THERE has been strong interest from Liberal National Party quarters in the seat of Gregory, to be vacated by long-serving MP Vaughan Johnson at the forthcoming state election, with six candidates confirmed as contesting pre-selection for the party.
They include former Aramac Shire Council mayor, current Barcaldine Regional councillor, bookmaker and central west racing stalwart, Gary Peoples and mining risk and compliance advisor Darren Sargood.
The other four to contest the ballot include electorate officer Jack Piggott, Tambo grazier Andrew Martin, ministerial advisor Lachlan Millar, and Alpha grazier Sean Dillon.
Mr Peoples, who races horses in co-ownership with Mr Johnson, said the pair were great mates and he would never have stood against him.
“It’s something I’m keen to have a run at though,” he said.
“Now I have to see if I get through pre-selection.”
Federal Young Nationals treasurer and member of the Christmas Creek Droughtmaster dynasty, Jack Piggott has already tested out the seat of Gregory as part of Queensland’s Youth Parliament program.
The 24-year-old Bond University law and biomedical science student, who hails from Rolleston, is a Young LNP vice president.
Another candidate with strong links to the LNP, Lachlan Millar is currently the senior media advisor to Agriculture Minister John McVeigh.
The former ABC journalist has already expressed political aspirations in contesting the division seven councillor position with the Sunshine Coast Regional Council in the 2008 local government elections.
His links with Gregory include an uncle, Tony Millar, who owned Tambo sheep breeding property Milray, and family who are involved in grain and cotton growing at Emerald.
Alpha-Jericho LNP branch chairman and current Australian Campdrafting Association vice president Sean Dillon and Tambo grazier Andrew Martin are two other candidates with a rural background.
Mr Martin has built a profile in agripolitics over a number of years as an executive member of the National Farmers Federation, Wool Council of Australia, and president of the Warrego Graziers’ Association.
Mr Sargood is from Moranbah.
According to LNP state director Brad Henderson, given the vast size of the electorate, there will be a postal vote amongst eligible party members to select the candidate, closing on November 28.