On Sunday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared victory in the 2016 federal election following Labor Leader Bill Shorten conceding defeat.
For the Nationals, this means the time has come to negotiate a new Coalition Agreement with the Liberal Party. Negotiations for this Agreement will take place between the Leader of the Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce and Prime Minister Turnbull.
The Coalition Agreement is a critical document for rural and regional Australians, setting out the Nationals’ agenda as part of the re-elected Turnbull-Joyce Government.
I am confident that we will secure an Agreement that demonstrates a good deal for rural and regional Australia: focusing on the re-elected Coalition Government continuing to deliver for local families, businesses and communities.
The Agreement is set to encompass a broad range of key policy issues ensuring there is no confusion as to the Coalition Government’s priorities for rural and regional Australia.
I anticipate that the iconic Inland Rail project will be included in the Agreement with further planning for this project set to continue over the coming years.
I also foresee the Nationals maintaining responsibility for water policy outcomes with the Murray Darling Basin Authority. Implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan is an issue that has been affecting farmers and communities right across my electorate for years. We need to ensure that the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan will be resolved in an efficient and effective manner and consider the issues across the entire basin.
It is likely the Agreement will also include communications policy matters such as ongoing funding for communications technology like the mobile phone and television reception black spot programs.
Negotiations for the Agreement will also cover the very important issue of Cabinet appointments. With an increased representation across the Coalition, it is expected that an additional Cabinet position will be allocated to a Nationals’ Minister which is a tremendous advantage for rural and regional Australia.
Once the ministry and Coalition Agreements are in place, I can begin discussions with relevant Ministers about planning for the integrated Cancer Centre to be located at Dubbo Hospital.
I will also be arranging meetings with Deputy Premier of NSW, Troy Grant and other stakeholders to ensure that planning for this centre begins as soon as possible.