Mr RAMSEY (Grey–Government Whip) (13:53): I rise today to give support to the work of the Regional Ministerial Taskforce, announced by the Prime Minister to promote jobs and growth in our rural, regional and remote areas. Rural, regional and remote Australia is different to where most Australians live, the city, and we need a different policy emphasis to ensure we achieve our best for us and for the nation.
I welcome the expertise of the committee: with the Prime Minister as chair, Senator Fiona Nash as the deputy chair and a membership consisting of experienced ministers from the portfolios most relevant to regional Australia. I am looking forward to feeding information into the taskforce on the issues that I understand the best-the issues that concern rural, regional and remote Australia.
In my electorate of Grey, population growth is low. People are moving out of country towns and starting new lives in places where they believe more opportunities are at hand. Local economies are struggling. Young doctors, lawyers and teachers are uninterested in resettling in rural and regional areas. Small businesses are reluctant at times to take the risk on a small town.
It is clear to me that the issues that rural, regional and remote areas face are quite different to those for the rest of this nation. It is time to get serious about this sector of our population, and I believe the taskforce will be a positive and effective way for the Turnbull government to come up with realistic means to closing the gap between the city and the bush.