New agriculture minister Bridget McKenzie named

By Country News

New agriculture minister Bridget McKenzie has been urged to take action to support the dairy industry.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Senator McKenzie’s appointment at the weekend, only a few days after she was confirmed as deputy leader of the federal parliamentary National Party.

She becomes Australia’s first female agriculture minister.

NSW dairy lobby group Dairy Connect urged Senator McKenzie to ‘‘hit the ground running’’.

‘‘First item on our agenda for action will be the urgent need to appoint a federal dairy commissioner to fast-track solutions to the myriad market challenges facing dairy production in Australia,’’ Shaughn Morgan said.

‘‘Australian dairy is in crisis and now is the time for action. The time for reviews and inquiries is over.

‘‘The crisis is due to the on-going impacts of drought; dairy herds being culled; skyrocketing energy prices; higher production costs; unconscionable milk supply agreements; and market failure.

‘‘The proposed new Mandatory Code of Conduct for the dairy industry is not due to kick in until 1st July next year. Its commencement date should be moved forward.’’

Meanwhile, Member for Farrer Sussan Ley has been appointed environment minister and former agriculture minister David Littleproud will retain the water ministry.

It’s a return to Cabinet for Ms Ley who was in 2017 forced to stand down as health minister after revelations she purchased a Gold Coast apartment while on a work trip.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was confirmed as Nationals leader at a partyroom meeting in Canberra on Thursday.

The government’s upset win erased any lingering leadership tensions, with Barnaby Joyce’s hopes of returning in tatters.