Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck
Connect with Richard
03 6424 5960
Senator for Tasmania, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
I'm a proud Tasmanian, having lived on the North-West Coast for most of my life. I am married to Gaylene and we have three children. We also share our home with two cats and one very large dog.
Before entering politics, I worked in the construction industry for more than two decades. I started work as an apprentice and went on to operate my own businesses. I'm a strong supporter of trades training and of flexible workplace relations as a direct result of my own industry experiences.
I also love my sport and, together with Gaylene, have been involved with local sporting groups and clubs for many years.
Prior to being elected as Senator, I worked to advance the interests of the North-West Tasmanian business community and economy. I served as president of the Devonport Chamber of Commerce, and as a director of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I was also an Alderman of the Devonport City Council.
My involvement with politics grew over time following involvement with industry, business and school representative roles.
I became particularly motivated following major cuts to education funding in the early 1990s, the withdrawal of building trades training from the North West of Tasmania and the loss of major projects to the region for purely political reasons - to gain green preferences in Sydney and Melbourne.
I was determined that Tasmania should not be used again as a political sacrifice for major population centres.
I was elected as Senator in 2001 and commenced my duties on February 4, 2002, upon resignation of the Hon. Jocelyn Newman.
In the Howard Government, I served in various roles, including as the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Parliamentary Secretary for Finance.
In October 2008 I was appointed Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. I enjoy this portfolio area very much as I have a strong affinity for regional communities and the farming sector after living on a dairy farm at Wilmot during my younger years. I enjoy working closely with these primary industries to get better outcomes for rural and regional Australia.
In May 2010, I was given the additional appointment of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. Engagement with local businesses - big and small - is an important part of this portfolio.
Following the August 2010 election, I was re-appointed to the Coalition Shadow Ministry in the positions of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry and also Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science.
In 2013, following the Coalition's win at the September federal election, I was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, I was later appointed Minister for Tourism and International Education and Minister assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment.
I am currently serving as the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.