The Western Research Institute congratulates Minsters appointed to key regional portfolios in the returned Morrison Government Cabinet.
Senator The Hon Bridget McKenzie's appointment as the first female minister for Agriculture and The Hon Mark Coulton, MP first appointment as Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government are significant new appointments for regional Australia.
Other regional Ministers in the Morrison cabinet include Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack returning as Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, The Hon David Littleproud as Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management and Senator Matthew Canavan as Minister for Resources and Northern Australia.
Member for Calare, Andrew Gee returns as Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Nola Marino as Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories and Senator Jonathan Dunian as Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries and Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism.
Senator McKenzie's appointment as the first female Minister for Agriculture reflects the growing participation of women in agriculture. Women working in Agriculture has grown in Australia to 32% since 2011 according ABARES.
According to the ABC Senator McKenzie is focused on practical policies and solutions for farmers suffering under drought conditions in Regional Australia. A seperate Drought portfolio under the leadership of Minister Littleproud will hopefully see a stronger focus on this key regional issue within the Morrison Government.
WRI welcomes this approach to responding to the Drought. In a Drought issues paper prepared for the CENTROC Drought Sub-committee WRI identified that improving drought preparedness and improved measures to assist communities suffering under current drought conditions were key priorities.
Member for Parkes, The Hon Mark Coulton's appointment to the Cabinet is also a plus for regional Australia, with regionally focused portfolios spread across more individual Ministers than before.
In an interview with the Moree Champion, Mr Coulton as Minister for Decentralisation hopes to 'support bringing more people and a diverse skillset into our regions'.
Cabinet ministers are due to be sworn in today, Wednesday 29 May, 2019.