LABOR has finally entered the Albury election battleground with environmental health officer Lauriston Muirhead being chosen as its candidate for the NSW poll on March 23.
Mr Muirhead will be formally revealed as the party’s candidate today to take on Liberal Justin Clancy and the Greens’ Dean Moss as voters decide on a replacement representative in the NSW Parliament following the retirement of Greg Aplin.
He works for Albury Council, but will be taking leave for the remainder of the campaign.
“Lauriston has the right experience and passion to represent the people of Albury in Sydney,” Albury Labor branch secretary Darren Cameron said.
“This seat has languished as a safe Liberal seat and has been ignored by the NSW Liberal and National party governments.
“One only needs to look to Wagga to see the difference a marginal seat makes to funding for an electorate.”
The prospect of a high-profile independent candidate contesting Albury looks doubtful with Albury mayor Kevin Mack more likely to contest the federal seat of Farrer.
Mr Muirhead grew up in London and attended the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and achieved a Bachelor of Science honours degree in zoology.
He moved to Australia in the early 1980s and lived and worked on farms from Esperance in Western Australia to Bowen in North Queensland.
Mr Muirhead has also worked in the dairy industry and moved to the local area to run the laboratory at the Kiewa cheese factory, progressing to the role of production manager.
After a stint at Wodonga TAFE, he joined Albury Council.
He also has a prominent role with environmental group, Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health.
“Lauriston learnt about climate change in the mid-1970s and has followed the science closely ever since,” Mr Cameron said.
Mr Cameron said Mr Muirhead was also passionate about serving the community.
“Lauriston is looking forward to engaging in the democratic process and continuing to serve the public,” he said.
“Lauriston has the energy, passion and time to dedicate himself 100 per cent to this role.”
The last time there were only three candidates in the seat of Albury was 2007 when Mr Aplin romped in with 65.3 per cent of the primary vote.
When Mr Aplin stood for the first time following the retirement of Ian Glachan in 2003, there were eight other candidates including three independents, Claire Douglas, Rob Ballard and Heather Wilton.
Mr Ballard lost the Liberal pre-selection to Mr Aplin and Mrs Wilton was a National Party member, but the Coalition agreement prevented the Nationals from fielding a candidate.
Ms Douglas was the Albury deputy mayor at the time and was also a prominent figure in the pro-external bypass group, Save Our City.
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