I am deeply honoured to continue as the Minister responsible for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government.

I thank Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack for today asking me to undertake this important role.

Having carriage of these portfolios since May 2019, I am well aware of the issues at hand and am driven to address the barriers to regional, rural and remote Australians fulfilling their potential.

Ensuring people across the country have access to appropriate health services and telecommunications is integral to meeting this aim.

Getting more doctors into the bush is vitally important for the future of regional communities and I am pleased to be able to continue to work on the solutions required to address current inequities.

Rolling-out the highly successful Mobile Black Spot Programme and delivering on the Government’s commitment to continue to improve digital connectivity for all Australians, regardless of geography, is important work I am proud to continue.

The bush needs to be connected and there is more to do.

The importance of the nation’s local governments in delivering improvements to their communities cannot be underestimated and I am proud to continue to work with the 546 local governing authorities across the country. Equally, I am pleased to continue to build relationships with state governments and relevant peak organisations including Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).

In good times and bad, councils across the country strive to deliver economic and social benefits for their communities; often within challenging budgetary constraints. As a former Mayor myself, I understand this challenge and am committed to working with councils to ensure they continue to deliver for their communities.

With the experience of the past nine months within these portfolios, I am keen to continue to deliver for regional Australians and look forward to being able to do so within a more focussed scope.

I am pleased to also continue my work advocating in Parliament for constituents of the Parkes electorate, as I have done for the past 12 years.

Mark Coulton, Member for Parkes, Canberra.

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