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Contenders for Nationals preselection for Geraldton on what they bring to table one day out from decision

Anna CoxGeraldton Guardian
National Party hopeful Rob Horstman.
Camera IconNational Party hopeful Rob Horstman. Credit: Supplied

The three contenders vying to be the Nationals WA candidate for the seat of Geraldton are united in their belief that the Labor Government has not done enough for the regions.

Just one day out from the Nationals’ State Council meeting, where the decision to whittle three down to one will be made, the trio of experienced nominees are all keen to create a voice for regional communities.

The party’s choice on who contests the Geraldton seat at the March 2025 State election will be between former Greater Geraldton mayor Shane Van Styn, Chapman Valley Shire president and farmer Kirrilee Warr, and Northampton Shire vice-president and previous Upper House candidate Rob Horstman.

Party leader Shane Love said it was, “fantastic to see such strongly credential nominees. They’re all fantastic candidates and will be great contributors”.

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The State Council will meet on Saturday to determine which nominee will represent the party in the seat of Geraldton, with the newly minted Mid West seat already filled by Mr Love, who ran unopposed.

Each nominee will present to the council for up to 15 minutes, fielding questions from the floor afterwards.

Mr Love said the party was hopeful all three candidates would stay involved with the party and pool their wealth of knowledge of the region together.

Mr Horstman said his motivation to nominate for preselection came from a long-standing interest in politics thanks to his father, and wanting to see a shift of focus in the State Government landscape.

“The focus of the Labor Government had not been on regional WA,” he said.

The experience under his belt includes his work with the Shire of Northampton, captaining the cyclone Seroja recovery committee as well as the COVID Connect Support Program. He ran unsuccessfully for the Nationals WA in the Agricultural Region at the 2021 State election.

Mr Horstman was “extremely confident” in his abilities to secure the seat, but said he had a great deal of respect for his peers and knew whichever candidate was successful would be fully supported.

Mr Van Styn said his peers in Mr Horstman and Ms Warr were, “both lovely people and worthy candidates with experience in local government”.

With eight years in the mayoral seat, Mr Van Styn felt secure in his ability to win preselection.

“You have to be confident in politics. What is needed is a strong degree of confidence and ability to listen, and not just be a party puppet,” he said. “I’d like to bring an energy and confidence that (the seat of) Geraldton hasn’t seen before.”

Ms Warr said her assuredness stemmed from her roots in her shire and experience in local government.

“I am feeling confident,” she said. “I believe because I’ve been born and bred here and have strong connections and networks, I’m acutely aware of the issues in the region.”

At the forefront for Ms Warr is amending the State Government’s investment into the regions.

“My priorities are cost of living, health and education, policing and crime prevention, closely followed by environment,” she said.

“I think this Government has done some things but not enough to improve the lives of people living in the region.”

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