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Barnett leaves regional duty with Nationals in reshuffle

Daniel EmersonThe West Australian
Terry Reman.
Camera IconTerry Reman. Credit: Danella Bevis/The Countryman

The Nationals have retained their prized Regional Development portfolio in the Cabinet reshuffle made necessary by the exit of former leader Brendon Grylls from the Barnett frontbench.

Colin Barnett this morning announced new Nationals Leader Terry Redman would become Minister for Regional Development – with oversight of the Royalties for Regions program – Minister for Lands and Minister assisting the Premier on State development.

Mr Barnett – who had declined to guarantee the Nationals would retain Regional Development in the immediate wake of Mr Grylls’ decision to step down – said he had never considered taking it off the party.

New Nationals minister Mia Davies, who replaces Mr Grylls on the frontbench, takes over Water and Forestry from Mr Redman.

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Mr Redman's other former portfolio – Training and Workforce Development – was added to Deputy Premier Kim Hames’ responsibilities in a surprise move.

Mr Barnett, who asked Dr Hames to give up the tourism portfolio after an expenses bungle in July, said at the time he wanted his deputy to concentrate solely on health.

This morning, Mr Barnett said “most of the major decisions are now set in terms of hospital development”, freeing Dr Hames up to elevate the status of Training through taking on the portfolio as Deputy Premier.

The Premier denied the punishment of July was now void, saying Dr Hames had “received a slap across the wrist (and) I think he now can quite properly resume a bigger workload”.

In another surprise move, Treasurer and Transport Minister Troy Buswell ceded his Fisheries responsibilities to Agriculture Minister Ken Baston.

Mr Barnett said the decision was recognition that Mr Buswell had been shouldering too high a workload, particularly given the extra weight of the Fisheries portfolio during WA’s spate of shark attacks.

Ms Davies, 35, said she was happy and grateful for the opportunity to serve as a Minister.

“Opportunities arise in this arena and you need to be ready to take them on,” she said.

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