Grylls' Pilbara bid 'risky and strange': Barnett

28 Feb, 2012 02:00 PM

PREMIER Colin Barnett has urged Nationals leader Brendon Grylls to reconsider his plans to run for the Pilbara in the next election, warning it is "risky and a bit strange."

Mr Barnett said Mr Grylls would risk defeat if he quit his safe Central Wheatbelt seat to run in the Pilbara, and urged him to "take a cold shower" and reconsider.

"I think it's a risky strategy, and I say that because Brendan is an outstanding minister and I'd hate to lose him from the cabinet," he told ABC Radio Perth.

"I find it high risk and a bit strange."

The Pilbara seat is to be vacated by retiring Labor MP Tom Stephens. Mr Grylls is yet to formally announce his intentions for the March 2013 election.

Mr Barnett said he hadn't spoken to Mr Grylls about the plan, and would support him whatever he decided.

But he was sceptical whether voters in the electorate would be able to clearly distinguish between the Liberal and National parties.

"My advice would be stay in the Wheatbelt. It could go any way, whichever way, there is no certainty up there," he said.

"The Liberal Party will have a candidate, hopefully a very strong candidate, so it will be a three-cornered contest, if Brendan decides to do that."

"My encouragement to Brendan is go and have a cold shower."

As Regional Development Minister, Mr Grylls is a regular visitor to the Pilbara and has announced millions of dollars in funding for the region as part of the Royalties for Regions program.



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