Portfolios: Environment; Heritage.
ALBERT Jacob’s promotion to cabinet cements his rapid rise in Western Australian politics, having been elected to state parliament in 2008, aged 28.
The member for Ocean Reef is the freshest of the five new faces in Premier Colin Barnett’s cabinet, and takes on the challenging environment portfolio, along with heritage.
Before the 2008 state election, Mr Jacob was a councillor for the Joondalup City Council for three years.
During the term of the first Barnett government, Mr Jacob was given the role of parliamentary secretary for community services, seniors and volunteers and youth.
James Price Point will undoubtedly be one of the more contentious state government projects Mr Jacob will need to oversee, with environmental groups already expressing disappointment with his appointment due to his perceived inexperience.
However, Mr Jacob has declared his intention to work closely with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy, the Association of Exploration and Mining Companies, and the Australian Pipeline Industry Association to develop his knowledge.
He is keen to reduce restrictions on the sector, saying that: “As a government we need to work to remove the red tape and bureaucracy restricting the development of our resource industry, in particular the North West Shelf, to enable to development of additional gas fields such as Browse Basin.”
Portfolios: Mines and Petroleum; Housing.
THE resources sector hopes to form a positive relationship with Bill Marmion in his new role as mines and petroleum minister.
Most are keen to see if Mr Marmion’s civil engineering knowledge will add to his skills gained in his former role as environment minister – particularly with regard to the approvals process – and be applied to his new portfolio.
The member for Nedlands received plenty of criticism for his performance as environment minister following his appointment in 2010 (in the second cabinet reshuffle that year).
Much of the criticism concerned Mr Marmion and the Environment Protection Authority’s handling of the James Price Point approvals process and the resumption of Magellan Metals’ lead carbonate exports through Fremantle Port.
The Labor opposition also called for his sacking following the bungled prescribed burning that resulted in the Margaret River bushfire in 2011.
He also has responsibility for the housing portfolio.
Portfolios: Small Business; Road Safety; Police; Women’s Interests.
AS a small business owner, Manjimup-born Liza Harvey’s appointment as minister for small business is fitting.
That business success also led Ms Harvey to co-chair, along with Ken Baston MLC, the Red Tape Reduction Group, which was established by Treasurer Troy Buswell in 2009 to identify opportunities to reduce the burden of existing state regulation on business and consumers.
Previously, she had been parliamentary secretary for the small business portfolio.
Ms Harvey retains the police and road safety portfolios, and has also gained women’s interests.
Portfolio: Agriculture and Food
KEN Baston is Premier Colin Barnett’s surprise appointment to take control of the agriculture portfolio, traditionally the responsibility of the Nationals.
As the Liberal member for the mining and pastoral region, which covers 2.28 million square kilometres, Mr Baston has a strong link to pastoralists, having grown up at a sheep station near Carnarvon.
He also ran the Ella Valla sheep station, which exported wool and meat, for a number of years, and served as the president for the Gascoyne branch of the WA Farmers Federation.
High on his agenda will be liaising with the agricultural community to work out the top priorities, the live export trade among them.
Mr Baston has previously said he is a firm believer in cooperation between state and federal governments to create growth and population in rural areas, and in creating incentives for businesses to operate in the region.
Portfolios: Training and Workforce
Development; Water; Forestry
The agriculture minister in the Barnett government’s first term, Terry Redman was returned to parliament by a slim margin in the new seat of Warren-Blackwood. Mr Redman, 49, faces another challenge in his new portfolio of training and workforce development.
He previously worked as a teacher at Narrogin, Denmark and Morawa agricultural colleges, and was also the youngest principal ever appointed at the agriculture college in Denmark, a role he held for nine years.
In his maiden speech to the Legislative Assembly in 2005, Mr Redman outlined his strong support for vocational education and training.
In his new role, Mr Redman faces the task of addressing the perennial skills shortage issue and also boosting apprentice numbers, with the previous minister, Peter Collier, missing his target of 41,700 Western Australians in apprenticeships for 2012.
Mr Redman retains the forestry portfolio and gains water.