17 April 2024

Labor announces major cabinet reshuffle

| James Day
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The new cabinet standing in front of Government House in Adelaide.

The new Cabinet gathers in front of Government House in Adelaide. Photo: Facebook/South Australian Labor.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas has announced significant adjustments to his cabinet following the resignation of Minister Geoff Brock, replacing the independent voice with former Liberal politician Dan Cregan.

The Labor leader said the changes were made to focus his ministry on the key emerging opportunities and challenges facing the state’s economy. Among the issues are South Australia’s housing crisis, population, and job market growth due to AUKUS and naval surface shipbuilding, along with the implementation of the nation’s first ban on political donations.

A significant change is the establishment of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will be led by David Reynolds, the current Chief Executive of the Department for Trade and Investment and former under treasurer.

Supporting his efforts will be Minister Nick Champion, who is taking the lead of a new expanded ‘super’ portfolio. It will cover all aspects of housing, including infrastructure, urban development and planning, and will have the oversight of SA Water.

Deputy Premier Susan Close will step into the new role of Minister for Workforce and Population Strategy.

The government’s population and workforce planning functions have been consolidated into the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science.

READ ALSO Cath Roberts appointed as member of Defence SA Advisory Board

Premier Malinauskas said the state was at a critical juncture and he was proud to deliver a new ministry that would commit to bringing out the best of his government.

“We are already pulling every lever to build more homes, and Minister Champion’s new housing super portfolio will give us the opportunity to make sure we are utterly co-ordinated in those efforts,” the Premier said.

“South Australia is growing, and we need a coordinated approach to developing the skilled workforce we need to build the workforce we will need, and to that end, I am grateful the Deputy Premier Susan Close has agreed to take on the challenge of Minister for Workforce and Population Strategy.

“I am also pleased that my Cabinet will retain a strong independent voice, with Dan Cregan joining the ministry.

“He will play a crucial role overseeing Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, and as Special Minister of State will lead our nation-leading efforts to ban political donations.”

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In 2021 Mr Cregan was re-elected to the seat of Kavel as an independent, after quitting the Liberal Party due to his belief the party had shunted investment into regional South Australia.

As Special Minister for State he will take responsibility for electoral matters more broadly, including the Electoral Commission of South Australia and parliamentary resources (Electorate Services).

He will also take on the portfolio of Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, following former minister Geoff Brock’s recent decision to resign. Mr Brock said stepping back was one of the hardest decisions he had ever had to make, but he would now be able to put all of his energy into his ongoing role as the Member for Stuart.

“I want to assure the house that I will be continuing on as the local MP and I intend to contest the next election in 2026,” he told South Australia’s parliament in his resignation announcement.

Michelle Hatt standing with SA Liberal leader David Speirs and Shadow Minister for Health Ashton Hurn.

Last month the SA Liberals raised the issue of ambulance ramping. Addressing media is Michelle Hatt, who waited in an emergency department for eight hours after having a stroke. Alongside her is SA Liberal leader David Speirs and Shadow Minister for Health Ashton Hurn. Photo: @SALibMedia.

As part of the state’s effort to encourage greater physical activity among its youth, Assistant Minister Rhiannon Pearce will take on Junior Sport Participation and work closely with Minister Katrine Hildyard.

Further revisions are as follows:

  • Minister Chris Picton will retain his role in Health, despite calls from the Opposition for his removal over record ambulance ramping.
  • Minister Nat Cook will add the Seniors and Ageing Well portfolio to her responsibilities in Human Services.
  • Treasurer Stephen Mullighan is now also the Minister for Defence and Space Industries.
  • Minister Joe Szakacs will expand his responsibilities to Trade and Investment, Local Government and Veterans Affairs.
  • Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Tom Koutsantonis has included Regional Roads as part of his responsibilities.

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