HE’s visited Orange several times before in his capacity as a finance, transport, police minister and deputy premier, and now John Watkins is returning.
Mr Watkins was announced yesterday by Orange’s Australia Day committee as the 2013 Australia Day Ambassador.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be getting someone of the calibre of John Watkins as our ambassador,” said chair of Orange’s Australia Day committee, Helen Corby.
“I am sure he will bring plenty of visitors to the park for our celebrations,” she said.
Mr Watkins holds a Bachelor of Laws degree, a Master of Arts degree and a Diploma of Education and prior to entering politics was a teacher at the prestigious St Joseph’s College at Hunters Hill.
He was Minister for Police in NSW from 2003 to 2007 during the time Orange was under pressure from the NSW Police Association for a new police station for the city.
He has also held the portfolios of Minister for Education and Minister for Fair Trading.
He was appointed as Deputy Premier of this state in August 2005 under Premier Morris Iemma following the resignation of Andrew Refshauge.
Mrs Corby said the organising committee for Orange’s celebration was encouraged by the strong level of entries this year compared to the last few years.
“We have at least six entries in every category,” she said.
Mrs Corby said the committee was liaising with council to find an alternative site in the event of wet weather during next year’s celebrations on January 26.