Tasmanian Premier gives himself climate change portfolio as he unveils new ministry


Tasmania’s new Premier Peter Gutwein has announced he will be the state’s first Liberal minister for climate change.

Key points:

  • The Cabinet reshuffle follows the resignation of former premier Will Hodgman last week
  • Peter Gutwein will take on the roles of Premier, Treasurer, the Minister for Tourism and Prevention of Family Violence
  • Michael Ferguson, who was an initial challenger for the role of premier, will share the treasury role, taking on finance

Mr Gutwein made the announcement while unveiling what he said was a ministry of “minimal change”, “continuity” and “stability”.

“As the lowest net emitter in the country … we have a very positive story to tell,” Mr Gutwein, who will also retain his role of Treasurer, said.

“We have to accept we now have a more volatile climate … obviously we have challenges that we need to take on.”

Mr Gutwein is not the state’s first minister for climate change, but it is the first time a Liberal government has created the portfolio.

Like his federal Liberal counterparts, Mr Gutwein pointed to the need for more fuel reduction “through burning but also through mechanical clearing”.

The Cabinet reshuffle follows the resignation of former premier Will Hodgman last week.

Michael Ferguson, who was an initial challenger for the role of premier, will share the treasury role, taking on finance.

External Link:

Peter Gutwein press conference

It means he will be responsible for liquor and gaming as the State Government prepares to table what is likely to be controversial gaming legislation in Parliament this year.

“I am looking forward to working with him as I’ve said before, he’s smart, he has real intellect, he is prepared to work very, very hard and he is a man of integrity,” Mr Gutwein said.

Upper House member Jane Howlett has been elevated to Cabinet and will be sport, recreation and racing minister.

“The new Cabinet has experience. Importantly, it has energy and … it has unity,” Mr Gutwein said.

As well as taking on the roles of Treasurer and Premier, Mr Gutwein will also be the minister for tourism and prevention of family violence.

Mr Gutwein admitted he would have a lot on his plate, saying: “What you do is you work very hard and you ensure that you get good advice.”

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania CEO Luke Martin said he was pleased Mr Gutwein would be tourism minister following in the footsteps of his predecessor.

“Having the premier as minister for tourism has been so critical for Tasmania being taken seriously on the national tourism stage,” Mr Martin said.

Jeremy Rockliff will retain his role as Deputy Premier, Minister for Education and Training and Mental Health and Wellbeing.

He will also take on the portfolios of trade and disability services.

Mr Rockliff said it was going to be a “busy” but “exciting time”.

He said he hoped to capitalise on a the state’s well established brand.

“We’re a state that exports over 90 per cent of what we produce and so we have to be very proactive in the market place,” he said.

Labor, Greens react to new Cabinet

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Rebecca White has described the reshuffle as a missed opportunity.

“What we do hear from this Premier is that he wants to have a new focus on health and housing, and yet he has not changed where those portfolios are or who is responsible for delivering on initiatives,” she said.

“Quite frankly the existing arrangements with the current ministers aren’t working and we’re seeing that with the extraordinary wait times, the extraordinary waiting lists both for health and housing, that’s leaving people in pain or leaving them without a roof over their head.”

She said if he was serious about health and housing Mr Gutwein should have taken on those roles himself.


Peter Gutwein says the new Cabinet will have unity. (ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)

Ms White said appointing Mr Ferguson as Finance Minister was a strategic move by Mr Gutwein “because he wants to share the blame when he puts pain on the people of Tasmania — because we know there are more cuts coming”.

Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor congratulated Mr Gutwein for accepting the need for a Minister for Climate Change and for taking on that role himself.

“We need the new Minister for Climate Change to take a different approach to forests, to make sure that we have no new coal mines in Tasmania,” she said.

She said she was worried about Mr Gutwein’s focus on fuel reduction.

“We need to have a good fuel reduction strategy in place, of course, but we need to be bringing down our emissions and that means working across all sectors of the Tasmanian economy,” she said.

Appointment of ministers ‘a strategic move’

Political analyst Professor Richard Herr said the Cabinet reshuffle sent the message it was business as usual under Mr Gutwein as Premier.

“No instability. Predictability, continuity — that’s the message they want to send out,” he said.

He said appointing Mr Ferguson as Finance Minister was a clever move by Mr Gutwein.

“It forces the two contenders for the leadership to work together on a routine basis,” he said.

He said Ms Howlett’s promotion to a ministry was also a strategic move.

“It was necessary to find a southern candidate in the Liberal Party to fill at least some of that southern vote that Will Hodgman had.”

The State Government has announced a new strategic growth portfolio.

Health Minister Sarah Courtney will take on the role which is designed to share the benefits of the state’s strong economy more widely.

The CEO of the Tasmanian Council of Social Service, Kym Goodes, has welcomed the move.

“We can start to see a departmental and a budget response to the needs of those Tasmanians who are [facing] system barriers preventing them currently from participating in a range of the opportunities a strong Tasmanian economy is providing,” she said.

The new ministry is expected to be sworn in early next week.

Peter Gutwein’s ministry:MinisterPortfolioPeter Gutwein



Minister for Climate Change

Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence

Minister for Tourism

Jeremy Rockliff

Deputy Premier

Minister for Education and Training

Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Minister for Disability Services and Community Development

Minister for Trade
Minister for Advanced Manufacturing and Defence Industries

Michael Ferguson

Minister for Finance

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport

Minister for State Growth

Minister for Science and Technology

Leader of the House

Elise Archer


Minister for Justice

Minister for Corrections

Minister for Building and Construction

Minister for Arts

Minister for Heritage

Guy Barnett

Minister for Primary Industries and Water

Minister for Energy

Minister for Resources

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Sarah Courtney

Minister for Health

Minister for Strategic Growth

Minister for Women

Minister for Small Business, Hospitality and Events

Roger Jaensch

Minister for Housing

Minister for Environment and Parks

Minister for Human Services

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs

Minister for Planning

Mark Shelton

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Minister for Local Government

Jane Howlett

Minister for Sport and Recreation

Minister for Racing


Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news

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