A former Dubbo mayor has been announced as the duty MLC for a number of electorates across western and central western NSW.
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Recently-elected member of the legislative council (MLC) Stephen Lawrence - who calls Dubbo home - will represent the electoral divisions of Dubbo, Barwon, Orange, Bathurst and Cootamundra as the duty MLC.
This means, Mr Lawrence will act as a liaison with the NSW Labor government and local residents, representing the interests of the region.
"The system is that in every electorate where the Labor party does not hold the lower house seat, we appoint an upper house member to represent the seat in the Labor government and to assist residents," Mr Lawrence explained.
"My hope is to assist people who have issues with the government and to be available as a point of contact within the Labor government.
"I will also work with the local MP whenever this needs to occur in the interests of the community."
Mr Lawrence was voted into the upper house following the March 25 state election. He is currently Chair of the Privileges Committee and a member of the Law and Justice Committee, the State Development Committee and Portfolio Committees 1 and 5.
Speaking to the Daily Liberal after the election, Mr Lawrence said he wanted to use his position to be a voice for Dubbo within the 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 said.
"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.
"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."
In his inaugural speech to parliament, Mr Lawrence doubled down on his promise to represent the region.
"I'll have no compunction in being a strong advocate on issues where there might be a tension between the Labor party position and the interest of residents of western NSW, I think that's a really important thing to be willing to do," he said.
"But, frankly, I don't expect that it will be too much of a problem because the government is very focused on the needs and the interests of NSW [...] we're focused on ensuring that our essential services are properly resourced.
"We introduced legislation to decisively move away from politicised discretionary spending and put money back into essential services like health and education."
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