After weeks of speculation, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a refreshed and expanded Cabinet following the Government’s first 10 months in office and conclusion of parliamentary sittings for 2015.
Following the January 2015 state election, the Queensland Cabinet was reduced from 18 to 14 MPs in line with an ALP election promise, and included only one Assistant Minister. At the time, this commitment was estimated to save $27 million in reduced administrative and staffing costs.
Referring to her recent decision to increase Cabinet numbers, the Premier discussed representations made by business and the broader community asking for an increase in the number of ministers so they can more effectively deal with stakeholders. In response, the Cabinet has been expanded and provides for more balanced ministerial workloads, particularly for the Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, and Education Minister Kate Jones.
With the Premier’s decision to increase the Cabinet by three MPs, and a replacement required for former Police Minister Joanne Miller following her resignation from Cabinet last week, four new Cabinet appointments have been made.
Former Australian Army Major Bill Byrne has moved from Agriculture, Fisheries and Sport into the high profile portfolio of Police, Fire and Emergency Services.
Experienced former Bligh Government Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has been promoted from Assistant Minister to the role of Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games.
Having regained her seat at the 2015 election, Member for Brisbane Central Grace has been promoted to the portfolios of Employment and Industrial Relations; Racing; and Multicultural Affairs. Notably, Grace became the first female General Secretary of the Queensland Council of Unions when she was first elected to the role in 2000.
Former Queensland Council of Unions Campaign Director Mick De Brenni has been appointed Minister for Housing and Public Works.
Providing additional regional representation in Cabinet is Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson, who becomes Queensland’s first female Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries,
On the same day Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull released the Australian Government’s $1.1 billion innovation package, Premier Palaszczuk highlighted her decision to have Leanne Enoch firmly focused on Innovation and the Digital Economy.
The Premier has also introduced Queensland’s first Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence.
Other key changes include:
- Small Business moves from Kate Jones to Leeanne Enoch
- Employment and Industrial Relations moves from Curtis Pitt to Grace Grace, while Minister Pitt also takes on responsibility for Sport
- Transport and Commonwealth Games moves to Stirling Hinchliffe from Jackie Trad and Kate Jones respectively