Premier a proud farm lad – Rural sector hopes for new focus

TASMANIA’S agricultural sector has a new minister with northern Liberal MLC Jo Palmer elevated to Cabinet this week.

Mrs Palmer is the latest to join the ministry after a Cabinet shakeup brought about by the departure of Peter Gutwein as premier and election of Jeremy Rockliff to the role.

Mr Rockliff is already well known in farming circles, having grown up and worked the family farm at Sassafras in the North West.

Mrs Palmer has a background in television reporting and presenting and was elected to the the Upper House seat of Rosevears in August 2020.

She replaces Guy Barnett, who has been handed responsibility for State Development, Construction and Housing.

Mrs Palmer said she was preparing to swap her high heels for boots and was more than ready for the challenge that lay ahead.

“I didn’t put my hand up to join Parliament to take a back seat and I am excited, energised,” she said.
“As Minister for Primary Industries and Water I look forward to continuing the important work of Guy Barnett, which includes record investments into our sustainable primary industries. This sector is booming and leading the nation, which in turn is driving regional communities and building a future for Tasmanians by creating jobs.”

Mr Rockliff said his vision was for Tasmania to be a place where everyone felt valued, included and encouraged and supported to be the best they can possibly be.

Widely regarded as a “nice bloke” Mr Rockliff said he was not afraid to make the hard decisions that would be necessary as Premier.

“I have survived 20 years in politics. “I don’t use two words when one will do, I am pretty upfront and I actually get excited by making tough decisions because when you make them you are doing it for the right reasons.
“I am no stranger to hard work.”

The Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Association has welcomed the appointments.

TFGA acting CEO Marcus McShane said it was a crucial time for agriculture in Tasmania with farmers facing many challenges such as the labour shortage and significant increases in costs.