Re-elected Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a major shake up to Queensland’s Cabinet, including the appointment of a new Health Minister.
Following a caucus meeting on Tuesday, Ms Palaszczuk revealed Steven Miles would continue on as Deputy Premier of Queensland, while also taking on the role of State Development, Local Government, Infrastructure and Planning.
It means he will no longer be known as the State’s Health Minister, with current Attorney General Yvette D’ath moving into the position.
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Despite still being in the middle of a pandemic, Mr Miles said he feels comfortable handing over the reigns.
“I did discuss it with the Chief Health Officer this morning, I actually got a bit teary talking to her about it,” Minister Miles admitted.
“But her view is that at the moment we have the virus under control here in Queensland, that the vaccine is very good news, and that there’s nothing more important you can do for people’s health than get them into jobs, so she was supportive of me taking on a greater role in the economic response”.
Speaking to reporters, the Premier said she believes “this is the strong team that we need for Queensland”.
“The Deputy Premier and I have had many discussions about this… I know that he was torn about whether to leave health or not,” Palaszczuk said.
“But since Queensland is in such great shape I need as many hands as possible working on the economic recovery and I know Yvette will step up, as one of our most earnest Ministers in this government, she will do a mighty job in continuing the great work that the Deputy Premier has done in Health.”
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) November 10, 2020
Meanwhile, Gold Coast MP Meaghan Scanlon has become the youngest Cabinet Minister in Queensland’s history after being promoted to the frontbench.
The Premier has not yet revealed what role Ms Scanlon will take on, however it is widely expected she will take over as the State’s Tourism Minister after previously serving as Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development.
It comes after the 27-year-old member for Gaven increased her popularity at the recent state election, earning 58.3 per cent of the vote, with a swing of 7.6%.
Ms Scanlon said the appointment to the frontbench is a “great privilege”.
“I have worked incredibly hard in my electorate, and of course as Assistant Tourism Minister to Kate Jones, so I will be dedicating that same energy and dedication to whatever role the Premier see’s fit for me,” Ms Scanlon said.
“It’s a great privilege to be the youngest Cabinet Minister in Queensland’s history, it’s an opportunity I certainly don’t take lightly and I will make sure that I continue to advocate for not only my generation, but for generations to come.”
In other changes, Member for Townsville Scott Stewart and Member for Nudgee Leanne Linard, have also been promoted to Cabinet, while Tresurer Cameron Dick will add Investment to his portfolio.
The Premier said the full cabinet portfolios will be revealed ahead of a swearing-in ceremony later this week.