Barnett appoints new Agriculture Minister

Barnett appoints new Agriculture Minister


Agribusiness
New Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis (left) with Premier Colin Barnett.

New Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis (left) with Premier Colin Barnett.

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WA Premier Colin Barnett has announced Agricultural scientist and Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Mark Lewis as the new Agriculture and Food Minister.

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WA Premier Colin Barnett has announced agricultural scientist and Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Mark Lewis as the new Agriculture and Food Minister.

Former Agriculture Minister Dean Nalder resigned from Cabinet last week, in protest to Mr Barnett's leadership.

A failed spill for the leadership left the position vacant.

Mr Lewis, who was raised on a cattle property in Queensland, will be the third minister of the portfolio this term.

He studied animal production and health at Queensland University and worked for the Veterinary Services Branch within the Department of Primary Industries, mainly in the channel country and north Queensland.

Mr Lewis worked within the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, including the role of Program and Regional manager, director, and manager of Policy and Industry Development in the Rangelands.

He has also been involved on a number of government committees and boards including the Pastoral Lands Board, Rural Adjustment and Finance Corporation, a range of ministerial taskforces and appointments, and a number of State and region-wide natural resource management committees.

Mr Barnett said the sector was among a number of industries critical to the broadening of the Western Australian economy.

He said appointing a dedicated Minister to the portfolio would ensure the sector was given Mr Lewis' full attention in progressing key policies, including upgrading the Doppler tower network and launching the WA Biosecurity Strategy.

"Before entering State Parliament in 2013, Mark was involved in developing irrigated agricultural opportunities and also held management positions within the Department of Agriculture and Food in a region which covered the extent of his current electorate," Mr Barnett said.

"Mark was raised on farming, cattle and sheep properties in Queensland and will bring to the portfolio a vast knowledge about the agricultural sector and the challenges it faces."

See next weeks Farm Weekly for more.

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