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Barwon MP On the Road

Come March we’ll be looking at a State election with current MP Roy Butler up against several rivals so we thought we’d have a look at what it takes to cover the sprawling electorate of Barwon.

It’s NSW’s biggest electorate by landmass, covering an area of 356,292 square kilometres, which is no less than 44% of the entire state. Barwon includes 13 different local council regions and takes over 11 hours to drive across.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Roy Butler is the current sitting member.

The Barwon electorate includes some of the remote communities in NSW.

Mr Butler says he was once asked by students in Warren, “do you have a private plane?”

Mr Butler explains that the simple answer to that is no, partly because the parliamentary budget doesn’t stretch to it, but partly because his preference is to drive.

“Although there are times when I have to fly to get to places on time, I like to make sure that I get to all of the small places in between the bigger towns,” says the MP.

“Some days I have no option but to drive or fly long distances and often have to go from one event to the next with little time to stop and rest in between.

“Just recently I had a day where I drove from my home in Mendooran to Sydney to catch a plane to fly with the Premier to flood affected areas, before flying back to Sydney just in time to change into a suit to attend police awards, which went until late in the night, before having to get up early the next morning to fly to Broken Hill for business awards, which went late into the night, before getting up the next morning to swim with a local swimming club before boarding a plane back to Sydney to be ready for parliament the next day,” Mr Butler says.

Mr Butler is approaching the end of his first term and gearing up for the coming election campaign in a bid to secure a second and last term in parliament.

He has always said he would only ever be pursuing two terms in parliament due to a promise he made his wife before putting his hat in the ring in the process of becoming a political candidate.

He says he is often asked what it takes to be the member for an electorate the size of Barwon.

“It can be quite an exercise in logistics, persistence, and endurance.

“They need to be prepared to spend long hours fielding media enquiries, taking phone calls, and being up to date with the latest computer platforms and communications systems to create a virtual mobile office so that some work can still be done while you are on the move.

“It is the most complex electorate in NSW, and the job of representing Barwon is made harder by the long distances and long hours, and long periods away from home.

“But it can be very rewarding when you know you are doing everything you can for the community,” Mr Butler said.

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