Market access on new Minister's agenda

Jo FulwoodThe West Australian

Newly elected member for the New South Wales seat of New England Barnaby Joyce has been appointed Minister for Agriculture in the Coalition's new Cabinet.

Formerly a Queensland senator, Mr Joyce was appointed at the expense of John Cobb, who had held the shadow agricultural portfolio position since 2008.

Mr Joyce has also been elected deputy leader of the Nationals.

Well known for his outspoken views on foreign investment, Mr Joyce has been particularly vocal in recent times in opposing the sale of NSW grain company Graincorp to US giant Archer Daniels Midland.

Previously leader of the Nationals in the Senate, and opposition spokesperson for regional development, local government and water, Mr Joyce hails from a cattle and sheep property in the southern New England district.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck has been appointed parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Agriculture.

WAFarmers president Dale Park congratulated Mr Joyce and Mr Colbeck on their appointments.

"We look forward to building a constructive relationship with the new minister and parliamentary secretary and working together to ensure the future profitability and competitiveness of the industry," Mr Park said.

"Now that the ministry has been finalised, it is time to get on with the job of creating policy enabling the future viability and success of the sector, including establishing a foreign investment register, expanding market access for small exporters and investing in research and development.

"We expect the coalition government to follow through with the promises they took to the election, which were largely welcomed by the agricultural industry."

National Farmers' Federation president Duncan Fraser also welcomed the appointment, saying that re-prioritising Australian agriculture in the national agenda would continue to be the focus of the NFF.

"And this will continue to underpin all our work with the new Government, be it on policies affecting farmer productivity, profitability and access to markets, or the agricultural workforce and the natural resources on which our farmers rely," he said.

"Our immediate priorities are ensuring the Government's promised commitments to agriculture - including the pledge to cut red and green tape, invest $100 million in agricultural research, development and extension and reinstate native title funding - are enacted quickly, so that farmers can reap the benefits."

Other ministerial appointments include Nationals leader Warren Truss as Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development and Julie Bishop as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Ms Bishop is also the sole woman on the Coalition's frontbench.

Victorian MP Bruce Billson has been made Minster for Small Business.

The trade and investment portfolio, which has traditionally been held by a Nationals member under a Coalition Government, has been given to Liberal MP Andrew Robb.

The industry portfolio has gone to Queensland MP and former Grains Council of Australia president Ian MacFarlane.

Interestingly, Tony Abbott has abolished the science portfolio, which has been met with criticism by the scientific community.

The responsibility for science has been shared out between Mr MacFarlane's industry portfolio and the education portfolio, held by South Australian MP Christopher Pyne.

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