Dugald Saunders, Nationals, wins seat of Dubbo in state election

Dugald Saunders with his family on election night. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
Dugald Saunders with his family on election night. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Dugald Saunders says getting people help for the drought is his top priority, but overtaking lanes between Narromine and Dubbo and improving the heavy vehicle route in town are on his radar. 

On Friday afternoon, Nationals' Mr Saunders was announced as the winner for the state seat of Dubbo. Counting was still underway, a week after it started, but Mr Saunders said he was confident he could formally claim an election victory.

"It's quite a surreal feeling to think I am going to be a Member of Parliament, especially given the circumstances of how the election panned out," Mr Saunders said. 

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"We always knew it was going to be a close election and when you put yourself forward for the public to judge you, it is never easy.

"But now that it is over I am relieved and thankful. My job now is to go to Macquarie Street and be the voice of the Dubbo electorate."

In the first count, Mr Saunders had 52.62 per cent of the Two Candidate Preferred votes, or 18,147. Independent Mathew Dickerson had 47.38 per cent, or 16,343.

Mr Saunders also took out 38.17 per cent of the first preference votes.

The future MP said he would have a lot to learn so his work was going to be a slow burn initially, but his $18 million commitment to overtaking lanes will still be a go ahead. 

"I have a lot to learn on so many levels so I'm not going to come out and promise timelines for specific projects," Mr Saunders said. 

"In the first instance my job is to go and further build on the relationships I have built within the Liberals and Nationals government, and then I will go about ticking off the commitments made in the campaign.

"I have committed to delivering the new overtaking lanes [between Dubbo and Narromine] and I am determined to make that happen but we do have a new Minister for Regional Roads in Paul Toole and he will have a lot of projects to wrap his head around too.

First and foremost however, he said drought support was a key priority for regional MP.

"On a wide scale the first thing I am looking to tackle will be ways to combat the impact of drought. I am a regional MP and it is the big issue impacting basically the entire state," he said. 

"We saw with the unveiling of the new cabinet that the Premier and Deputy Premier have placed a real emphasis on regional NSW, and the cries for help from the rural areas need to be heard.

A major concern in the Narromine shire saw residents are call for a ring road in Dubbo, believing it will reduce the increase of north-south freight liners driving through town. 

Mr Saunders said that funding has been provided to undertake a scoping study of the Tomingley and Eumungerie road via Narromine to support the road and the increase of heavy vehicles, however he will look at options that best suit the community. 

"Funding was provided to Narromine Shire Council to do a study into the route that joins Tomingley and Eumungerie via Narromine. Data through the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) shows that the route is growing in popularity with heavy vehicle drivers and upgrades will be needed to make it suitable for that increase in traffic," he said.

"Bearing that in mind I think we need to look at all options that are available and work out the best solution for everyone, including the residents of Narromine."