Colless takes reins
IT didn't take long for Nationals MLC Rick Colless to identify one of the main issues facing the electorate he will be temporarily representing in the NSW Parliament.
Driving to his first day's work yesterday as a replacement for Steve Cansdell, who was forced to resign as the member for Clarence last week, Mr Colless got stuck in traffic heading onto the Grafton Bridge.
It held him up for about 20 minutes.
Mr Colless said he would pick up most of the work left by Mr Cansdell and, for the most part, it would be business as usual for Clarence residents in their dealings with the NSW Parliament.
He would undertake weekly constituent interviews in Grafton and Casino and would stand in at formal functions.
He said he had a meeting yesterday with Mr Cansdell's electorate office staff to work through issues and had discussed electorate matters and representation with Mr Cansdell since his resignation.
Mr Cansdell's staff will stay on and the office will remain open until a by-election is completed. Mr Colless expected that would occur in November, but said it was a matter for the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and the NSW Electoral Commission.
"Deb and Janet (Mr Cansdell's former staff who will remain in the office) have a fair handle on things that are going on in the electorate."
Mr Colless said he was also familiar with the region's needs, having been a duty MLC for Clarence from 2000-2003.
Despite Mr Cansdell's departure, Mr Colless said any promises made to the electorate during the election campaign in March would be met, including commitments to the Grafton Bridge and the Pacific Hwy upgrade.
No Liberal candidate would run in the by-election because of a Coalition agreement preventing three-cornered contests.