What Barnaby brings to trucking
THE new year welcomes in a new Federal Transport Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
The Nationals leader is now the third Federal Minister in the Turnbull Government to take over responsibility of the NHVR in as many years.
Yet with a mega task ahead of him in the road transport sector, he is anticipated to instead use his agricultural nous to place further focus on the proposed $8.4 billion inland rail project – an ongoing lose/lose thorn in the side for the Nationals.
One whose plans have many producers in southeast Queensland outraged yet left producers in western New South Wales disappointed about the inaction of the process.
Roads however aren’t completely off the priority list with the development of northern Australia expected to serve as a major drain on the portfolio with an anticipated $5 billion in NAIF loan investment expected.
While Transport is a relatively new portfolio for Mr Joyce, he played an integral part of the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal in 2016.
As Deputy Prime Minister, he led the charge alongside Turnbull to abolish the scheme.
The Member for New England again butted heads with transport unions in the 2016 election when he was campaigned against by the the Rail, Tram and Bus Union over his inaction on inland rail.
Following the December announcement, in a media statement on the switch, outgoing Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said serving in the position was an honour and a privilege.
“As the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, I’ve been very fortunate to be in a position to really have an impact on people’s lives,” Mr Chester said.
“In fact, that portfolio is the one I regard as the best portfolio in the Federal Parliament.
“It is a portfolio where you get to change people’s lives and save people’s lives, where you get to reduce congestion, improve productivity, and also reduce road trauma through our road safety initiatives.
“There’s a lot of projects in the Infrastructure and Transport portfolio that I would loved to have been part of the future of.”
TACKLING TRANSPORT: Barnaby Joyce in Rockhampton.