GREG Aplin could back-flip on a plan to contest the 2019 NSW election.
One of the longest serving members in the NSW Parliament, the member for Albury can’t rule out retirement from a role he has occupied since 2003.
The Border Mail has been told candidates have been approached to consider standing for pre-selection as the Liberal candidate in Albury on the basis Mr Aplin would be retiring.
Asked whether he would be retiring in the lead-up to the March 2019 election, Mr Aplin said: “One thinks about all sorts of things.
“Everyone has to think about the future at some point, but right now it is not something I have taken up with our party branches or with the government in general.
“There will come a point when I have to make that decision and anything you are putting to me is speculation.
“It will be something I will address when the time comes.”
A NSW Liberal Party spokesman said on Thursday he was unaware Mr Aplin was planning to retire before the next election.
By-elections in NSW regional seats are being held in the electorates of Murray and Cootamundra this weekend.
The two retiring former Nationals’ MPs and ministers, Adrian Piccoli and Katrina Hodgkinson, both entered the NSW Parliament before 65-year-old Aplin.
The Nationals are under attack from Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party in the two seats if successful in both by-elections their ranks in the NSW Parliament could swell to three following a victory in Orange last year.
The Nationals would also be eyeing off the Albury electorate if Mr Aplin retired, but the move could be blocked by party leaders.
Mr Aplin said speculation around his future in politics was part and parcel of the job.
“When there are things like by-elections around there is always people wanting to speculate,” he said.
“I”m currently working on a range of projects with government and councils and I intend to see them delivered.”
It followed a long-awaited breakthrough on improvements to the Riverina Highway between Albury and Lake Hume.
Mr Aplin has also had recent funding wins for upgrades of the Culcairn and Holbrook hospitals.
A long-running battle with sections of Albury Council has cooled in recent months.
Premier Gladys Berijiklian made a visit to the electorate about 12 months ago to respond to concerns about Albury missing out on its share of infrastructure funding compared to other NSW regional centres.
Former Federation Council administrator Mike Eden or Albury mayor Kevin Mack could run as independents at the next election to be held in March 2019.