Christine Milne
Christine Milne

Rural relationships a priority: Milne

NEW Greens Leader Christine Milne says improving the party's relationship with rural and regional Australia will be one of her main priorities.

Senator Milne was elected unanimously by her federal Greens colleagues to replace Bob Brown, who resigned as leader on Friday.

In outlining her vision for the Greens, Senator Milne said Australia needed an economic narrative that had the environment at its forefront.

"I intend to go out to rural and regional Australia to have this discussion because rural and regional Australia has a critical role to play in this century, particularly in terms of food security in a global context, particularly in terms of renewable energy and energy efficiency," she said.

"Rural communities will also be the backbone of environmental sustainability and protection and I'm going out there as a country person to say to other country people it's time that the Greens and country and rural and regional Australia really worked together."

But Senator Milne's comments about the mining industry do nothing to win her support in some regional and rural areas.

"We are currently seeing the biggest assault on the environment in Australia we've seen in a very long time, not just because of climate change, but because of the rapaciousness of the mining industry and the willingness of the Liberal and Labor parties ... to cave in to the few who want to push out of the way every environmental protection that communities have fought for," she said.

"If ever the Greens were needed ... in redefining the debate in Australia, it's now."

The Tasmanian Senator praised her predecessor, hailing Senator Brown as "an absolutely remarkable and outstanding leader of this nation".

"He has contributed enormously to the thinking of this country and in particular to highlighting the compassion that exists in this country," she said.

"It's going to take all of us in the Greens ... to build on the great legacy that Bob has left."