Lewis gets agriculture portfolio

New agriculture minister Mark Lewis.
Camera IconNew agriculture minister Mark Lewis. Credit: Countryman

New dedicated portfolios to agriculture and transport have been announced by Premier Colin Barnett.

The moves are a direct result of the resignation of Dean Nalder, who previously held both portfolios.

Agricultural scientist and Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Mark Lewis has been appointed agriculture and food minister.

“Before entering State Parliament in 2013, Mark was involved in developing irrigated agricultural opportunities and also held management positions within the Department of Agriculture and Food in a region which covered the extent of his current electorate,” he said.

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“Mark was raised on farming, cattle and sheep properties in Queensland and will bring to the portfolio a vast knowledge about the agricultural sector and the challenges it faces.”

The Premier said the sector was among a number of industries critical to the broadening of the Western Australian economy.

Appointing a dedicated Minister to the portfolio would ensure the sector was given Mr Lewis’ full attention in progressing key policies, including upgrading the Doppler tower network and launching the WA Biosecurity Strategy.

Senior Minister Bill Marmion will take on the Transport portfolio.

“Bill was a civil engineer for Main Roads before entering State Parliament. He has been a Minister since 2010 and I have every confidence he is the right person to continue to move forward major public infrastructure projects such as the Forrestfield-Airport Link, NorthLink WA and Roe 8,” Mr Barnett said.

The Premier said Mr Marmion would divest his Finance portfolio to Sean L’Estrange, who would add the responsibility to his Mines and Petroleum and Small Business roles.

Mr Marmion would retain State Development and Innovation.

“The opportunity for new people, with new ideas, to sit at the State Cabinet table will re-energise the Cabinet and the Liberal National Government as we move toward the March 2017 election,” he said

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