Barnaby Joyce will be Australia's next minister for agriculture, Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott has revealed, more than a week after the Coalition won the Federal election.

The colourful former Queensland Senator Barnaby Joyce enters Cabinet as an outspoken critic of foreign investment in cases such as the proposed GrainCorp takeover and Indonesia's plans to buy a million hectares of grazing land in the Top End.

The Coalition's agriculture spokesman throughout its time in Opposition was NSW MP John Cobb, who has missed out on ministerial responsibilities altogether. Mr Abbott says that wasn't because Mr Cobb had done a poor job, but because of changes within the National Party, which saw Mr Joyce elected as the Nationals' deputy leader.

Assisting Mr Joyce as the parliamentary secretary for agriculture is Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck, who takes over that role from another north-west coast Tasmanian, Labor's Sid Sidebottom, who lost his seat on September 7. The agriculture portfolio will include responsibility for fishing and forestry.

Liberal frontbencher Andrew Robb, a former National Farmers Federation chief executive, takes on the difficult task of finalising stalled trade agreement negotiations, as he becomes the minister for trade and investment. There will be no parliamentary secretary for trade in the new government.

As widely expected, Nationals Leader Warren Truss gets his wish and will be the minister for infrastructure, but he will also add regional development to his responsibilities. The assistant minister for infrastructure and regional development will be Jamie Briggs, whose electorate of Mayo is based in the Adelaide Hills and includes the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island.

Nationals Senate Leader Nigel Scullion, from the Northern Territory, also keeps his preferred portfolio in government; he'll be the minister for Indigenous affairs.

The crucial water portfolio will be incorporated into the environment ministry. Greg Hunt retains that portfolio in government, and will be assisted by South Australian Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham as parliamentary secretary. Senator Birmingham was the Coalition's spokesman on the Murray-Darling during its time in Opposition.

Ian Macfarlane from southern Queensland's Darling Downs will be the new minister for industry (including energy and resources), supported by Bob Baldwin from NSW as parliamentary secretary.


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