New ministry, new opportunities for ag

After the dramatic scenes in Parliament last week, Australia’s 30th Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his new ministry with some key leadership changes in the agriculture space.

Mr Morrison promoted his key supporters in the seventh ministerial shakeup in three years to form what he called a “next-generation team”.

According to Mr Morrison the “team” was created with the purpose of restoring stability and to “begin the work of healing that is needed” after the change in leadership.

Key ministry changes affecting agriculture

Mr Morrison has split the Energy and Environment portfolios – which was previously held jointly by Josh Frydenberg – into two separate ministries with Melissa Price as the Minister for Environment and Angus Taylor as the Minister for Energy.

Mr Taylor takes on the role with a specific mission from Mr Morrison with the new PM calling him “the Minister for getting electricity prices down.”

“I’m looking for more and new innovative ways for Angus Taylor to bring a greater opportunity to bring the prices down and I’m sure he will be doing that,” Mr Morrison said.

Simon Birmingham is taking over the job of Minister for Trade from Steve Ciobo, who remains in cabinet as the Defence Industry Minister.

“I look forward to supporting the hardworking Australians whose efforts in trade and tourism underpin so much of our national prosperity,” Mr Birmingham said.

With Mr Morrison announcing drought as a top priority for his new government, the Minister for Trade and Tourism will play a vital role in getting more money into rural and regional towns, particularly those affected by drought.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack took on the role of Minister for Regional Development while Senator Bridget McKenzie is the new Minister for Regional Services.

David Littleproud remains as the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and said he is looking forward to continuing his work in addressing key issues in agriculture and telling the positive story about agriculture and rural Australia.

“This nation was built on agriculture and Australian agriculture must continue to be a modern, cutting edge industry so we can build towards the National Farmers’ Federation’s goal of $100 billion of gross production by 2030,” he said.

Richard Colbeck replaced Anne Ruston as the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources . Ms Ruston is a memorable contributor to the agriculture sector, particularly in her dedicated work in fishing, forestry and water.

Other key ministry changes

Key changes in the ministry was Julie Bishop’s resignation from her position as Foreign Affairs Minister, with Marise Payne now taking on that important role.

Unsuccessful leadership aspirant, Peter Dutton, kept his position as Home Affairs Minister, albeit with the Immigration aspect of his previous role now going to David Coleman.

Christopher Pyne became the new Defence Minister, Dan Tehan is the new Minister for Education and Greg Hunt retains his portfolio as Minister for Health.

Barnaby Joyce filled the newly created role of special envoy for drought and Tony Abbott the special envoy for indigenous affairs.

For the full list of changes to the Morrison ministry click here.

Is the Data Drought over?

While most high level cabinet changes may spell smooth sailing for cornerstone rural policy issues, one absence of note are the portfolios of Regional Communications (previously held by Bridget McKenzie) and Regional and Rural Health (previously held by David Gillespie).

The Labor Party’s Stephen Jones (who holds the role of Shadow Minister for Communications) was quick to sieze on this today, saying the coalition had ‘snubbed’ regional and rural Australians with the move.

What do you make of the new look ministry? Leave us a comment below!
Andrea Martinello

Andrea Martinello

Andrea is the Community & Engagement Officer at the National Farmers' Federation.

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