crossorigin="anonymous"> crossorigin="anonymous">
top of page

Apparently Phil Donato is no longer the MP for Orange

October 13, 2022

Phil Donato. Facebook.

By Peter Holmes

Nationals upper house MP Sam Farraway has claimed in parliament that he is the true member for Orange, deriding the political career of the man who actually holds the job, Phil Donato from the Shooters, Fishers & Farmers (SFF) party.

In an extraordinary response to a question in the NSW Legislative Council (upper house) on Tuesday afternoon, Farraway said: “I am basically the member for Orange these days, because the member for Orange does very little.”

Farraway had been asked by SFF leader Robert Borsak about road funding in NSW.

The issue is red hot in NSW at the moment due to the number of dangerous potholes on many roads. Donato spoke to broadcaster Ray Hadley about the issue on air today.

Farraway's claim to be the real member for Orange came at the end of a long answer about government funding for regional infrastructure and the Fixing Local Roads program.

When Farraway made his statement about being the real MP for Orange, he was asked by Labor’s Penny Sharpe: “What about the resident of Orange? What do you do with him?”

It is likely that by “resident of Orange” Sharpe was referring to Scott Barrett, Farraway’s Nationals colleague in the upper house, who lives in Orange.

In response to Sharpe, Farraway said: “There are two of us. That is how committed we are; the people of Orange have two members.”

Farraway said the Orange electorate had received $25 million through the Fixing Local Roads program.

In an interview with The Orange News Examiner Donato said: “I don’t worry too much about his silly comments, that’s just him trying to big note himself and it shows how out of touch … and how arrogant he is.”

Asked if he felt insulted, Donato said: “I wouldn’t say I feel insulted. It made me laugh. Like, how could you have the audacity to say that?”

In a social media post Donato reminded Farraway - not for the first time - that the latter is yet to face voters, having "been appointed by his own party to fill a casual vacancy in the NSW Legislative Council when the position was vacated by Niall Blair in 2019".

"Mr Farraway has never been elected to the NSW Parliament by the constituents of the Orange electorate (or any electorate for that matter) ... [his comments about being the MP for Orange] says a lot about himself and his disregard for the people who voted for me to represent the Orange electorate," Donato wrote.

The Bathurst-based Farraway and Donato have been engaged in argy bargy of late over potholes in Orange and surrounds, and speed camera signs.

The Orange News Examiner has sought comment from Sam Farraway and Penny Sharpe.

Independent media with no agendas is more important than ever. The Orange News Examiner needs your support, if you are able financially, so we can keep telling stories and keep the site free for everyone, no matter their means. You can make a one-off donation or a small monthly pledge at Patreon or PayPal. A big thank you to those who have already chipped in!

Hansard Transcript - NSW Parliament, October 11, 2022)

The Hon. ROBERT BORSAK (16:40): My question is directed to the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, the Hon. Sam Farraway. In response to my colleague the member for Orange, who earlier last month called on the Government to urgently direct State government funding to assist regional councils with the enormous job of repairing damaged roads, and many subsequent calls from safety‑concerned citizens, the Minister announced that the Government would direct funding for regional roads of $19.4 billion from the regional roads and infrastructure fund. How much money from this fund will be directed to regional councils to aid with road repairs, and will the Minister guarantee that the redirection will not negatively impact the original purpose of the fund?

The Hon. SAM FARRAWAY (Minister for Regional Transport and Roads) (16:41): I thank the member for his question. This Liberal‑Nationals Government has a $19.4 billion infrastructure pipeline for regional New South Wales. That includes some legacy‑building infrastructure across this State, whether it be the Coffs Harbour bypass, the bypasses in Singleton and Muswellbrook, the Great Western Highway or the $1.7 billion going into the Newell Highway. This is our infrastructure pipeline. Specifically to the question, the Government has delivered record infrastructure and investment for local councils across this State since 2019. It was this Liberal‑Nationals Government that took a half‑a‑billion dollar commitment to the 2019 election to support every regional council across this State through the Fixing Local Roads program, including the most recent round of $140 million that has been offered up.

Applications have closed, we are going through the grading process and we will deliver $140 million of projects in the coming months to local councils across this State. That complements and completes our $500 million—our half a billion dollars—in that one program alone. That is in addition to working with the former Federal Coalition Government to top it up by another $191 million; that is on top of our $400 million Fixing Country Rail program; and that is on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars in the Fixing Country Roads program that is currently open to applications for the final round of $80.3 million—again, directed to local councils. This funding is all in addition to the State Government, Transport for NSW, maintaining and building our State highways and State roads and providing new infrastructure for the future for regional New South Wales. In the member for Orange's electorate—I am basically the member for Orange these days, because the member for Orange does very little—$25 million—

The Hon. PENNY SHARPE: What about the resident of Orange? What do you do with him?

The Hon. SAM FARRAWAY: There are two of us. That is how committed we are; the people of Orange have two members. The Orange electorate has had $25 million invested through the Fixing Local Roads program. Just in that electorate, just in one program, $25 million is going to local councils—Orange City Council, Forbes Shire Council, Parkes Shire Council and Cabonne Council. This is a government that delivers. We deliver. Not only do we deliver the critical infrastructure that is needed, we have our Transport for NSW crews working directly with general managers if they need any support outside of the normal scope. It could be engineering, it could be geotechnical advisers, it could be project managers, it could be a raft of measures. We are there, ready and able to support the Central West, just like we support the North Coast, just like we support the Northern Rivers, just like we support all of regional New South Wales. [Time expired.]


bottom of page