Growing up on a small cattle property on the outskirts of Mudgee in the central west of NSW gave David a passion for the cattle industry which never left him.
In 1988 David set up the first law practice in Cooktown since his predecessor shut up shop in 1935. In the late 90's, David part-owned and managed a Cape York cattle station which gave him great insight into the challenges of the industry in the north. During this time he was an active member of the cape branch of the Cattleman’s Union and he has been serving his community in some capacity ever since.
From 2012 to 2015 David was elected as the Member for Cook and subsequently appointed Assistant Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in the Newman cabinet. During his tenure as Assistant Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, David was heavily involved in the debate over vegetation management laws, access to water, and tenure reform. He was also responsible for the introduction of legislation that provided freehold home ownership for indigenous people.
After leaving politics, David rejoined Preston Law and now provides expert strategic advice to landholders all over the State.
David has the expertise to find solutions through legal, political, and public processes to resolve many issues facing farmers including:
- EPBC Act referrals
- Vegetation management appeals and prosecutions
- Lease renewals and conversion to freehold
- Native title disputes
- Water allocations
David has lived, worked and travelled throughout Cape York and the Far North for over a quarter of a century and has been a keen advocate for the property rights of landholders State wide. He has been involved in the native title process since the Mabo decision and was involved in the long struggle over the WIK claim on behalf of pastoralists where a settlement was negotiated in 2004.