29/11/2007 - 14:52

Martin Ferguson gets resources as WA ministers moved

29/11/2007 - 14:52

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

One of the big surprises of the new Labor ministry was the selection of fomer ACTU president Martin Ferguson as the resources and energy minister, in place of WA senator Chris Evans who held that role in the shadow ministry.

One of the big surprises of the new Labor ministry was the selection of fomer ACTU president Martin Ferguson as the resources and energy minister, in place of WA senator Chris Evans who held that role in the shadow ministry.

Mr Ferguson's appointment was formally welcomed by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA and the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies but there is concern about the impact of Labor's workplace relations policies, which include reversing the Howard government's WorkChoices reforms and scrapping Australian Workplace Agreements.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry.John Langoulant said the Labor government's workplace relations changes would be critical to the state's future.

"Individual agreements have been an integral part of WA's economic success particularly in the mining industry and we can not afford to lose our competitive advantage," he said.

Senator Evans was seen as a prime candidate for resources minister, given his seniority in the government and his base in WA. Instead he has been made minister for immigration and citizenship, and will continue as leader of the government in the Senate.

The only other WA minister is Stephen Smith, who has been selected as minister for foreign affairs. Mr Smith has held several shadow portfolios, including education, resources and energy, trade and communications, but not foreign affairs.

The new member for the WA seat of Brand, Gary Gray, has been appointed parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Infrastructure. Mr Gray was national secretary of the Labor Party during the 1990s and more recently worked for Woodside Petroleum.

He will report to NSW's Anthony Albanese, who has been appointed to the super ministry of infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government.

Meanwhile, the new Liberal leadership team of Brendan Nelson and WA's Julie Bishop has vowed to block Labor's planned workplace relations changes if they believed jobs growth would be cut.

"We will not support legislation or policy which undermines the employment prospects of everyday Australians," Dr Nelson said.

"Obviously we will want to see the legislation that is proposed by the Labor Party and by Mr Rudd before commenting on it."

Ms Bishop said workplace agreements in WA had led to strong and stable workplace relations and ensured little industrial disruption.

"We have been seen by the world as a reliable supplier as a result," she said.

"Now, we must ensure that the legislation put forward by the Labor government does not in any way destroy job creation or harm our mining sector, which has provided such an incredible boost to the Australian economy."

Mr Ferguson is a Victorian who has been in parliament since 1996. He was Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Resources and Tourism from October 2004 to December 2006. His other shadow portfolios have included roads and tourism; he will retain responsibility for tourism.

 

Statements from the CME, AMEC and CCI are pasted below:

 

PRAISE FOR APPOINTMENT OF NEW FEDERAL RESOURCES & ENERGY MINISTER

The appointment of Mr Martin Ferguson as Federal Resources and Energy Minister in the new Rudd Labor Government has been welcomed by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME).

CME has enjoyed a constructive relationship with Mr Ferguson during his time in Opposition, according to CME Chief Executive, Reg Howard-Smith.

"The appointment of Martin Ferguson to this critical portfolio is a very positive development for our resources and energy sector," Mr Howard-Smith said.

"It is refreshing to note that Mr Ferguson's portfolio covers both resources and energy."

"We will seek to engage with the new Minister at the earliest possible stage."

"Our sector is well placed to continue its stellar performance of recent years, and we look forward to a constructive engagement with the Rudd Federal Government," Mr Howard-Smith concluded.

 

AMEC congratulates Martin Fergusson

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) has congratulated Martin Fergusson on his appointment as new Federal Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism.

The announcement was made earlier today by incoming Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

AMEC's Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Ian Loftus, said, "Mr Fergusson is a sensible and pragmatic player, and his level-headed approach to resources and energy issues is welcomed."

"The resources portfolio is incredibly important - resource extraction creates lots of jobs and lots of export incomes for this country - and a steady hand will help develop the sector for the benefit of all Australians."

"We look forward to meeting with Mr Fergusson, and hope to develop a good working relationship with him and his staff," concluded Mr Loftus.

 


Business welcomes strong WA voices in Canberra

Statement by CCI Chief Executive John Langoulant

The elevation of several Western Australian MPs to senior positions within the new Federal Government and Opposition has been applauded by the state's peak business and employer group, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

CCI congratulates Stephen Smith on becoming Australia's new Foreign Affairs Minister and Chris Evans on his appointment as Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and the Government's Leader in the Senate.

The appointment of the member for Brand Gary Gray to Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Infrastructure is welcomed.

Their appointment to senior frontbench positions in the new Rudd Labor Government is another indication of WA's importance to the nation's long term future and prosperity. Western Australia has unique requirements and local MPs are best placed to argue the state's case around the cabinet table.

CCI also congratulates the Member for Curtin, Julie Bishop, on her election as the new Deputy Leader of the Federal Liberal Party. Ms Bishop has demonstrated a strong understanding of the WA business community during her time in parliament.

It is vitally important from a business perspective that Western Australia has a strong voice within senior ranks of government and opposition to ensure the state's business and economic interests are properly considered. This will be particularly important as the government rolls out its workplace relations changes. Individual agreements have been an integral part of WA's economic success particularly in the mining industry and we can not afford to lose our competitive advantage.

CCI will welcome any opportunity discuss the needs of WA business and industry with the state's senior MPs on both sides of politics.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options