PERHAPS taking advice from American author Horace Greeley - or the Village People – the NSW Nationals have gone west.
Reconnecting with the bush and appealing rural voters is, on reflection, a more likely reason for the party to take its annual state conference to Broken Hill for the first time since 2001.
And it doesn’t get much more rural 1300 kilometres from Macquarie Street.
More than 300 grassroots Nationals members are in the Silver City this weekend to touch base with party leaders and MPs, see the sights, and vote on what the party should adopt as policy.
The conference will be the last hurrah for veteran Nat MLC Duncan Gay, who announced his retirement on Thursday, while Premier Gladys Berejiklian is set to be the first state Liberal leader in more than two decades to address the conference.
The Land will be running a live blog here and bringing you updates on all the juicy stuff over the weekend.
In an interview with our senior journalist John Ellicott this week, Deputy Premier John Barilaro spoke of the party’s intent to better its listening skills and regain trust in the bush, indicating the bruises of the Orange by-election disaster are still tender.
Mr Barilaro also promised a state budget that would ‘turbocharge’ regional centres.
In other conference news, a motion from the NSW Young Nationals could see an emissions intensity scheme become official state party policy, which would represent a split from the federal leadership.
Follow the action from the conference here:
You can check out the complete conference agenda below: