In his last week in office, Adrian Piccoli has taken time to reflect on nearly two decades of public service.
An 18-year political veteran, Mr Piccoli has been the Member for Murray since 1999. His time in State Parliament also saw him serve as the Education Minister and Deputy Leader of the NSW Nationals.
“People choose you to represent them in parliament, it’s a big responsibility. In that sense, it’s also a real privilege,” he said.
“I’ve never taken it for granted. I’ve tried to make decisions in the best interests of the electorate.”
When asked what he would pass on to his successor, Mr Piccoli’s advice was twofold.
“It’s a great job. You get to do such a diverse range of things on a daily basis. You’ve got such diverse range of communities in the electorate...” he said.
Still, Mr Piccoli said that it was a job that brought it’s fair share of challenges, citing water and health among them.
“Anyone who says the issues are easy is lying or doesn’t understand the job,” he said.
“If they were easily resolved, the they would have been fixed a long time ago. You’ve just got to fight hard.”
During his time as local member, Griffith has seen the commitment of a $25 million Griffith super school investment, a $35 million commitment to Griffith Base Hospital’s redevelopment, $4 million to upgrade the Yoolgali intersection and millions in infrastructure in the form of new police and ambulance stations.
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“To see the change in the local economy now compared to six years ago, it’s chalk and cheese,” he said.
“That’s been a really great thing to see. It’s just good to see that there are jobs for people. We’re still a vibrant community.”
His passion for his local area was driven by his desire to see a better future for his kids.
“My children were born here. My motivation at a personal level is about making this a better place to live,” he said.
Mr Piccoli has accepted a position with University of New South Wales as Director of Regional Education, a role that will see him based in Griffith.
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The new job gives him the chance to continue in an education role.
Part of his local education legacy will be the super-school, to which the state government has committed $25 million.
While he’s happy with the way it has turned out thus far, Mr Piccoli said that there is still more work to be done.
“I don’t think we’ll ever be satisfied with the improvement we get in education because we just want more. I think we are starting to see improvements.”
An advocate for Gonski reforms during his time as Education Minister, working toward better education is still a passion project.
“Change in education takes a long time. We’re starting to see some of the results of Gonski and other reforms,”
“It’s something I’m particularly proud of. I put a lot of work in and it’s starting to pay off.”