Gulaptis seeks party support
By JENNIFER HUXLEY
CLARENCE Valley councillor Chris Gulaptis is the National Party's only declared pre-selection candidate for Page in the upcoming Federal election.
At this stage, a likely challenger is Kyogle mayor Ernie Bennett, who yesterday confirmed he was considering nominating. Mr Bennett is yet to make it official by taking the first step ? getting a local branch to endorse him.
Larry Anthony, former minister for children and youth affairs and member for Richmond, had shown an interest in running for Page, but a National Party spokesman yesterday said Mr Anthony pulled out of the race last week because of family reasons.
Once all candidates are endorsed by their respective local branches, they lobby up to 350 party members before D-Day, a pre-selection meeting in Lismore on Saturday, March 31, a week after the State election.
While there is ample time for pre-selection candidates to register before nominations close on March 2, Mr Gulaptis said he was confident he possessed the attributes the National Party was looking for.
"I've arranged for a branch of the party to en- dorse me, and so with my record in public life to date, in my capacity as Maclean mayor and as a councillor, I think I've shown I have the passion and commitment to serve the interests of the electorate and that's really something the Nationals will be looking at," he said.
"If I do become the National Party's candidate I'll really look at fighting to keep the Clarence Valley's natural resources under local control.
"If control over resources like water is taken out of local hands our industries and therefore the local economy will suffer."