Dr Sally Townley has withdrawn from the race for Cowper as The Greens candidate to concentrate on an independent bid for the seat of Coffs Harbour.
She has resigned from The Greens.
“I needed to resign so I can stand up and say I’m free from any external allegiance that could potentially come first before the people,” Dr Townley said.
Dr Townley, an environmental scientist, lives in Bellingen and is a councillor on Coffs Harbour City Council.
She launched her then Cowper campaign for The Greens in Port Macquarie in August 2018 but a recent change of heart has seen Dr Townley switch her attention to the seat of Coffs Harbour as an independent.
Dr Townley believes the time is right to contest that state seat as an independent, given the upcoming retirement of MP Andrew Fraser.
“It was the right decision for me,” she said.
“I just feel like I have more to offer in that capacity.”
Dr Townley said it was not an easy decision or one taken lightly.
The Greens Cowper campaign coordinator for the election, Jonathan Cassell, said the group was very disappointed at the outcome and a bit surprised.
“I think it has definitely surprised a few people, however, I think many members also accept Sally has invested a tremendous amount of time in her local role as a councillor and we see this largely as a fair call,” he said.
The party has started the process to find a new Cowper candidate and hopes to stage a preselection as soon as possible.
“We are ready to move on,” Mr Cassell said.
He said The Greens had wonderful policies and principles and people in the community wanted to vote Green.
“We want to make sure we have strong representation at the federal level,” Mr Cassell said.
A federal election date has yet to be announced.
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