NSW Police Minister and former Deputy Premier Troy Grant has announced his retirement form politics after seven years in parliament.
The Dubbo MP and former policeman will not be contesting the state election in March next year, throwing open the race for his seat, which the Nationals hold by 20 per cent.
In a statement this morning Mr Grant said: “After careful consideration, I cannot commit to working in state politics until at least 2023 and will therefore not put my name forward.
“Running for Parliament in 2019 is not the right decision for my family or me.
“To serve your community as a regional local member you need to make enormous sacrifices and put your heart and soul into the role, and I can no longer give this role my all after the next election.”
After almost 30 years in combined public service as a NSW police officer and parliamentarian, I have made the decision not to contest the 2019 state election.— Troy Grant (@troygrant) July 12, 2018
After careful consideration, I cannot commit to working in state politics until at least 2023. 1/3
He is the seventh NSW Nationals MP elected in 2015 to stand down from state politics this term, after Lismore’s Thomas George, Barwon’s Kevin Humphries, Murray’s Adrian Piccoli, Cootamundra’s Katrina Hodgkinson, Orange’s Andrew Gee, and Andrew Fraser of Coffs Harbour.
Stalwart Upper House MP Duncan Gay also retired last year, meaning eight of the 24 Nats MPs in parliament at April 2015 will have moved on by the election.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Deputy Premier John Barilaro thanked Mr Grant for his service.
“Troy has made an outstanding contribution during his time in the Parliament, both as the Member for Dubbo and in the Cabinet,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I’m delighted Troy has agreed to continue to serve as Minister for Police and Minister for Emergency Services until the election.”
Mr Grant was first elected in Dubbo during the state Coalition’s return to power in 2011.
He has been Minister for a number of portfolios, including Hospitality, Gaming and Racing, the Arts, Tourism and Major Events, and Trade and Investment.
He rose quickly through the party ranks to succeed Andrew Stoner as Deputy Premier, a position he held from 2014 to 2016.
That byelection loss came off the back of a regionally unpopular Greyhound Racing ban, which Mr Grant was forced to defend as the then Racing Minister.
Mr Barilaro began his tenureship by declaring the Nationals had “stopped listening” to its constituents.
Mr Grant retained the Police portfolio despite losing the leadership.
There has been no word yet on who will run for the NSW Nationals in Dubbo in March next year.
In May, former Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson said he would stand as an independent candidate.
As an aside, Mr Grant’s decision to grow a beard earlier this year saw him bear a striking resemblance to Kenny actor Shane Jacobson.
To my mates flooding my inbox. Yes that’s me on the R on @FOXNRLLive watching my glorious @NRLKnights last night and No on the L on @TheTodayShow this morning! I hold you @AlexDruuuce@Thrusta1 responsible for @ShaneJacobson#doppelgänger phenomenon pic.twitter.com/Mt1ltQTON0— Troy Grant (@troygrant) March 9, 2018
Dubbo and Barown being vacated by sitting members also means that 241,651 square kilometers - pretty much North Western NSW - will have new representatives after March next year.
Austin Evans will have been in the chair for 18 months in Murray – a further 107,362 square kilometres – by the time the vote comes around.
More to come