Nationals deputy leader Barnaby Joyce has been confirmed as Australia’s new minister for agriculture in Tony Abbott’s cabinet announced this afternoon, ABC reports.
The announcement will pave the way for Mr. Abbott to be sworn in as prime minister along with the new government.
Former Queensland Senator Barnaby Joyce is an outspoken critic of foreign investment in cases such as the proposed GrainCorp takeover and Indonesia’s plans to buy a million hectares of grazing land in the Top End. Abbott said he was very confident Barnaby Joyce would do a really outstanding job.
Mr. Joyce’s appointment to the agriculture portfolio will see current opposition spokesman John Cobb dropped to the outer ministry. Mr. Abbott said Cobb who had served as his shadow minister for agriculture in opposition was a casualty of legislative restrictions on the numbers he could appoint to senior positions.
“He did not miss out because he did a poor job; he did good and performed strongly.”
The agriculture portfolio will include responsibility for fishing and forestry.
Assisting Mr. Joyce as the parliamentary secretary for agriculture is Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck, who takes over the role from another north-west coast Tasmanian, Labor’s Sid Sidebottom, who lost his seat on September 7.
“He knows the country just like the back of his hand. While he had not been a farmer all his life, he certainly has strong farming experience and a strong farming background,” said Abbott.
Other notable appointments for rural and regional Australia include the appointment of Warren Entsch as chair of a new parliamentary committee for northern development and Jamie Briggs as assistant minister for infrastructure and regional development.
Andrew Robb will be tasked with driving a new wave of investment in Australian manufacturing, resources and agriculture in a revamped portfolio of trade and investment that according to Abbott, had suffered a disappointing lack of progress under the previous Labor Government.
Ian Macfarlane will be given the additional responsibility for industry in Tony Abbott’s first ministry.
According to The Australian, the creation of the beefed-up trade and investment portfolio will be a key plank of Coalition plans to reboot the mining boom, and drive new growth in manufacturing and research.
In another report, Mr. Abbott told a press conference in Canberra his new ministry was one of the most experienced incoming ministries in Australia’s history.
“Our task is to purposefully, methodically and calmly implement the commitments from the election campaign and to respond intelligently to the challenges of the day.
“There is enormous stability in this team,” he said.
The new ministry will be sworn in on Wednesday.