Coulton gets down to business

February 21, 2008

New Member for Parkes and former Gwydir Shire Mayor, Mark Coulton, was sworn into Parliament last Tuesday, and made his Maiden Speech last Monday night.

Excerpts from Mr. Coulton’s Maiden Speech
"Almost a week has passed since I took my seat in this House, and the learning curve has been steep," Mr. Coulton told the Parliament. "So far the highlight has been the first speeches of my fellow members of the class of 2007. I feel very humble to be part of such a diverse and talented group of people. I am honoured to have been elected as one of Australia’s decision makers, but regret that most Australian people aren’t encouraged to understand our Westminster system of Parliament.

" I believe that the presidential style of today’s politics does this country no favours. There is often greater importance placed on fluffy symbolism and thirty-second news grabs than on the hard work of the 150 men and women who sit in this House. We are all products of our upbringing, environments and experiences, but regardless of where we sit in this House, we have all come here with the best of intentions.

"Apart from the six enjoyable years I spent boarding at Farrer Agricultural High School in Tamworth, I have lived in the Warialda and Gravesend districts all my life.

"My family have been involved in farming for generations and for as long as I could remember I had wanted to be a farmer. Indeed, I was ten years old when I did my first full day of tractor driving. "I was raised to appreciate the value of hard work and the benefits of helping each other, not just within our family but within our community."

Mr. Coulton paid tribute to his family, including father Jack and his late mother, Nancy, siblings and children, some of whom were in the gallery to watch the speech.

"There have been two defining events in my life and the New South Wales Government has been responsible for both of them. The first was when they ignored the request of Robyn Redford, a young teacher from Western Sydney, to be sent to the South Coast of New South Wales and assigned her instead to the small primary school near my family’s farm at Gravesend. Robyn and I were married twenty six and half years ago. Her intelligence, support, loyalty and her tremendous capacity for hard work has been my inspiration. The high standards that she sets for herself as a wife, mother, teacher and political campaigner is the main reason I am here today.

Gwydir Council achievements
"The second defining moment that changed the course of my life was when the New South Wales Government decided to structurally reform local government in 2003. The reform process led to the creation of the Gwydir Shire Council. This council covers nearly 10,000 square kilometres, has a population of 6,000 and includes three former local government areas.

"Despite having no former experience in local government I found myself the inaugural Mayor of Gwydir Shire in September 2004. Up until this point in my life I’d believed my future lay in agriculture. My involvement with Gwydir Shire Council took me in a new direction.

"Contrary to the dire predictions of many, Gwydir Shire Council has been an amazing success. In its first year it was awarded the A R Bluett Memorial Award for excellence in local government.

"The following year it received the New South Wales Training Initiative Award as a partner in the Gwydir Learning Region. In four years the value of real estate has risen from a very low base to being identified as one of the top performing regions for investment in New South Wales."

More excerpts from Mr. Coulton’s Maiden Speech will be included in next week’s Advocate.

Compliments of The Bingara Advocate