Coulton says promotion will boost region’s opportunities

FULL SCHEDULE: Newly-appointed Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Mark Coulton, at his Dubbo office on Thursday. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

FULL SCHEDULE: Newly-appointed Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Mark Coulton, at his Dubbo office on Thursday. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Member for Parkes Mark Coulton believes his promotion to the role of Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment can help primary producers and tourist destinations in his electorate, but says he will not stray from his primary role.

Mr Coulton, who was sworn in to his new position earlier this week, gained the promotion as the Nationals look to rebound from the drama surrounding former leader Barnaby Joyce.

After spending time in shadow ministry and other roles within the party, it’s a deserved promotion and one that the hobby farmer and former Gwydir shire mayor takes seriously.

“I think everyone that goes into parliament wants to do the best job they can. I was in the shadow ministry in my very first year and actually had this role in opposition,” he said.

“I’ve been the party whip for six years, and deputy speaker, but this is something I’ve always wanted to do.

“To represent your country in negotiating trade and as an ambassador for tourism is a great honour. I think my 10 years in the job has certainly given me the experience to be able to do that.

“But it’s no doubt going to be a juggling act with a large electorate, and assistant minister is going to require a great deal of management.

“The last thing I want to do is impact on my electorate. My primary job is to be the member for Parkes and everything else I do comes after that.”

While he concedes balancing his time and energy will be a challenge, Mr Coulton said he also believes the roles can co-exist and be a boost for the 393,413 square kilometres of NSW that he represents.

Engaging in trade discussions that directly impact the large number of agricultural and mining producers, and promoting tourist opportunities for the region is high on his agenda.

“This portfolio, I think, will offer wonderful opportunities for me to advance a lot of the issues that are particularly important to my electorate,” Mr Coulton said

“The economy of the Parkes electorate largely relies on trade, whether its mining or agriculture, and the third arm of that is tourism, particularly in Dubbo, Lightning Ridge, Broken Hill and Moree.

“I think it’s important that as the large number of tourists come into this country that they see more than the capital cities and the Gold Coast.”