Bush Summit, Dubbo

Adam Marshall: … and I'm really glad I wore this tie today, not my green one, otherwise we would be almost identical today. What did you say—it's The National Party uniform—not quite. But thanks, Anna. Look, it's great to be here. Thank you very much for being here. Michael McCormack has been a friend of mine for a long time. Of course, he's not just the Deputy Prime Minister or leader of the Nationals, he's a guy who's spent his whole life in the bush, around the Wagga Wagga area. Like me, an ex-journo, so a pretty good fellow, but also someone who comes from a small family farming background.

I do, on behalf of the New South Wales Government, want to congratulate the Commonwealth on the announcement of that new legislation to criminalise the efforts of those that wish to incite illegal behaviour, incite people to commit acts of trespass, to disrupt farming operations. And watch this space. There might be an announcement from the State Government next week to complement that on the actual, physical act of trespass, to complement neatly what the Federal Government is doing around incitement. Anyway, you didn't come here to listen to me. You wanted to listen to the main show, so it's my great pleasure to hand the microphone over to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

[Applause]

Michael McCormack: Well thanks, Adam. Thank you very, very much and I acknowledge the role that Adam has played, is playing and will continue to play in the New South Wales Parliament, particularly in agriculture. And noting too that we have the federal Agriculture Minister, the first woman to actually fill that role, in Bridget McKenzie right in front of me. So, make sure you have a conversation.

[Applause]

We've also got the Resources Minister here, Matt Canavan, because resources and ag can work very nicely. There is a good fit there and we need to make sure that we remind ourselves of that all the time. Look, I commend the Daily Telegraph. I know that today is not just a talkfest. You get the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, the two leaders of Australia's major political parties in a regional centre and that, to start with, is a success. The other success is I note that the Daily Telegraph today—very little subtle difference on the front page (where it says normally) we're for Sydney. Today, it's we're for you, and they are here for you, they are here for all of you. And so is every MP here and so is every stakeholder here. I know we've got Roger Fletcher. He employs so many people in regional Australia. And they're the sort of people, whether it's the Roger Fletchers of the world or the Bede Burkes over here, an egg farmer from Tamworth. And I know—he probably doesn't employ as many people as Roger but you're backing yourselves, you're employing people, you're making sure that you have confidence in regional Australia, and regional Australia has a positive story. It's just add water. We, as the Federal Government, as the Federal Liberal-Nationals Government, want to build more water infrastructure. We can't do it alone. The laws don't allow it. We have to do it with states, and that's why I'm willing and I've said: any willing state government, I don't care what their political persuasion is, if they want to come on board with us we want to go on the journey with them. And I've had really good discussions with New South Wales. With Queensland, I'm hoping that they get across the line because there are a number of good projects in Queensland, in New South Wales, elsewhere, that we can put shovels in the ground before the end of the year. It's been way too long since we built a dam here in Australia. Well, we want to make sure that we get on with the job. We've put $1.3 billion as a Commonwealth down on the table. We want to spend that money to help even further drought-proof the nation. But you heard today from the Prime Minister Scott Morrison about how we want to pass that legislation through next week in the Parliament—$3.9 billion to help future drought-proof our nation.

You've got MPs here. I urge and encourage you to make sure—I've got to cut and run unfortunately, but make sure you send us an email. If you've got ideas about what we can do to further drought-proof our nation, send them through to us because it's the participation, the representation of rural communities by people on the ground such as you taking the time and effort to turn up today and the organisers, and continue to use the forums and the live blogs that the Daily Telegraph provides. Make sure you utilise that because we have to tell city people what we do. They know that the regions are strong. They know that when the regions are even stronger, they do well too. Everybody benefits, and drought notwithstanding, we will get through this. It will rain again and we will be even stronger when it does. So thank you very much. Thanks to the live—live animal exports, they're important too—community, industry and council for putting that on. And Anna, I'll hand it back to you.

[Applause]