Federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce has the hopes of rural Australia resting on his shoulders, with Victoria’s peak farmer organisation optimistic a positive working relationship can continue under the new Nationals leader.
VFF president Peter Tuohey said the new Deputy Prime Minister has a connection to the rural sector that instills confidence in farming communities.
“Barnaby Joyce is a well-known advocate for the regional Australia, and I’m sure he will approach his new role as leader of the Nationals with the same enthusiasm he has shown in the past,” Mr Tuohey said.
“He understands the problems we face in rural areas, and I’m optimistic his passion will further a good working relationship between the VFF and the federal government.”
Mr Joyce ran unopposed in a leadership ballot held in Canberra last night, following the retirement of veteran parliamentarian and Member for Wide Bay, Warren Truss.
Mr Tuohey congratulated Mr Truss on his long service to public life, including his nine years spent as leader of the federal National Party and three years as Deputy Prime Minister.
“The VFF has had a constructive relationship with Warren Truss over the past few years in his role as infrastructure minister and I wish him well in his future endeavours,” Mr Tuohey said.
As well as Mr Joyce’s ascension to the Nationals leadership, the role of deputy has been filled by current Minister for Rural Health, Senator Fiona Nash.
“Likewise, I’m optimistic Fiona Nash will work with us in ensuring better living standards for our regional communities, and it’s refreshing to see new voices advocating on behalf of rural Australia,” Mr Tuohey said.