16 Sep 2014

Labour pledges return of rural minister

6:05 am on 16 September 2014

The Labour Party says if it gets to form the next government after Saturday's election, it will bring back a rural affairs minister.

Damien O'Connor.

Damien O'Connor. Photo: SUPPLIED

Primary industries spokesperson Damien O'Connor said it is important for rural communities to have a strong advocate beyond industry sectors.

"We had one in the last government who dealt with issues like walking access, expansion of heartland service centres, making sure that rural education had a voice at the table and rural health."

Mr O'Connor said Labour would set up a primary industry council and appoint a chief agricultural adviser. It would also make the Food Safety Authority a stand-alone agency again and do the same with biosecurity.

"We believe that these are so important that we should drag both of those agencies out from MPI and have them as separate, stand-alone and independent so that they can advocate strongly when they need to, to uphold the very highest levels of biosecurity standards and of food safety," he said.

The general election will be held on Saturday.


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