Nationals keep it local

FOUNDING Nationals Illawarra-South Coast branch chairman Kevin McGirr has politics in his blood.

The Shellharbour-based real estate agent is the descendent of a former NSW premier and a deputy premier, with family members currently serving as Australian ambassadors.

"I've always had a political interest and having a say in how the country is run and how much attention the area gets," he said.

When Gary "Angry" Anderson doubled the Nationals' previous vote in Throsby in September, wheels were set in motion for an Illawarra-South Coast branch.

"After helping Angry, a lot of people were calling out for new representation and we were asked whether we would form a branch," he said.

A week after its launch, the branch already has its first dozen members.

"At least a dozen joined during the launch and there is a register of all the members in the area who were previously members of the Southern Highlands branch," Mr McGirr said.

"They're being contacted to inform them of the transfer, so that'll be at least another dozen.

"Hopefully over the next six to 12 months, it'll pick up."

The branch covers the Shellharbour and Kiama local government areas, stretching as far south as Nowra.

Asked why it would not turn its attention north to Wollongong, Mr McGirr said the Nationals left the metropolitan areas to the Liberal Party.

"We really focus on grassroots small businesses and rural areas," he said.

"We form a coalition [with the Liberals], but we have different policies and a different outlook."

Three-cornered contests south of the Windang bridge are not assured, however.

While Mr McGirr said voters could anticipate a Nationals candidate in Throsby in 2016, pre-selections for the state seats of Shellharbour and Kiama next year would be subject to talks with the Liberals.

Rose Tattoo frontman Anderson only gleaned 10.4 per cent of the vote last year, but Mr McGirr said it was a start in ensuring better representation in the area.

"Even if the representative doesn't change, it's enough to put the pressure on them and if that's all we achieve, that's a good thing," he said.

For more information or to join, call 6273 3822 or visit

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