RECENTLY re-elected New England MP Barnaby Joyce say he’s looking forward to getting back to his agriculture portfolio.
Just hours after the result of the by-election was official declared on Wednesday, Mr Joyce was sworn in, once again, as Agriculture and Water Minister.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to work,” Mr Joyce told Country Leader.
“Obviously a lot of people are looking forward to me coming back as well, because my phone has been running red hot.
“It’s a bit like going back to boarding school after a break. In a funny way it feels a little bit foreign, but I’m sure that will dissipate very quickly.”
Mr Joyce says there were a number of agricultural issues “literally waiting on my desk”.
“First one on the agenda is further access for chickpeas and protein grains into India,” he said.
“We’ve also got to make sure we keep access to the beef markets of China open.”
First one on the agenda is further access for chickpeas and protein grains into India.Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took over control of the agriculture portfolio while Mr Joyce was campaigning to win back his seat.
Mr Turnbull said he was glad to hand the ministry back to Mr Joyce.
“I've been getting plenty of tips from Barnaby,” Mr Turnbull said.
“I am very, very much looking forward to having him back on board – it’s so important to the government and it's so important to the people of Australia.”
The National Farmers Federation (NFF) president Fiona Simson said Mr Joyce’s return ended a period of uncertainty.
“The farm sector certainly appreciated Prime Minister Turnbull assuming ‘caretaker’ responsibility for agriculture and water resources, however, we are pleased to have the portfolio under more permanent management,” Ms Simson said.
Ms Simson said the NFF looked forward to again working with Mr Joyce to advance Australian agriculture.
“As he declared at the beginning of the year, the farm sector is currently basking in a golden era,” she said.