Former Minister for Small Business, Michael McCormack, has been sworn in as the leader of the Nationals and Deputy Prime minister, taking over the Infrastructure and Transport portfolio.

Standing alongside his colleagues as their new leader, Mr McCormack said the party had placed “huge trust, faith and responsibility in me.

“I will honour that by doing my best always. I’m a team player, doing it with the very best team in in rural and regional Australia.

“Barnaby Joyce is an outstanding leader. His service to our party and our national will never be diminished. His legacy will endure.

“I look forward to his continued work for and on behalf of our nation, our party, and for rural and regional areas. I wish him well into the future.

“I want to make sure that people know that in me they will have a fighter. I have a huge challenge ahead of me.”

Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said he is delighted at the appointment of Michael McCormack as the new leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister.

“Michael McCormack is a strong advocate for rural Australia. He will continue his party’s long tradition of standing up for farmers and all those living in regional Australia.

“The Liberal Party has been in coalition with the Nationals for more than seventy years and our enduring and successful political partnership will continue under Michael’s leadership of the National Party.

“I congratulate Michael McCormack on his appointment and I look forward to working closely with him and the entire Coalition team in the interests of all Australians.”

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) also welcomed Mr McCormack’s appointment as Minister for Transport and Infrastructure.

ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff, said, “It is pleasing that the second most senior figure in the government will retain portfolio responsibility for this crucial area, given the importance of developing transport infrastructure to support national supply chain efficiency and build Australia’s export capacity.

“As an industry leader on freight and supply chain policy, ALC always seeks to have a cooperative and productive relationship with the key ministers in portfolio areas that impact our industry.

“ALC also acknowledges the personal commitment shown by the former Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, in bringing the Inland Rail project to fruition.

“Minister McCormack comes to the portfolio at a critical juncture. After decades of discussion, work on the Inland Rail project is now finally underway, thanks to the investment of $8.4 billion in last year’s Federal Budget. It is vitally important that momentum is not lost in delivering this transformative project.

“We similarly look forward to working with the new Minister to ensure that the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to be released in 2018 effectively addresses those industry priorities set out in Freight Doesn’t Vote, the ALC submission to the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.

“The National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy is not just an industry blueprint, but a significant national economic initiative. It is imperative that we take action now to get the policy settings right, so we can meet our growing national freight task.

“ALC will continue to vigorously advocate our industry’s priorities to the new Minister, so that all Australians can benefit from enhanced supply chain efficiency and safety.”

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