PROMOTED: Luke and Irene Hartsuyker with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on MondayTHE CALL from Malcolm Turnbull came at 2.20pm yesterday –and while not entirely unexpected, it was certainly very welcome.
“Malcolm rang and advised he wanted me back on thefront benchas the Assistant Minister to theDeputy PrimeMinisterand I was very pleased toaccept,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
Mr Hartsuyker said while his name had not necessarily been touted in recent days as one of the possibles for thenew cabinet, it was not a complete surprise.
“I have been aroundfor a long time and I have been on the front bench previously.”
Today (Tuesday) has been a busy one – with the swearing-in ceremony by the Governor General,Sir Peter Cosgrove, this morning followed by back-to-back briefings.
Mr Hartsuyker described his new role as “basically assisting the Deputy Prime Minister with his huge workload”.
“Wehave discussed various areas but we are still refining it and nothing has been decided as yet.
“My first priority is to deliver for the people of Cowper, as their elected representative in Canberra.
“There are a number of election commitments to fulfill as well as work that was previously committed and is in the pipeline.”
He went on to list the Kempsey Cinema, theupgrade of theJetty Foreshores in Coffs Harbour, theairport in Port Macquarieas well as closedcircuit television security in Kempsey, South West Rocks, Crescent Head and Coffs Harbour’s Park Beach Plaza.
“I want to get those things rolling –plus I want tokeep the pace up on the Pacific Highway upgrade and implement the Government’sRegional Jobs and Investment Plan.
“That plan comes with $200million of funding and I wouldlike to see businesses in Cowper taking advantage of that –I believe it can offer a great boost to the region.”
He highlighted the advantages that could flow frombeing close to the pulses oftheDeputyPrime Minister’sagriculture and water resources portfolios.
“There has been a resurgence in agriculturein Cowper and its importance for theregion –in that waymy role has local as well as national relevance.”
Asked about the excellent performance of The Nationals at the election, Mr Hartsuyker said theirs had always been a stable political party andtheir campaign focused on talking to people about issues that were specific to them.
“People appreciated that –we didn’t offer a scare campaign like Labor did, we offered a vision.”
Andas for any irony in the fact that he didn’t get a ministerialposition first time around with Barnaby Joyce at the helm and is now his assistant, Mr Hartsuyker said it was only a questionof numbers.
“By virtue of winning more seats, theNational Party earned more seats at the ministerial table.”
He wouldnot be drawn on the possibility of a future ‘celebrity’challenge by Independent Rob Oakeshott, except to say that “any individual can decide to run …my job is to deliver for the people of Cowper”.
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