Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey has been preselected unopposed to recontest the seat of Oxley at the 2019 State Election.
Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey has been preselected unopposed to recontest the seat of Oxley at the 2019 State Election.

Pavey stays in Oxley as preselection looms in Coffs Harbour

ROADS, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey has been preselected unopposed as the Nationals candidate for the state seat of Oxley ahead of the 2019 State Election.

The endorsement has been approved at a Nationals Oxley Electorate Council meeting in Macksville with 'grassroots support from members across the region.'  

Mrs Pavey, a member of Premier Gladys Berejiklian's Cabinet, said her preselection in Oxley ended local speculation she may stand for party preselection for the seat of Coffs Harbour, which is set to be vacated by long-serving parliamentarian Andrew Fraser at next year's election.

Since Mr Fraser's announcement, a fortnight ago, that he would retire after 28-years in State Parliament, questions have been asked of Mrs Pavey whether she would seek party preselection in Coffs Harbour to ensure the Nationals retain the local seat.

"My phone has been ringing constantly, with people asking me if I could stand in Coffs Harbour," Mrs Pavey said.

"I'm happy to say I've been preselected again as the Nationals candidate for Oxley and I'm looking forward to continuing to work for my electorate."

Mrs Pavey entered politics as an MLC in 2002 having previously worked as a media officer for former State members Matt Singleton, Wal Murray, Wendy Machin and Ian Armstrong.

Mrs Pavey became the Member for Oxley in 2015 and was appointed as a State Minister in January, 2017.

The Treetops Adventure Park at Coffs Harbour has been officially opened at Sealy Lookout in the Orara East State Forest.
Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser attends the opening of the TreeTops Adventure Park on Sunday before flying out for France. Matt Deans

The Coffs Harbour branch of The Nationals, meanwhile, is yet to set a date for preselection with the electorate council planning a meeting ahead of a call for nominations.

Sources within the party say at least three party members have to date indicated their intention to stand for preselection, while the party's head office is said to be canvassing for suitable candidates to ensure the party retains the seat.

At this stage, Labor has endorsed Woolgoolga's Tony Judge to stand in the seat of Coffs Harbour next March.

Mr Fraser, is currently overseas in France attending his daughter's wedding, but prior to the State Budget being handed down indicated he was yet to publicly endorse a successor and would cast his single party vote in the ballot.

Mr Fraser is set to return to Australia in late July.

When he first stood for preselection following the resignation of sitting member Matt Singleton in 1990 he was one of six party members to throw his hat into the ring.