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Darren Chester first meeting as newly appointed Shadow Minister for Local Government with Wellington Shire Mayor Ian Bye

The Nationals team is working to deliver a safer, stronger, better and fairer regional Australia, where everyone can get ahead.

By news@gippsland - 4th January 2023 - Back to News

I welcome the confidence shown in me by the Leader of The Nationals and will work constructively to achieve positive outcomes for all regional Australians. I will bring my experience in government and opposition to the new role and focus on delivering policies, programs and services that improve the lives of people who choose to live outside our capital cities.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester's first meeting as the newly appointed Shadow Minister for Local Government was with Wellington Shire Mayor Ian Bye

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester's first meeting as the newly appointed Shadow Minister for Local Government was with Wellington Shire Mayor Ian Bye

Create new opportunities

Regional Australia grows world-class food and fibre, and we also grow great kids. We need to keep investing in regional education for our youth to achieve their full potential as tradespeople, running their own business or farm, or undertaking tertiary studies. We have already made access to university more affordable for students forced to move away from the regions, now we need to improve access to tertiary studies in our own communities.

In regional development, the previous government understood the need to improve our transport and telecommunication connectivity, while also investing in the liveability of country communities, to attract and retain skilled workers. We need a fair share of federal government investment in the critical infrastructure and the services which will continue to make our regions a better place to live and visit.

Long-term and sustainable jobs are fundamental to regional development and growth. We need to keep adding value and creating new opportunities in our traditional industries across regional Australia, while also supporting investment in emerging industries. As a father of four children, providing pathways for young Australians to secure their own futures outside our capital cities is my highest priority.

More career opportunities

One area that demands bipartisan attention across all levels of government, is increasing the workforce delivering practical environmental programs. Quite simply, we need more boots and less suits.

That means more people working on the ground in regional Australia to control feral animals and weeds, undertake bushfire protection and prevention activities, support disaster resilience, and practical action to improve water quality in our lakes and rivers.

Over the past 20 years in my community, there's been a reduction in the workforce to undertake practical environmental work and an explosion in the city-based bureaucrats writing reports. As the custodians of a vast public land estate, we need to be training a local workforce and providing more career opportunities in natural resource management, disaster prevention, and ecotourism in regional areas across our nation.

Improve regional Victorian lives

I've always believed in building partnerships across other levels of government and look forward to building strong relationships with the local government sector which is crucial to delivering programs and projects, particularly in regional areas. A career in local government should be recognised and respected as a terrific way to make a difference in your own community.

Wherever possible, I will work in a bipartisan way with the responsible Ministers but will have no hesitation in highlighting areas for improvement as we develop the Coalition's policies in consultation with communities and stakeholders across Australia.

Small town Australia needs big voices in the federal parliament and I'm optimistic, positive and full of hope that I can use this new role to work as part of a united team, and improve the lives of rural and regional families.

Pictures from Darren Chester MP website.


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