I am delighted by my reappointment to the Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry portfolio and by my new and additional responsibilities as Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Australia.
I would also like to welcome Lisa Chesters to her new role as Shadow Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Australia and look forward to working with her.
The opportunities in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors are vast and will need a cohesive sustainable long term plan to fully capitalise on them.
Sadly, despite my offer for a bi-partisan approach to our food and fibre sectors three years ago, Barnaby Joyce remains locked in his populist approach which has done no more than perpetuate low profitability, flat-line productivity, and contribute to a shrinking global market share.
Labor will continue to offer a higher-value path to higher and sustainable profitability for agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.
Further, the Turnbull Government has ignored our rural and regional communities. Cuts to health and education have hit rural communities hardest and Malcolm Turnbull's second-rate NBN has been a great disappointment to everyone keen to address regional disadvantage.
The establishment of Regional Development Australia and the Regional Australia Institute remain great Labor initiatives designed to encourage local decision making based on sound research. Labor will continue to build on its record on regional development policy and remains committed to adequately funding the infrastructure needs of rural and regional communities.
I thank Bill Shorten for the opportunity to lead Labor's work in our rural and regional economies, work which will be supported by a number of other Shadow Ministerial colleagues who have responsibility for many of the issues important to those living outside our capital cities.