Monday, 30 January 2017
I feel both honoured and privileged to be appointed to the Berejiklian-Barilaro (try saying that quickly) Cabinet to serve as Tourism and Major Events Minister and Assistant Minister for Skills.
Tourism is a $37.1 billion a year industry, employing close to 297,000 people in NSW. Sydney is recognised the world over as a mecca for international visitors, along with our beautiful coastal areas. I am really looking forward to helping open up rural and regional NSW to more international and domestic tourists and building the capacity for our regions to attract and host more major events and grow the events we hold now.
Country NSW has some spectacular attractions – natural and man-made – that we can promote and enhance with better facilities, infrastructure and links. Seeing more people visiting our regions and enjoying what they have to offer will be important for me. I cannot wait to get started with this work!
Tourism offers incredibly great prospects and benefits for our regional areas, providing jobs and investment for some areas that have seen jobs disappear in agriculture and rural industry – and as a regional minister I’ve a great opportunity to make sure that that drive and commitment to direct more energy into seeing areas outside Sydney gain more from tourism too, is boosted.
In the skills role, I want to work closely with the Deputy Premier to ensure the government and TAFE works with industry to overcome the biggest challenge of not having enough skilled people to fill the jobs being created. This is a critical portfolio for the continued economic growth of the state and country NSW.
Lastly, it would not be possible for me to be given this opportunity without the support of the people of the Northern Tablelands, as their representative in the NSW Parliament, and I want to reiterate my commitment to serving them and advocating for their needs first and foremost.
It’s been quite a journey for this lad from the land at Curlewis, near Gunnedah, and I’m looking forward to the challenges and the opportunities ahead.