Piccoli’s silence leaves Griffith in political limbo

GRIFFITH has been left in political limbo by member for Murrumbidgee Adrian Piccoli who has refused to declare whether he will represent the city at the next state election.

While state politicians jockey for their slice of a redistributed regional NSW, the education minister has kept silent about his intentions.

Mr Piccoli told The Area News he would not make a decision until next month.

“(I) haven’t decided yet,” he said.

“When nominations open in April is when I will announce which seat I will stand in.”

A redistribution of state electorates in September last year saw Murrumbidgee absorbed by bordering Nationals seats Murray, formerly Murray-Darling, and Cootamundra, formerly Burrinjuck.

Mr Piccoli must now decide whether he will run for the seat of Murray or Cootamundra.

It is expected Mr Piccoli will run for the seat of Murray, as it incorporates his home town of Griffith.

His potential opponent, the current member for Murray-Darling John Williams, will attempt to secure a spot in the upper house.

If Mr Piccoli instead ran for the seat of Cootamundra it is presumed he would have to take on the minister for primary industries Katrina Hodgkinson, who is set to retire from a contest against Liberal minister Pru Goward in another electorate – Goulburn.

Whichever seat Mr Piccoli decides to run for, assuming he runs for parliament at all, Griffith Chamber of Commerce’s Paul Pierotti said he had disappointed his home-town by not declaring his support sooner.

“We’ve been treated exceptionally badly though this entire process by the abolition of our seat and now our elected member won’t even declare if he’s going to support us in the new seat – it shows how little respect is given to our community who have supported him well,” Mr Pierotti said.

“Adrian Piccoli has run as our member for a very long time and he’s our current sitting member, but sometimes I think he has a higher priority to his portfolio than his electorate.

“There’s no reason he wouldn’t show his hand, it’s disrespectful and it just creates frustration and confusion within his own electorate.”

Mr Pierotti was also dismayed with Mr Piccoli’s lack of fight to keep the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) in one seat, claiming the split could negatively impact one of Australia’s leading food, fibre and wine growing areas.

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