Nash: real synergies for regional development and agriculture

19 Feb, 2016 04:00 AM
Regional Development, Health and Communications Minister Fiona Nash
Regional Development, Health and Communications Minister Fiona Nash

NEW Regional Development, Health and Communications Minister Fiona Nash won’t forget her agricultural roots after a major promotion in last week’s ministry reshuffle and being appointed National Party deputy leader on merit rather than gender tokenism.

“I don’t see that I’ll ever stop being a champion for agriculture; particularly around the new area of regional development,” she said.

“I believe there are some real synergies between regional development and agriculture, as indeed there is in communications.

“We’ve seen a whole suite of things out in rural and regional areas where you can’t put these issues into separate silos because they do cross-over.”

Senator Nash said she was “very humbled” to be chosen by her party colleagues to be National Party deputy leader and the first female leader in its 95-year history.

“It’s an enormous honour and one that I take the responsibility very, very seriously,” she said.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to work not only in rural health but in regional development and communications which are very, very important for people out in our regional communities.”

Senator Nash said while Education and Training Minister and SA Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham was doing “an extremely good job”, the Nationals would maintain a regional education policy focus; especially working to overcome barriers facing young students.

Rural Doctors Association of Australia President Dr Ewen McPhee welcomed the decision to align the three closely interconnected portfolios, under the one minister, saying they were “each important to the other”.

"By putting each of these portfolios under the same minister, we expect to see a synergy in policy-making across all three sectors,” he said.

Colin Bettles

Colin Bettles

is the national political writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media


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