to locals for entrusting me with.
“I made it clear at the 2015 election that if elected, this term would be my last in the Parliament. Although I will be stepping down in March 2019, I will continue to work just as hard for locals as I have since 1999.”
Nationals’ State Director Nathan Quigley recognised Thomas’ history of delivery for the electorate.
“Thomas George has been a staunch and effective representative for the Lismore electorate. You just need only to look at the Lismore Base Hospital redevelopment to see the practical and positive impact his advocacy has delivered for the area,” Mr Quigley said.
“Thomas secured over $300 million to redevelop the hospital into what will be a world-class facility, with the services and infrastructure to deliver the healthcare the people of Lismore deserve. Without Thomas being a vocal proponent of the development inside The Nationals and Liberals government, it would never have got off the ground.”
Mr George said that while the hospital was one of the single biggest projects he’d been able to deliver for the people of Lismore, looking after smaller communities who are often unnoticed was just as important to him.
“The Multi-Purpose Health facility we funded in a small town like Bonalbo will make a real and material difference to the lives of locals and for me projects like that are just as important,” Mr George said.
In his recent roles as Deputy Speaker, Mr George has worked closely with most state parliamentarians, from both sides of the aisle.
“Over the course of his Parliamentary career, Thomas has earned respect across political divides and I know he will be sorely missed by all those who worked with him” Mr Quigley said.
The hunt will soon be on to groom a candidate to fill the big shoes left by the retirement, to allow sufficient time for the supposed-successor to become a familiar face to the electorate’s voters.