CALARE MP Andrew Gee's loyalty to Nationals leader Michael McCormack and consistently strong performances at the ballot box have been rewarded with a spot in the new Morrison Government ministry.
Mr Gee has been made the Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education following a reshuffle brought on by the resignation last week of Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie, who quit the front bench following a scandal over her handling of a sports grants program in her previous role.
Mr Gee will also take on the role of Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment.
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The promotion comes just days after Mr Gee backed Nationals leader Michael McCormack over Barnaby Joyce in a leadership ballot and a week after Mr Gee welcomed Prime Minister Scott Morrison to Orange and Blayney.
Mr Gee said he was "very excited to be given the opportunity to serve in the ministry".
"I'm a country MP and all of these portfolio areas have a direct impact on rural and regional Australia," he said.
"In regional education, I'm passionate about bridging the divide in opportunity between city and county students.
"Decentralisation is also a core issue for the bush. It really irritates country people that so many government departments are concentrated in the major cities and we need to be continually looking at ways to move them out, and increase job opportunities in country areas.
"We also need to encourage private sector decentralisation as well."
Mr Gee said the future prosperity of country communities relied on finding new markets for primary producers.
"The role of Assistant Minister for Trade and Investment will allow me to build upon the work I've already done with my local orchardists in gaining greater export access for cherries and stone fruit into Asia," he said.
"While things are going to be busy, my first priority will always be the Calare electorate and its communities."
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