Lobby groups keen to work with new Nationals leader

Lobby groups keen to work with new Nationals leader


Agribusiness
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THE Nationals WA leader Brendon Grylls said new regional infrustructure spending and the privatisations of the TAB and Fremantle Port are top of the agenda in his new role.

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Brendon Grylls

Brendon Grylls

THE Nationals WA leader Brendon Grylls said new regional infrustructure spending and the privatisations of the TAB and Fremantle Port are top of the agenda in his new role.

Mr Grylls said he would be looking to discover the State's plan to emerge from an economic downturn and how the government could continue to diversify the economy and create jobs.

One of his tasks as the new Minister for Housing and for Racing and Gaming and is to assess the affects of the potential sale of the TAB.

He has taken on the portfolios from Colin Holt, and said there was still work to be done on the TAB sale and whether it should go ahead.

"Colin Holt has done an enormous job on the TAB, we have a strong relationship with the racing industry," he said.

"They are right to say that 'we would be concerned if a sale was going to proceed if it doesn't lock in our future'.

"My job is to look at the options and guarantee that to industry.

"I won't be supportive of a sale if industry isn't comfortable that their future is locked in."

Mr Grylls said the party had not changed its mind about the sale of the Fremantle Port, despite the change of leadership.

He said he would not support any asset sale if there was no benefit to industry or the State.

"We can't see a way the benefits of the sale of Fremantle Port can be outweighed by the challenges and concerns," he said.

"We know there is much concern about it - so that's where we stand."

Mr Grylls said suggestions to slash spending to overcome the State's budget crisis would only makes matters worse.

"It costs more jobs and damages confidence in the economy," he said.

"We have put forward to start the debate with the regions that further investment into infrastructure is critical, to keep the foot on the accelerator.

"The only way to do that is to asset recycle - but we need to know what we will do with the proceeds after it.

"It's not about if we should or shouldn't sell, we need to know where the proceeds would go."

WA's two agriculture lobby groups have been concerned with the sale of WA's assets and said they hoped to work closely with the new leader.

WAFarmers president Tony York said the organisation hoped the reinstatement of Mr Grylls would continue to build on the work undertaken by the Nationals under Terry Redman's leadership.

"Throughout his tenure as leader of the National Party, WAFarmers has worked closely with Mr Redman and his team on past and on-going issues," Mr York said.

"We hope to have as strong a relationship with Mr Grylls and his team following his reinstatement as party leader so that, together, we can further the interests of our members and the wider agricultural sector.

"Regardless of who holds the leadership position or whether the alliance between the Nationals and the Liberals will remain in its current form, WAFarmers will continue to work alongside the individual parties and the State government to represent the voice of our members and move towards a more viable, profitable and sustainable future for the State's agricultural industry."

Mr York said the timing of the leadership change would give the party time to reshape or consolidate its policies in anticipation of the State election next March.

Pastoralists and Graziers Association president Tony Seabrook said he looked forward to a new chapter with Mr Grylls.

"We look forward to a fruitful new dialogue with Mr Grylls," he said.

"We have not arranged anything yet, but we look forward to the opportunity."

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