NSW Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis to retire after over a decade in politics

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NSW Nationals MP, Chris Gulaptis, has announced his intention to retire in a statement after more than a decade in state parliament.

Mr Gulaptis said the decision to not seek re-election for the seat of Clarence at the next state election in March 2023 was “exceptionally difficult,” but it has been “an absolute honour” to help improve the lives of people in regional NSW.

“I have given everything I have to this role – my heart, my energy, my passion – and whilst there have been some turbulent times, I have loved every minute of it,” the Nationals MP said.

“That said, I feel now is the right time to retire. Now is the time for renewal and for someone else to take my place.”

Mr Gulaptis first entered politics in November 2011 and in his inaugural speech to NSW Parliament at the time, he explained how he never imagined becoming an MP would be in “his destiny” as a young boy growing up in Perth in the 1960s with Greek migrant parents.

“It was during my early years working as a graduate surveyor in the eastern goldfields of Western Australia that I came to love the honesty of the bush — both the people and the landscape,” Mr Gulaptis explained.

Since then, Mr Gulaptis has served as a parliamentary secretary for key portfolio areas affecting the regions including Agriculture, Forestry, Regional Roads and Regional Planning.

In 2020, he created chaos within the Coalition when he threatened a move to the crossbench to protest against a new koala protection policy.

Chris Gulaptis.

Mr Gulaptis is also credited with the construction of a second Grafton bridge and securing the funding for the construction of Australia’s largest prison under his watch.

In his statement, the Clarence MP thanked his family, friends and the people of his electorate for supporting him over the years.

“You have been my driving force and have inspired me to serve you every day and for that I will be eternally grateful,” he said.

NSW Deputy Premier, Paul Toole, thanked Mr Gulaptis for his service.

“His legacy will be evident for decades to come for anyone driving along the North Coast — an upgraded Pacific Highway that has saved hundreds of lives,” Mr Toole said.

“And better health facilities, including securing funding for a major redevelopment of the Grafton Base Hospital.”

The Legislative Assembly District of Clarence has 57,016 electors and occupies an area of 13,492 square kilometres. It includes the city of Grafton and the major towns of Yamba and Casino.

Source: ABC News.

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