WESTERN Australian rural Liberal MP and passionate dairy farmer Nola Marino has been reappointed as chief government whip in the returned Coalition government.
Mr Marino faced a bitter pre-selection contest in her seat of Forest at this year’s election but eventually overcame the challenge to win, despite enduring a 1.25 per cent swing against her safe lead which now sits at about 12.5pc.
Ms Marino first won the electorate that includes the city of Bunbury at the 2007 federal election and is also co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Primary Producers where she’s highlighted farming viability and food production issues.
Mr Marino said having worked as a deputy whip for some years before being appointed to the top job in September last year, she was looking forward to continuing to work closely with her colleagues in the role.
“The re-elected Coalition government has outlined our plan to take Australia into the future and I will be working hard to ensure that the south west and the Forrest electorate share in that future” she said.
“I will continue to support the government and individual members of parliament as the chief government whip - however my primary purpose remains to serve the people and communities in the Forrest electorate.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was pleased to announce Mr Marino’s re-appointment, saying she would continue to perform the vitally important role with great skill.
He said Ms Marino was held in the highest esteem by her colleagues and he greatly valued her counsel and support.
“The full House whips team will be announced when there is clarity about the result in the seat of Herbert,” he said.
“I also thank Brett Whiteley for his service as Government Whip.”
In a speech during the last parliament in early 2014, Ms Marino gave a glimpse of her strong views on agriculture’s social and economic importance and dairy farming heritage while warning about milk pricing issues.
“I have repeatedly said that in my opinion many Australians take our locally grown amazing quality food for granted,” she said.
“Western Australia's dairy industry is a prime example of this.
“It is an efficient producer of high-quality milk sold to both the local and South-East Asian markets.
“Farmers in my part of the world milk all year round, every day of the year.
“WA's dairy industry is relatively small in size but it is highly reputed for its innovation and high-quality products.
Ms Marino said her son and husband worked on the farm and her father was the very first milk carter for Brownes' factory in Brunswick Junction in 1942.
“The factory has grown and developed over the years, changing ownership several times but it is still processing locally produced milk,” she said.
“So many communities in the south-west have historic links to the dairy industry and what is also often underestimated and undervalued is the fact that dairy industries in so many communities right around Australia actually underpinned local economies and local communities.”
Ms Marino said she was, at the time, concerned about the price of milk, the cost of production and keeping young farmers in the industry for the future.
“Western Australia it is an industry that has had huge challenges and it still faces significant challenges,” she said.
“We have seen hundreds of farmers exit the industry and in my view that is a massive loss.
“One of the greatest losses is the intellectual property that went, perhaps, not only with the senior farmer but the young farmer who has had to go on to do other things.
“We have lost the experience and the investment and, often, that critical next generation to learn and hone their craft - because it is a craft - as part of a family business.”