Palaszczuk’s pivot from virus to economy is driving ‘significant cabinet reshuffle’

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she’s pivoting away from COVID-19 and towards economic recovery with a “significant reshuffle” of cabinet.

Nov 11, 2020, updated Nov 11, 2020
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Treasurer Cameron Dick, who says Queensland has created more jobs than any other state..(AAP Image/Darren England)

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Treasurer Cameron Dick, who says Queensland has created more jobs than any other state..(AAP Image/Darren England)

Deputy Premier Steven Miles will move from the health portfolio to state development, local government and planning as part of the changes announced on Tuesday.

Palaszczuk has also promoted three backbenchers after a Labor caucus vote despite only 12 seats being formally declared.

The Premier said the Government was on guard against coronavirus, but the reshuffle is focused on boosting the economic recovery.

“Now we’ve got people out of work, our economy needs to recover, and we need to make sure that we have all hands on deck,” she told reporters.

“And I firmly believe that I have put the right people into the right positions to take on this mammoth job that we have to deliver for the people of this state.”

Miles takes responsibility for state development, which had been under the control of Kate Jones who retired at the election.

He’s also taking the planning portfolio and local government, currently held by Stirling Hinchliffe.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath will take over as health minister, although the premier didn’t reveal who would replace her as the state’s first law officer.

Police Minister Mark Ryan or Employment Minister Shannon Fentiman are both in the running.

Miles, who fronted 187 COVID press conference during the pandemic, said he had called Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young to inform her of his move.

“I actually got a bit teary talking to her about it,” he said.

“But her view is that we have the virus under control here in Queensland, that the vaccine is very, very good news, and that there’s nothing more important we can do for people’s health and get them into jobs.”

Treasurer Cameron Dick will take on the additional portfolio of investment in the reshuffle.

Meanwhile, backbenchers Meaghan Scanlon, Scott Stewart and Leanne Linard ascended to the front bench after the caucus vote.

They fill vacancies left by Jones, Anthony Lynham and Coralee O’Rourke, who retired after the election.

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None of the new ministers have been given portfolios, but Scanlon will be Queensland’s youngest woman minister ever at the age of 27.

She’s tipped for the tourism portfolio and Townsville MP Stewart could take over regional development.

The Premier said all the cabinet positions would be announced after a “significant reshuffle” on Wednesday.

She added that no existing frontbenchers will be demoted.

Palaszczuk said the new government’s first priority would be the budget, due on November 1.

“They usually take three to four months to put together and we’re doing it straight after the election,” she said.

“So all focus at the moment is on delivering the budget, and I know the treasurer hasn’t had any sleep since the campaign.”

Labor is on track to hold as many as 51 seats – up four on its previous numbers – as vote counting continues.

The Liberal National Party appears to have lost a net three seats, taking its numbers to 35 in the 93-seat chamber.


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