Castle Hill MP Dominic Perrottet to run for Hawkesbury seat; The Hills Cr Mark Taylor to run for Seven Hills

It was a case of musical chairs at the Liberal Party state pre-selection on Tuesday, with current Castle Hill MP Dominic Perrottet chosen to run for the seat of Hawkesbury in next year’s state election — instead of current Londonderry MP, Bart Bassett.

The seat of Hawkesbury is currently occupied by MP Ray Williams, who will run for Castle Hill, and The Hills councillor Mark Taylor will run for the new seat of Seven Hills.

That seat is being vacated by former NSW Premier Nathan Rees who is retiring from Parliament at the next election.

Cr Taylor won 36 to 8 against University of Notre Dame lecturer, Dr Steven Treloar.

Mr Bassett lost to Mr Perrottet 54 to 62.

Mr Bassett began his political career in the Hawkesbury in 2000, and was elected to the council in 2004. He was also mayor.

The seat of Hawkesbury is currently occupied by Ray Williams, who will run for Castle Hill.

Mr Perrottet told Fairfax Media it was an ‘‘absolute honour’’ to be selected as the Liberal candidate for Hawkesbury.

‘‘I am looking forward to the challenge and running a strong campaign, as the Liberal Party has a good story to tell in the Hawkesbury and the Hills areas,’’ he said.

‘‘If elected I look forward to being a strong and relentless advocate for Hawkesbury.

“It has been absolute privilege to represent the people of Castle Hill which I could not have done without the strong support of community groups across the electorate.”

Mr Perrottet, a former solicitor and father of three, came on the political scene in 2011.

He said if elected he would extend the Castle Hill Leadership Program to the Hawkesbury.

The program is focused on developing strong leadership skills and instilling a spirit of service in senior high school students from The Hills.

Students chosen for this program will walk the arduous 90-kilometre Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea during Schoolies Week and meet some of Australia’s finest leaders at a monthly dinner.

Mr Bassett declined to comment, while Cr Taylor was unavailable for comment.

A spokesperson from the Liberal Party head office said the decision was yet to be officially declared by state executives.

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