Concerns the newly elected federal government is set to ditch the agriculture visa which was designed to help fill a skills shortage will be a top focus for new opposition spokesman for immigration Dan Tehan.
The Wannon MP was appointed as the opposition immigration and citizenship spokesman on Sunday after new Liberal leader Peter Dutton unveiled his team.
Mr Tehan said it was "a very pleasant surprise" to be appointed to the role - one which has previously been held by Mr Dutton as well as former Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
He laughed off suggestions the appointment was a sign of potential future party leadership, saying his focus would be very much on the electorate first and his new portfolio.
"There is a lot to do in this area," he said.
"The current skills shortage will be my primary focus.
"Businesses right across the electorate are crying out for staff.
"And making sure that we use our skilled migration program to help with these workforce shortages is going to be absolutely vital."
Mr Tehan said the former Liberal government had been putting in place "a very important" visa category called the AgVisa.
The AgVisa program was introduced late last year to address workforce shortages in the agriculture sector, and was touted at the time by then agriculture minister David Littleproud as "the biggest structural change to the agricultural workforce in our nation's history".
"Unfortunately the Labor Party look like they are going to remove the AgVisa which obviously would be very detrimental to regional and rural Australia," Mr Tehan said.
"This will be something I also will be focused on."
Mr Tehan said there were also strong suggestions that the new government was going to look to get rid of live exports.
"This will have an impact on regional and rural Australia," he said.
"This will be a debate I will be watching very closely."
Mr Tehan said live exports of both cattle and sheep still left from the port of Portland.
"There's a lot of issues already that we are seeing that's going to be very important that we hold the government to account on," he said.
New Agriculture Minister Senator Murray Watt was contacted for comment.
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