Illawarra launch a historic step for Nationals

History was made on Sunday when the National Party formed its first Illawarra South Coast branch.

Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson attended the inaugural meeting, giving the final address and encouraging the new branch members to go on to bigger and better things.

"They start with small numbers but I'm sure it will grow from there," Ms Hodgkinson said before the meeting.

Ms Hodgkinson, who lives at Berrima, had travelled down Macquarie Pass to Albion Park Bowling Club where for the first time in the party's 95-year history the branch was formed.

Among the mix of members was a school teacher, a public servant and a university graduate.

Shellharbour real estate agent Kevin McGirr was voted the branch's first chairman.

A decision to form the branch followed the strong campaign in the September federal election by high-profile candidate for Throsby Gary "Angry" Anderson".

Mr Anderson won 10.4 per cent of the vote - a doubling of the National Party vote.

Mr Anderson's former campaign manager, Valentine Tyson, who heads the Southern Highlands branch said the election result was a blow.

"We expected to do much better than that," Mr Tyson said. "Both Angry and I were very disappointed."

But he said on the positive side there had been another 15 members, adding to the 70 members the party had on the South Coast.

"The election campaign showed us there was lots and lots of support out there," Mr Tyson said. "People in the Illawarra told us that they didn't want it to be over. They're not happy with what the Labor Party haven't done over the decades. They formed this branch so they can be politically active for the National Party.

"Now we're really looking forward to getting stuck into this region because it's been rusted on Labor. It's good news for us."

Member of the Legislative Council Rick Colless, who lives at Vincentia, also attended the meeting to support the new branch members.

"I don't know any other branch which will start off with their own member of Parliament," Mr Tyson said. "We're very lucky."

Mr Tyson said many of the party's members were ordinary people but that it also included farmers, small business people and a range of professionals including doctors and lawyers.

Ms Hodgkinson said the party attended to the grass roots of community. "Our main focus is on regional NSW," she said. "We're concerned with regional development and making sure communities grow through adequate resources."

She encouraged anyone who wanted to join the National Party to do so online. It was expected the new branch would be active in contesting next year's state election.

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