NSW Minister for Agriculture, Western NSW: Adam Marshall says he's job ready

BEING THE VOICE: Newly sworn in Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall says he's got the experience to be the voice for the region. Photo: SUPPLIED
BEING THE VOICE: Newly sworn in Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall says he's got the experience to be the voice for the region. Photo: SUPPLIED

DROUGHT is a real and personal issue for newly sworn-in Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall.

The new minister grew up on a farm near Gunnedah and both sides of his family have long owned and run mixed farming operations in the area.

Following more the 10 years in local government, the Northern Tablelands MP says he is ready to be the voice for the region in State Government.

"Drought is a real, personal issue for me ... for me it's a lived experience," Mr Marshall said.

He remembers living through the 1994-95 drought in Gunnedah and the devastating impacts it had on his family, other farmers and the wider community.

"I remember getting up with Dad at 4am and feeding cattle before I had to catch the school bus and head into town for school," he said.

Drought is a real, personal issue for me ... for me it's a lived experience.

Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall

When asked if the newly-created position of Minister for Western NSW came following the loss of long-time Nationals seats Murray and Barwon to the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party (SFF) at the recent state election, Mr Marshall said he was unsure.

"You'd really have to ask the Premier or Deputy Premier that, I'm not sure of what their motivational thinking was for the recreation of the portfolio, but I'm just really proud to take it on because I've lived and worked my whole life in country NSW," he said.

"It's [the recreation of a Western NSW portfolio] a reflection that western and far western communities are confronting a unique set of issues.

"They are remote, they are isolated, the role that government plays and that government services play in those communities is even more critical."

When asked about the biggest issues facing Western NSW and its farmers, Mr Marshall said he has two main areas of focus.

"Drought is the most urgent one and a lot of my work in the last 48 hours has been on that and will continue to be for the next few weeks," he said.

"There's also the issue of right-to-farm and illegal trespassing."

Mr Marshall conceded that understanding agriculture, the drought and its implications on not only farmers but the wider community was difficult for many people as the majority of the state's population live in cities or on the coast and had little to do with the sector.

"Part of my role as agriculture minister, and I firmly believe it's an important role in my department, is to continue to provide an educative role," he said.

"I've already a decision that I'll base myself at the Sydney Royal Easter Show ... it's a great opportunity to try and educate people a bit more about the land, where their food comes from and also how tough it is on the land at the moment."

Mr Marshall will commence a tour through Western NSW next week that will include Orange as one of his first stops.

"I'm looking forward to hitting the road, getting out and about and just being a direct voice sitting around that Cabinet table to give those unique set of issues [from Western NSW] a place to be expressed," he said.