Gascoyne pastoralist Will Baston to contest North West Central by-election against Nationals Merome Beard
The race for the North West Central seat is officially on after the Liberals announced their candidate to contest the upcoming by-election.
Pastoralist Will Baston, 36, from Jimba Jimba station on the Gascoyne River was announced by Liberal leader David Honey as the party’s candidate on July 13.
A by-election was called after long time member Vince Catania stood down in June after retaining his seat by 259 votes at the 2021 State Election.
The seat covers an area of 820,591 square kilometres and includes the Pilbara towns of Onslow, Tom Price and Paraburdoo as well as Gascoyne towns such as Exmouth and Carnarvon.
Mr Baston’s family have lived in the region for six generations and he is a qualified urban and regional planner with 14 years of service in local communities.
He has also worked as a consultant on conservation and economic development outcomes for outback and regional WA.
Mr Baston said he was passionate about the Outback.
“I’m standing for local decisions to be made by local people. And I’m standing to bring a strong regional voice to parliament, which at present is too dominated by Perth-Labor,” he said.
“I have seen how Labor has cut regional representation in parliament. Labor has turned its back on North West Central and is leaving our region behind.
“The rising cost of living is hurting locals who must travel over large areas to get access to basic essential services, such as maternity service.”
Mr Baston will go up against the Nationals candidate Merome Beard, who has owned and run the Port Hotel in Carnarvon for two decades.
Ms Beard said she was excited to join the Nationals team that was taking up the fight on behalf of regional West Australians.
“As a small business owner and employer, I understand payroll tax is a handbrake on growth and worker shortages are driving businesses into the ground,” she said.
“Access to housing and accommodation should be a priority, as should basic health services like being able to have a baby locally, but these issues have been ignored by the Labor Government and they shouldn’t be rewarded for this neglect.
“We don’t need another voiceless backbencher in the Labor Government, the electorate needs a strong and fierce local voice to get what the region deserves and to hold the McGowan Labor Government to account.”
A date for the upcoming by-election is yet to be announced.
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