THE retirement of veteran Nationals Member for Mallee John Forrest has thrown the doors open for potential candidates to stand for the safe conservative seat.
Mr Forrest announced on Wednesday he would retire at the federal election in September. He has spent 20 years in the House of Representatives.
Buloke Shire Mayor and Nationals member Reid Mather said he would seek pre-selection.
He estimated up to 10 Nationals members might be interested, not to mention the possibility of Independent and Liberal Party candidates.
Cr Mather said he would give up council and his Culgoa farm if he became Member for Mallee, because it would be a full-time job.
He is in his sixth mayoral term and has been a Nationals member for several years, holding board and state councillor positions.
"I have a lot to offer the Mallee," he said.
"I understand the challenges that people have here.
" There are some basic right-of-access issues with education and transport.
"The job will not be easy, because it is a very large electorate, there are sittings in Canberra and we must help people as much as we can. I think I'm tough enough to take up the fight."
Cr Mather is also involved with the Country Fire Authority and GWMWater.
He said it would be a big honour to represent the Mallee, but the Coalition winning government at the coming election was not guaranteed.
Farmer and Nationals member Andrew Broad, who has properties at Bridgewater and Mildura, will also seek pre-selection. He has been a Nationals member for eight years, like others in his family.
Mr Broad was the youngest Victorian Farmers Federation president from 2009 to 2012. He bought his first farm when he was 22.
Mr Broad is a Nuffield Australia Farming scholar and has represented Australia at Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forums.
He said he would finish with the farmers federation and probably lease his farm if he became Member for Mallee.
"Australians are immensely proud of their country, but we are not really proud of our government at the moment," he said.
"I want to restore a government that Australia is proud of and gain recognition for the wonderful economic contribution which Wimmera-Mallee people make to this country.
"This contribution is substantial; not just in agriculture but also in areas such as mineral sands, transport and processing.
"This needs to be recognised in the form of good health facilities, good education, good community infrastructure and good transport infrastructure."