MAYOR Adam Marshall is standing down from the Gunnedah council and moving to Armidale to attend university – but political analysts see it as the first step in what could be a renewed Nationals tilt at the state seat of Northern Tablelands.
Cr Marshall confirmed he’d decided not to contest the September local government poll, breaking the news that he plans to pursue university studies at UNE instead.
Asked if the move was a precursor to contesting a Nationals preselection for Northern Tablelands at the next state election if sitting MP Richard Torbay wins National Party pre-selection for a federal tilt, he was more circumspect.
Mr Marshall said he wasn’t in the game of making decisions based on what may or may not happen.
“In politics you never know what might happen,” he said.
“So you can’t base your decisions on what you will do based on what may or may not happen to or for someone else.”
But he did admit his political aspirations were evident.
“You don’t become a mayor like I did and a member of all of the committees I have been on, if you don’t have political interests,” he said.
The decision brings to a close a nine-year local government career and the 27-year-old says the decision hasn’t been made lightly.
“It has been without doubt one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make but it’s one, now that I’ve made it, I’m quite comfortable with,” he said.
“Put simply, it’s time for new challenges.
“When I became mayor it was always my intention not to stay forever, believing that local government is best served by those prepared to get in, give it everything they have and then pass the baton on to fresh hands.”
Mr Marshall said studying had always been a goal.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that despite absolutely loving this community and my role as mayor, I cannot put off this move any longer,” he said.
“The idea of standing again and, if re-elected, leaving part-way through the next term, was not appealing and completely contrary to what many of you have observed as my ‘boots ‘n’ all’ approach.”
It had been an honour and privilege to serve the people of Gunnedah.
“Particularly in the last four years leading our wonderful shire and council,” Cr Marshall said.
“Together we have seen many changes, faced numerous challenges and helped our community grow and develop into one of the most progressive, vibrant and beautiful communities in regional NSW.
“We are now the second-fastest growing centre in the New England North West and with a growing employment base, thriving primary industries and training opportunities and bourgeoning resources sector, the future for Gunnedah shire is extremely bright.”
The retiring mayor said he hoped his decision would encourage people to step forward as candidates in the
“It is at this stage of our development and place in time that we need strong, decisive, community-minded citizens to step forward and lead - and I’m sure that will occur,” he said.