Bridget McKenzie Australia’s new ag minister

Beef Central, 27/05/2019


NATIONALS Deputy Leader and Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie has been appointed as the Minister for Agriculture in the 46th Parliament, becoming the first female to hold the portfolio in the Commonwealth’s history.

Former Agriculture Minister David Littleproud will retain the Water Resources portfolio and has also assumed responsibility for Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management.

The National Farmers Federation today thanked Mr Littleproud the “committed, passionate and pragmatic way in which he advanced the interests of farmers”.

“Under Minister Littleproud’s leadership, bipartisan support for the Murray Darling Basin Plan prevailed, $1 per litre milk came to an end and significant improvements were made to the regulations governing the export of live sheep to the Middle east,” NFF president Fiona Simson said.

The NFF greeted Senator McKenzie’s appointment to the agriculture portfolio, describing her as a long-time vocal and effective advocate for regional and rural Australia.

“Women remain underrepresented in leadership roles in our industry. The significance of having a female in agriculture’s top job can’t be overstated,” Mr Simson said.

Ms Simson said the NFF had worked closely and successfully with Senator McKenzie in her former roles as Minister for Regional Telecommunications and Rural Health.

“Senator McKenzie has an in-depth understanding of the challenges, and also the phenomenal opportunities, before our regions and the policies and investments agriculture needs to reach its potential.

“We welcome Senator McKenzie’s support for industry’s goal to be a $100 billion industry by 2030.”

Ms Simson said the agricltural sector also welcomed the re-appointment of Simon Birmingham as Trade Minister.

“There is much to be done in this important area, including the ratification of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Agreement and the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the progression of preferential trade agreements with the European Union and United Kingdom,” she said.

Ms Simson congratulated Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack on retaining the Regional Development and Transport Ministry; Angus Taylor on his re-appointment as Energy Minister; Mark Coulton for taking on Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government and Sussan Ley for her appointment to the Environment portfolio.

Ms Simson said the newly-elected Liberal-National Coalition Government had demonstrated the importance they placed on agriculture when, days after being re-elected, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his deputy and Nationals Leader, Michael McCormack visited north west Queensland, where hundreds of thousands of cattle perished in a devastating flood event during February.

“Prime Minister Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister McCormack continue to be there for our farmers during tough times,” Ms Simson said.

“By endorsing our vision for agriculture to be a $100 billion industry by 2030, the Coalition Government has also shown its commitment to agriculture’s future success and prosperity.”

Three macs at RMAC: Susan McDonald (Nationals Senator), Bridget McKenzie (Agriculture Minister) and Don Mackay (RMAC chair).

Red Meat Advisory Council independent chair Don Mackay said the new Cabinet and outer Ministry was “a commitment to experience, stability and the vital role of food production”.

“We congratulate Senator Bridget McKenzie on her appointment as Minister for Agriculture; and look forward to working with her to advance the interests of Australia’s 82,500 butchers, manufacturers, livestock exporters, feedlotters and beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat producers that support 438,000 jobs nationwide and $15 billion in export earnings back to Australia’s economy.”

“Minister McKenzie has long been a passionate advocate for our food producers, Australia’s regions, public health, active living and nutrition; and her professionalism and competency in dealing with our industry and our issues is warmly welcomed.”

“Our priorities are to improve the cost to operate and affordability for red meat businesses, ensure our industry is recognised for our sustainability credentials through the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework, work with government to improve the welfare of livestock and continue to pioneer two way trade and investment for our sector through securing key trade agreements such as the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.”

Mr Mackay also congratulated other key Ministers that are fundamental to a prosperous red meat industry.

“The reality is that in order for our industry to maintain our current share of global food exports, we will need $109 billion in investment by 2025.[1] This will require a whole-of-government outlook and policy agenda simply to maintain the status quo and our competitive advantage.”

“We welcome Minister Birmingham back to the critical role of Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment which is so important for our 70 per cent export-oriented trade, Minister for Energy and Climate Emissions Angus Taylor, Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley, Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry Karen Andrews and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in the critical supply chain portfolio of Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development.”

“We must ensure that Australia red meat gets the recognition and support it needs by the Federal Government from on farm, to feedlot, livestock export depots, in processing facilities and in our retail and food service centres and will be seeking to work closely with Minister McKenzie and the broader Cabinet on this.”

Mr Mackay thanked outgoing Ministers, particularly the contribution of Member for Maranoa and former Minister for Agriculture the Hon David Littleproud.

“We thank Minister Littleproud for his collaboration in his time in the Agriculture and Water Resources portfolio. We are pleased his service to Australia’s regions will continue with his new portfolios which includes Water Resources, Drought and Rural Finance.”

Sources: NFF, RMAC


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  1. Sue Grant, 28/05/2019

    This is her Margaret Thatcher moment. Will she have the courage to shake the tree, deregulate and reform or will she just be another political hack and muddle on with the broken system of ham fisted regulations that have been imposed on farmers by her party? There will be many vested interests conspiring against her. Firstly she should ignore any “advice” from her department and instead set a goal of reducing it’s headcount by 75% by the next election. She should also admit that farmers are being bled white by levies and idiotic regulation and stop the rort. The world could be her oyster.

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