Former Katanning man now Nationals WA president

Daryna ZadvirnaNarrogin Observer

Former Katanning business owner and lecturer Steve Blyth has been appointed as the Nationals WA’s new State president.

Mr Blyth, also president of the Roe Electorate Council, said he was enthusiastic, enjoyed a challenge, and had the ability to look at the bigger picture of issues.

The new president said he brought seven years of rural grassroots knowledge and a passion for regional people to the role.

“My job is to ensure the machinery behind our MPs is working efficiently and our membership is looked after,” he said.

As a former horticulture, conservation and management, and landscaping lecturer at South Regional TAFE campuses in Katanning and Albany, Mr Blyth said improving education in regional areas was important to him.

“The business models I see in our TAFE systems currently, I think, need tweaking,” he said.

“Often there are not enough students to make some courses viable, putting the course at risk.

“I often had to go out and hunt for students so I could have a job.”

New Nationals WA president Steve Blyth used to own a nursery in Katanning.
Camera IconNew Nationals WA president Steve Blyth used to own a nursery in Katanning. Credit: Toyah Shakespeare

A self-proclaimed “casualty of bad policy in the country”, Mr Blyth said he was forced to sell his nursery in Katanning after 20 years because of increased water bills.

“The Labor Government brought the cost of water in a user pays policy and for myself, as a businessman, the price of water went from $2.19 to $8.44 a kilolitre,” he said.

“But that was just part of the issues. The carbon tax had been taken out, carbon programs, decline in funding for environmental works — all of that just got to a point when I thought, nah, it’s time to take my passion elsewhere and give something else a crack.

“That’s where my underlying motivation comes from — I don’t want other people to be affected like I had been.”

Mr Blyth said his current goal as State president was to get candidates through the upcoming election and increase the party’s membership.

“The main focus for me ... in these next few months is to get our party ready ... for that next election,” he said.

“We currently hold 10 seats and I’ve set my target to 15.”

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