Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced yesterday a complete ministerial reshuffle, as part of which Barnaby Joyce was named Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, replacing Darren Chester. Peter Dutton will become Minister for Home Affairs, for the first time bringing together the nation’s security, border and intelligence agencies under one department.
Regarding the removal of Darren Chester as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Mr Turnbull said: “I take this opportunity to thank Darren Chester for his significant contributions to the Cabinet as the outgoing Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. I know that we will all continue to call on his wisdom and experience.”
Darren Chester, the Member for Gippsland, said it had been an enormous honour and a privilege to serve in Cabinet in the best portfolio possible, infrastructure and transport. Mr Chester, a firm supporter of Badgery’s Creek Western Sydney Airport, released a statement on his official website, stating: “I’m proud of the work my team and I have done on behalf of the Government and I’m sorry we won’t get to finish off some of the jobs we’ve started. Naturally, I’m disappointed by The Leader of the Nationals’ decision to exclude me from his Cabinet team.”
“Politics can be a tough business for all involved. But life goes on and I will continue to serve the Turnbull government. As a backbencher, I will also have more time to focus on two social policy areas that concern me deeply: the use of illicit substances such as ice and the incidence of suicide in regional areas, particularly among young people and further prosperity.”
Australian Airports Association (AAA) welcomed the appointment of Barnaby Joyce as Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. AAA CEO Caroline Wilkie stated Australia’s airports played a critical role as part of the national infrastructure network, stating: “Airports have invested more than $7 billion in airport improvements over the last 10 years and the benefits of that work has been far-reaching”. Ms Wilkie also welcomed the appointment of Peter Dutton to the Home Affairs portfolio, commenting: “Airport safety and security is a top priority for our members”. Ms Wilkie also noted outgoing Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester’s contribution to the sector over the last two years.