High-profile local barrister and former mayor Stephen Lawrence says he will use his upper house position to give a voice to Dubbo in the newly-elected Labor government.
Mr Lawrence - who ran seventh on the Labor party's Legislative Council ticket - is set to head to the upper house after Labor secured eight spots on Saturday.
Although Legislative Council members don't directly represent a region like their colleagues in the lower house, Mr Lawrence said his election will ensure Dubbo has "a local voice in the new Labor government".
"Obviously Dugald Saunders remains our local member, but he won't be part of the government. I'll be an upper house member, I'll be part of the government," he told the Daily Liberal.
"I live here in Dubbo and I will always do my best to represent people on their issues with the government and to make sure we get our fair share."
With almost a third of votes counted across the state at close of count on Saturday night, the Labor party had received 37.1 percent of votes in the upper house, a 7.4 percent swing in their favour.
This means - of the 21 members of the Legislative Council up for election this year - eight will be from the Labor party. The coalition will likely pick up six upper house spots and the remaining seven spots will go to the crossbench.
This isn't Mr Lawrence's first shot at public office. He ran unsuccessfully as a lower house candidate for the electorate of Dubbo in 2015 and again in 2019.
In 2017, he was elected as Dubbo's first Labor-endorsed councillor and served as deputy mayor from 2019 until his appointment as mayor in 2021.
Mr Lawrence said he wanted to take a shot at the upper house this election as he believes having country-based members of the Legislative Council will ensure country people have a strong voice in the Labor party.
"Just as important in politics is explaining your message and ensuring that your message is understood, and that's where having three Labor councillors and an upper house representative in Dubbo is going to be tremendously helpful," he said.
"We will now be in a position to explain Labor policies to show that Labor is relevant locally and that Labor is doing its best on a local level and state level on behalf of this community."
At midday on Monday - with 39.2 percent of the vote counted - Nationals candidate Dugald Saunders had tallied 51 percent of the primary vote, making him the clear winner for the lower house seat of Dubbo.
Labor's lower house candidate Josh Black was second in the running with 23.8 percent - the highest primary vote to the Labor party in Dubbo since 1995 when Bob Green secured 30.1 percent of the vote against Nationals incumbent Gerry Peacock.
Despite the wide margin, Mr Lawrence said he's optimistic about Labor's shot at the seat in the next election.
"Our local member has secured only half the vote so as many people who wanted Dugald as our local member also did not want him as our local member. So our electorate is divided down the middle even though traditionally this is a strong National Party electorate," he said.
"The days of Gerry Peacock and Troy Grant getting 60 or 70 percent of the primary vote in Dubbo are well and truly gone, there is a mood for change here and I think it's growing."
"I'm very confident to say that the Labor Party is well and truly back in Dubbo and we have our eye on taking this seat in the next election. And I'll certainly be continuing my work as a Labor party activist to make sure we continue to build our strength here."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: