Member for Parkes
- Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Ageing and the Voluntary Sector
About Mark Coulton
Family and community are two things Mark values above all else.
Mark was born in Sydney on 3rd February, 1958, the son of Jack and Nancy Coulton of “Avondale” Gravesend. He has two sisters, Viv and Joy, and two brothers, John and Robert. Sadly, Mark’s mother passed away in 2000, but his father and siblings remain in the Gravesend and Warialda districts.
Mark went to Warialda Public School then Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School as a boarding student. He participated in a range of activities, and despite the lack of any real ability, his favourite sport was rugby league. Riding and working with horses has always been a big part of his life.
After completing the HSC, Mark returned to the family farm. In 1981, he married Robyn, who had arrived from Sydney to teach at the small primary school at Gravesend. She continued to teach for many years in the area.
Their first child, Claire, was born at Warialda Hospital in 1983 and is now a teacher. Sally, born in 1985 is a medical student, and Matthew, born in 1989, is in Year 12. In 1996 Mark and Robyn started farming on their own. In 2006 they sold their properties to give a 100% commitment towards representing the new electorate of Parkes.
Mark has been the Mayor of the new and progressive Gwydir Shire Council since 2004 and has been a member of a wide variety of community organisations. These include Warialda Pony Club, the Macarthur Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade and the Warialda Pastoral and Agricultural Association. He is currently an honorary member of the Warialda Rotary Club and a life member of Warialda Apex.
Delivering services and good economic management requires experience, care and commitment. Mark Coulton’s strong track record of community service shows he has those qualities.
As a local Mayor Mark has worked hard to improve local roads and infrastructure. He is passionate about providing opportunities for people of all ages to further their education and to develop practical skills. Mark has helped deliver positive results, including the Gwydir Learning Region, a successful partnership between Gwydir Shire Council, local schools, TAFE, universities and businesses.
You expect a lot from your politicians – and you should. The Nationals have a proud tradition of representing the interests of country communities across the Gwydir and Parkes Electorates. Mark’s skills, experience and his love of our region will continue that tradition and see him give the people of the new Electorate of Parkes a real voice in Canberra.
Mark Coulton and the Nationals are committed to putting the families, small business operators and workers of the new Electorate of Parkes first.
The Nationals' endorsed Candidate for the seat of Parkes in 2007 is Mark Coulton.
Member for Parkes
- Assistant Minister for Environment & Water Services
About John Cobb
John Cobb was raised in western NSW, in the Mt Hope district, 100 km north west of Condobolin. He still operates a family farming enterprise in the region.
John worked as a jackeroo and overseer in Queensland and on a mine near Mt Hope, prior to working the family property and twelve months on the Sydney to Moomba gas pipeline, providing a solid, grassroots background for his future political career.
For 15 years, John represented the needs of country people through the NSW Farmers' Association (NSWFA). In those 15 years, John spent three years as the president of the NSWFA and worked with farmers, community groups and rural industries to retain and enhance services and economic opportunities for regional NSW.
Some of the issues that John Cobb fought for included more medical specialists, better telecommunication services and property rights for landholders and country communities, dealing with drought and industry downturns. He is still passionate about those issues today: fighting for property rights, particularly the right to develop as well as country issues generally such as the need for more doctors, better communications and improved country services.
The motivation that pushed John in agri-politics - decisions being made by bureaucrats and politicians based in metropolitan Australia, and who have no knowledge, no investment and no control in country regions - still drives him today along with a burning desire to give our rural communities all the opportunity they need.
Becoming fed up with country areas being ruled by city politicians, John decided to take his energy and motivation to the federal level. He stood for the Federal seat of Parkes and was elected to Federal Parliament on November 10, 2001.
Working hard for the electorate has paid off, with a number of major achievements to John's credit, including Federal funding for Cobar and Narromine medical centres, Broken Hill Nursing Home and Forbes Saleyards, to name but a handful.
John was re-elected to Parliament on October 9, 2004, with an increased majority, and was appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services in October of the same year.
As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John had responsibility for a number of programs, including the highly successful Regional Partnerships program, the Sustainable Regions program and assists with the administration of road transport (heavy vehicle) industry policy and the Bass Strait Freight and Passenger Equalisation Schemes.
John strongly supports the Regional Partnerships Program which not only strengthens growth and opportunities but improves access to services and invests in projects that assist our communities.
On July 6, 2005 John was appointed the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs. Australian citizenship symbolises our unity as a nation. It represents commitment to Australia and its people, the values we share and our common future. It also symbolises the sense of belonging to the country where we have been born or where we have decided to make our home.
Australia's multicultural policy promotes acceptance of and respect for our cultural diversity. It embraces our Australian-grown customs and the heritage of Indigenous Australians, early settlers, and the diverse range of migrants now coming to this country. All Australians are expected to have an overriding loyalty to Australia and its people, and to respect the basic structures and principles underwriting our democratic society.
Australia's migration program and the people who have been able to make Australia their home, not only add to the richness of our society they contribute significantly to the wealth of our nation.
As a multicultural society we are able to embrace and capitalise upon the experiences, the skills and the enthusiasm of all our residents in making Australia the great nation that it is.
On 27 January 2006 John was appointed the Minister of Community Services.
The Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs provides policies, income support and assistance for families and their children, senior citizens, people with disabilities, carers and community groups. The Office for Women provides policies and programs for women and the Office for Indigenous Policy Coordination coordinates a whole-of-government approach to programs and services for Indigenous Australians.
John was appointed Assistant Minister for the Environment and Water Resources on 30 January 2007 to work with our rural and regional communities on water issues to ensure that they are involved in achieving the best outcomes for the sustainability of food and fibre production and the environment.
About the Parkes Electorate
First proclaimed in 1984 the seat of Parkes is named after Sir Henry Parkes (1815-1896), former Premier of New South Wales.
There were 81,972 registered voters in the 2004 Federal Election.
Parkes covers an area of approximately 107,108 sq km.
The main towns include Boggabilla, Collarenebri, Coonabarabran,Coonamble, Dubbo, Dunedoo, Gilgandra, Gulgong, Gunnedah, Kandos, Moree, Mudgee, Mungindi, Narrabri, Warialda and Wellington. Parts of Carinda are also included.
The main products and industries of the electorate are Mining, pastoral, mixed farming, fruit, timber, irrigation, comprehensive agricultural support services, flour, butter and meat processing, light engineering and construction industries.