Political move no pie in sky

Peter de KruijffThe West Australian

One year on since his shock exit from the State Government Cabinet, the man lauded as the architect of the Royalties for Regions fund that redirects up to $1 billion a year to the State's regions is contemplating his future in politics.

Former WA Nationals leader-turned-backbencher Brendon Grylls said he was "refreshed" since he stepped down from the front bench in November 2013 and moved to Karratha.

His reduced schedule now allows for regular fishing trips with his three sons out to Cleaverville late in the afternoon after work.

The mellowed-out Member for the Pilbara said he would no longer flatly rule out a tilt at Federal politics.

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"I don't think you've seen the last of my role in the public life, and there's another cycle to come yet … I spend all my time now thinking what's the next version of RFR," he said.

"I'll have to make a decision shortly about whether I'll contest this seat (Pilbara) again, and there's a Federal election coming up in 2016."

Nationals leader Terry Redman said Mr Grylls was a natural politician and if he were to run for a Federal seat he thought he would get a good response.

"He's demonstrated emphatically he'd stand up for the people represented, " he said.

"Where WA sits in the national game, that's what WA needs right now. You can't ever underestimate the capacity of Brendon and his skills of leadership and his skills to bring the message to the people."

For the moment, Mr Grylls said he was resolved to enact the Pilbara Cities initiative, which aims for cities of 50,000 in Karratha and Port Hedland by 2050.

"Karratha is doing really well, Hedland is really tough, and I'm not prepared to concede Hedland," he said.

"I'm determined we're going to develop the Spoil Bank, that we're going to get an apartment development on the old (Port Hedland) hospital site.

"(Development in the Pilbara is) difficult in a declining property market.

"The investment market has softened but I think it's the right time to be building."

Mr Grylls' thirst for a challenge has been a hallmark of his 13-year career in politics, which started when he answered an advertisement in his local newspaper looking for Nationals candidates.

As a 28-year-old, Mr Grylls was running a farm and bakery in his home town of Corrigin when he decided to put his hand up for pre-selection in the 2001 by-election to replace Hendy Cowan in the seat of Merredin.

The Nationals took the balance of power in 2008 under Mr Grylls' leadership and implemented the Royalties for Regions policy after tough negotiations with the Liberals.

To follow it up, Mr Grylls ran for the traditionally Labor-held Pilbara seat in the 2013 State election.

"If you're a politician worth your salt, you try to find the big fight and engage yourself in it," he said.

"To me the biggest challenge was here (in the Pilbara).

"I'm a risk-taker … and I'll put it all on the table for the big win.

"Too many people in life do nothing because they don't want to make a mistake."

Mr Grylls said he did not shy away from criticism.

"The Pilbara Underground Power Project rally (in Karratha) was an important day for me, to say I'll cop the brickbats as well as the bouquets, " he said.

Coming into 2015, the Pilbara still has many issues for the local member to address.

This year he will move amendments to the Heritage Act to better reflect the will of the Pilbara's traditional owners.

The closure of remote communities in the North West is also on the agenda and Mr Grylls said he hoped Royalties for Regions could be used in this complex area.

However, 2015 will also be the year he makes a decision about his future in State or Federal politics.

If neither paths work out, Mr Grylls, who once ran a flour mill in Corrigin, said he was an excellent pie-maker and could still bake a loaf of bread if required.

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