NSW Nationals delegates to debate migrant intake, nuclear energy, election safeguards at 2018 conference

Deputy Premier John Barilaro has declared pride in his heritage, the party’s state conference agenda is set to drag the issue to the fore once again.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro has declared pride in his heritage, the party’s state conference agenda is set to drag the issue to the fore once again.

HOT takes on immigration have fuelled screaming matches in state parliament - and split regional youth politics - and now delegates at the annual NSW Nationals conference in Cowra next month will discuss halving the number of new entrants to Australia.

After a fortnight where Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Nationals Upper Hose MLC Wes Fang have declared pride in their heritage as children of immigrants, the party’s state conference agenda is set to drag the issue to the fore once again.

The Eden-Monaro Federal Electoral Council has moved that the conference “call for the total immigration program to be capped at 100,000 persons per annum”. 

Eden-Monaro FEC chair Jeffrey McCormack, Mr Barilaro’s former campaign director and a current Nats Federal staffer, put forward a similar immigration motion at the NSW Young Nationals conference at the weekend.

Mr McCormack’s Young Nats motion called for all visa categories to be capped at 100,000 per year.

Of course, immigration is just one item in a diverse state conference agenda that includes pushing for an expressway over the Great Dividing Range, helping communities plagued by fruit bats, and giving bush residents a regional variant of the metro Opal card.

The conference will be held at Cowra on  Friday and Saturday June 15 and 16, 2018.

The NSW Young Nationals will move that the Murray Darling Medical School proposal backed by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack be dissolved and the funds instead be directed to postgraduate vocational training in rural areas.

Energy and environmental policies up for debate also straddle an ideological divide.

Multiple branches have endorsed a motion that appears to advocate for coal energy, or to “re-establish an affordable and reliable electricity supply, essential to the maintenance of Australia’s economic security and social equity”.

There’s also support from the Orange, Macleay Valley, and Southern Highlands branches for the construction of at least one High Efficiency Low Emissions power station “as soon as possible”.

Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Michael McCormack. Photo supplied.

Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Michael McCormack. Photo supplied.