Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton has been named as the Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government. Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the new cabinet on Sunday afternoon.
Mr Coulton, who will also remain as Assistant Trade and Investment Minister, said he was deeply honoured to have been appointed this new ministerial role. “I thank the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack for asking me to undertake these important roles.
“As Member for Parkes, which covers half of New South Wales, I have worked hard to improve digital connectivity, and to bring more doctors to our rural and regional communities. As Minister for Regional Services, I will now be in a position to make even more of a difference to people’s lives in rural and regional areas, which is a great privilege.
“Decentralisation is a significant part of what helps regions to thrive. I have long supported bringing more people and a diverse skillset into our regions, and as such I look forward to this area of responsibility.
“Having been Mayor of Gwydir Shire Council prior to first being elected to the Australian Parliament more than 11 years ago, Local Government is close to my heart. As Member for Parkes, I have enjoyed working closely with local councils across my electorate, of which there are now 18.”
Mr. Coulton said his key Ministerial priorities are:
- Building on the Coalition Government’s successful Mobile Black Spot Program to improve regional connectivity;
- Improving the rollout of the NBN across Australia;
- Bringing more doctors and medical professionals to rural and regional areas.
Mr. coulton said he is looking forward to “getting straight to work” in his new portfolio, and will be officially sworn in today, Wednesday. Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, remains on the back bench. The role of Drought Envoy, to which he was appointed last year, has been discontinued, and the former Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, is now the Minister for Water and Drought.
The new Minister for Agriculture is Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Senator Bridget McKenzie.