The Australian Parliament is losing one of its true characters - Bob Baldwin.

He has passionately represented the people of Paterson for almost two decades, first elected in 1996, again in 2001 and then at every subsequent election - he has been indefatigable.

Bob has been a pillar of strength for his community following the devastating NSW floods in April last year.

Bob served with distinction as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources in the Howard Government, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry in the Abbott Government and then later as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment.

He also served as Shadow Minister for Defence, Science and Personnel, Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Shadow Minister for Tourism.

As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Bob developed and wrote the reforms to the anti-dumping legislation, helping protect Australian industry.

Most recently as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, Bob delivered on the Coalition’s commitment to cap Commonwealth water purchases in the Murray-Darling Basin at 1500 gigalitres.

This was a great achievement in water reform, delivering on the Government’s election commitments to Basin communities and providing business certainty. This is another significant milestone in the path of sustainable water resource use commenced in the Howard years.

Apart from his strong advocacy for the people of Paterson, Bob also brought his passion for cooking into Parliament and was well known for putting on big spreads in his office. He’s never happier than wearing an apron and serving food to friends, except perhaps when fishing for what will grace the plates.

I wish Bob and his family all the best for the future and on behalf of the Liberal Party, I thank him for his tireless service over many years.