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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Thomas George to quit parliament at next election

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Thomas George on election day 2015 day at a polling booth in Lismore. Mr George was returned on a promised to buy back CSG licences in the northern rivers. Three months on, the scheme has been extended but none of the region's seven licences have been returned. Photo Tree Faerie.
Thomas George on election day 2015 day at a polling booth in Lismore. Mr George was returned on a promised to buy back CSG licences in the northern rivers. Three months on, the scheme has been extended but none of the region’s seven licences have been returned. Photo Tree Faerie.

Lismore MP Thomas George has announced he will retire from the NSW Parliament at the next election in March 2019.

Mr George was first elected in 1999. During his time in parliament, Mr George has served as The Nationals’ Whip, on numerous committees and rose to the position of Deputy Speaker, which he currently holds.

He said it had been an honour and a privilege to serve the people of the Lismore electorate since 1999.

‘Representing our communities in Sydney has been an enormous responsibility, and a role I have never taken lightly,’ he said.

‘It’s a difficult task, but one that I will be eternally grateful to locals for entrusting me with.’

‘I made it clear at the 2015 election that if elected, this term would be my last in the Parliament. Although I will be stepping down in March 2019, I will continue to work just as hard for locals as I have since 1999,’ Mr George said.

Nationals’ State Director Nathan Quigley recognised Thomas’ history of delivery for the electorate.

‘Thomas George has been a staunch and effective representative for the Lismore electorate. You just need only to look at the Lismore Base Hospital redevelopment to see the practical and positive impact his advocacy has delivered for the area,’ Mr Quigley said.

‘Thomas secured over $300 million to redevelop the hospital into what will be a world-class facility, with the services and infrastructure to deliver the healthcare the people of Lismore deserve. Without Thomas being a vocal proponent of the development inside The Nationals and Liberals government, it would never have got off the ground.’

Mr George said that while the hospital was one of the single biggest projects he’d been able to deliver for the people of Lismore, looking after smaller communities who are often unnoticed was just as important to him.

‘The Multi-Purpose Health facility we funded in a small town like Bonalbo will make a real and material difference to the lives of locals and for me projects like that are just as important,’ Mr George said.

In his recent roles as Deputy Speaker, Thomas has worked closely with most state parliamentarians, from both sides of the aisle.

‘Over the course of his Parliamentary career, Thomas has earned respect across political divides and I know he will be sorely missed by all those who worked with him,’ Mr Quigley said.


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6 COMMENTS

  1. When we witness the passing of a generation of politicians to a new bunch of representatives, whilst reviewing their effectiveness, is it fair to also consider what could be considered failures?

    While no-one would doubt the success of the Lismore base hospital and a host of other local successes, we see in this article, the Nationals State Director Nathan Quigley praising Thomas George for his “staunch and effective representation for the Lismore electorate”. So how is it then, that after 11 years, many protests and debate, with a population around the 42,300 mark, the city is still without a proper working passenger rail service to Sydney? Most people would readily concur the decision to run down the former service and then suddenly cancel it in the hope that nobody would notice was sheer stupidity and just a bit mean.

    But to have the rusting infrastructure sitting neglected and unused is not only an appalling monument to political gutlessness, it’s also a sad testament to a community unable to have a reasonable and sensible request realised. If ever there was a narrative of continuing blinkered head-in-the-sand ignorance on the North coast, it surely must be the closed railway. A city the size of Lismore deserves all the transport options it can get. The economic benefits are obvious which makes the continued apathy to reinstate the passenger rail service even more pathetic. So who are the local politicians who have, over the years, failed so spectacularly to get Sydney to listen and to act upon the clearly stated wishes of the North coast communities?

    • The reason the area does not have a rail service any more is that would not provide a good public transprot solution. Why would he advocate for a transport that the State government’s analyses show would not serve people’s needs. Why would you blame the member for not advocating a public transprot that does not serve the majority of the population, and in particular the areas of fastest growing elderly population? Why would any sane person advocate a public transprot that does not go from where people live to the key destinations people want to go – campuses, hospitals and airports for example? In the expression “public transport”, the word “public” comes first. When you plan transport you start with people – where do they live, where do they want to go and when do they want to travel. You then come up with a solution that provides with limited funds the greatest number of services to meet the highest priority needs for the longest period of the day and week. When will the rail enthusiasts stop looking at the rails and start reading the analyses and surveys of where people live and want to go? Tamara Smith has seen sense and realizes the rail will not deliver. When will others who want to see better public transport see that only better road services can deliver people where they need to go and start lobbying their members. Maybe then we will get real transport instead of missing out as we did in this budget, while Toots and its friends play trains. Can I conclude by noting that there is absolutely no evidence or reputable analysis to support your claim that people think the closure stupid, or that the economic benefits are obvious. That Toots and its supporters never refer to population-focused regional transport planning and surveys, or pay any heed to issues of capital and recurrent costs, is a telling indictment of their unwilllingness to put people before trains.

    • I did want to comment directly on the statement “… with a population around the 42,300 mark, the city is still without a proper working passenger rail service to Sydney”. What nonsense! Lismore is 32 minutes on Trainlink’s bus from Casino and the main Brisbane Sydney. And what would a direct train service cost – I don’t mean the ticket price but the unsubsidised cost which for a limited population would be even higher than the service through Casino – and that cost would of course be on top of the regular commuter service that Toots supporters tell us they want on the line (never mind trying to juggle the two on a single line). I have just bought some mid-week flights from Ballina airport – also half an hour away from Lismore and while the train costs $240 return the air ticket cost $160 (not only is that air ticket unsubsidised I am helping contribute to Ballina Shire’s Council). Public transport patronage to Sydney has grown rapidly in the decade since the rail closed because of cheaper air fares but Toots and its supporters are not interested in people – in where they want to go and how they want to travel. The train line does not go to any of the region’s airports, and the proposals to put it through to Coolangatta would cost millions – talk about “head in the sand”. If Toots and its supporters had forgot about its “many protests and debates” and made requests to Thomas George that were in line with NSW government’s planning advice to improve road transport and its linkages to transport hubs like Ballina airport maybe the people of Lismore and others in the region would enjoy some of the 3,300 new bus services announced in the budget.

  2. Staunch?
    Yes, in the pocket of ‘vested interests’.
    I am sorry Tom, it has all been NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
    Your support for the LBH refurbishment has been commendable, but continuing support of the CSG rapists has damned you in the eyes of the grneral public.
    Your rise through the ranks has been consistent with the aims of the ‘ancien regime’. You are a dinosaur who has become trapped in the tar-fields of outdated and destructive values.

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