Truss promises to take Wide Bay issues to the top
THE new Abbott Government, including Wide Bay's Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, officially got down to business yesterday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott emerged from his own swearing-in to announce Mr Truss as the first MP to join his new Cabinet.
The promotion to the second-highest political office in the country represents the pinnacle of Mr Truss's public life.
Mr Truss also was named Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, a portfolio which will effectively include his former shadow portfolio of infrastructure and transport.
At 64 he became the oldest member of Mr Abbott's new 42-person Cabinet, including assistant ministers and parliamentary secretaries.
Mr Truss has been parliamentary leader of the Nationals since 2007 and was returned to that position, with new MP Barnaby Joyce his deputy, after a successful transition from the Senate.
Mr Truss's new role follows his leadership of the Nationals to its best election victory in a decade, with the party picking up at least three new seats in federal parliament.
In a quick transition to power, Mr Truss has announced plans to strengthen Australia's livestock exports, including rebuilding the live export trade with Indonesia.
He described this as a leading priority for the new government.
In good news for Wide Bay and other often forgotten regional electorates, Mr Truss said his party's first aim would be to ensure regional Australians got their fair share of funding for infrastructure projects, including regional schools, hospitals and other health facilities.
And he told The Gympie Times a high priority regional infrastructure project would be the Cooroy-to-Curra Bruce Hwy upgrade.
"Regional Australia is a big part of the solution and if we have strong regions, we have a strong nation," he told Queensland Country Life.
Mr Abbott promised a "problem-solving government based on values, not ideology".
This would include "people who didn't vote for us".
"We won't forget those who are often marginalised; people with disabilities, indigenous people and women struggling to combine career and family."
Mr Abbott promised to repeal the carbon tax and end the issue of permanent protection visas to illegal boat arrivals.