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Baillieu promotes Lib ex-leader

Author: By PAUL AUSTIN, STATE POLITICAL EDITOR, With TIM COLEBATCH
Date: 03/12/2010
Words: 1440
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: News
Page: 7
TED Baillieu has promoted former Liberal leader Denis Napthine and given deputy Liberal leader Louise Asher a key jobs portfolio as he moves to stamp his government as pro-business.

But environment groups fear Mr Baillieu will walk away from the Brumby government's commitment to big cuts to greenhouse gas emissions in Victoria, after the new Premier gave the environment and climate change portfolio to inexperienced frontbencher Ryan Smith.

In a bigger-than-expected reshuffle of his frontbench, Mr Baillieu yesterday created a new Department of Business and Innovation, putting former Kennett government ministers Dr Napthine and Ms Asher in charge of creating more jobs as the state economy recovers after the global financial crisis.

The biggest surprise in the cabinet line-up is the demotion of ambitious frontbencher and former Peter Costello adviser Michael O'Brien, who has lost the economic portfolios of exports, trade and infrastructure, and is left with the relatively minor title of Minister for Gaming, Consumer Affairs and Energy and Resources.

As revealed in The Age yesterday, Nationals deputy leader Peter Walsh gets the crucial water portfolio  despite Mr Baillieu before the election repeatedly saying it would be shared with Ms Asher.

The 22-member cabinet  two bigger than the Brumby ministry  was sworn in at Government House yesterday afternoon, five days after the Coalition's shock election win. It includes five Nationals and only four women.

The new Premier yesterday ruled out any cleanout of Victoria's public service chiefs, saying the Coalition intended to retain all the department heads who served under Labor.

Mr Baillieu also revealed that the Treasury Department, at his request, had checked the Coalition's costings of its election promises.

"I got the assurance that our policies had been well costed and indeed conservatively costed," he said.

Mr Baillieu and his Deputy Premier have also ruled out a second casino for Victoria, rejecting Labor's push for a new gaming venue in Mildura.

As foreshadowed in The Age, Mr Baillieu will take the arts ministry, as his mentor, Jeff Kennett, did as premier in the 1990s.

"It's an important part of the competitive advantage of this state, the way we treat our arts, and I want to be there supporting the arts," he said.

Industry and business groups last night welcomed Dr Napthine's appointment as Major Projects Minister and Ms Asher's as Minister for Innovation and Small Business.

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia said the new cabinet would "equip Victoria for growth" and showed the Baillieu government "is ready to hit the ground running".

The Australian Industry Group said Mr Baillieu's focus on innovation and business should lead to improved productivity in Victoria.

The latest counting of votes has confirmed that the election result is almost certain to be 45 seats for the Coalition and 43 for Labor.

Rechecks of votes in the four closest lower house seats have confirmed that the Liberals have taken Bentleigh, while Labor has retained Ballarat East, Eltham and Macedon.

The final upper house result may not be known until December 14. The Coalition has a chance of winning a slim majority there, but the more likely outcome is that independent Stephen Mayne wins a seat and shares the balance of power with the Greens.

TEDS TEAM: THE NEW CABINET

TED BAILLIEU, 57 (LIB) Premier and Arts

ELECTORATE: Hawthorn

FIRST ELECTED: 1999. Lifelong supporter of the arts, the 46th Premier adds it to his workload. Huge win for the arts industry. Baillieu is keen for an all-night multi-arts festival.

PETER RYAN, 60 (NAT) Deputy Premier, Police & Emergency Services, Regional & Rural

Development, and Bushfire Response

ELECTORATE: Gippsland South

FIRST ELECTED: 1992. Loud and proud, Ryan is determined to reduce crime and boost police numbers. Will not forget his roots and will champion the needs of country Victoria, spearheading the $1 billion regional growth fund.

LOUISE ASHER, 54 (LIB) Innovation, Services & Small Business, Tourism and Major Events

ELECTORATE: Brighton

FIRST ELECTED: 1992. Asher reprises the role of Minister for Small Business and Tourism, which she held under Kennett. Lost Urban Water.

ROBERT CLARK, 53 (LIB) Attorney-General and Finance

ELECTORATE: Box Hill

FIRST ELECTED: 1988. Veteran right-winger is charged with ending suspended sentences. Clark will also be pivotal to implementing the Baillieu promise of suggested minimum sentences for rape and murder.

RICHARD DALLA-RIVA, 47 (LIB) Employment and Industrial Relations, and Manufacturing, Exports & Trade

ELECTORATE: Eastern Metropolitan

FIRST ELECTED: 2002. Former policeman will front up to the Labor-aligned union movement. Has lost Major Projects but picked up Exports and Trade, a key focus of the new government.

DAVID DAVIS, 48 (LIB) Health and Ageing

ELECTORATE: Southern Metropolitan

FIRST ELECTED: 1996. Coalition attack-dog will lead the party in the upper house. A vocal critic of Labors health system, now has the tough task of reducing hospital waiting lists and ambulance response times.

HUGH DELAHUNTY, 61 (NAT) Sports & Recreation, and Veterans Affairs

ELECTORATE: Lowan

FIRST ELECTED: 1999. Second-oldest member of cabinet loses the Youth Affairs portfolio. The former Essendon footballer can be expected to play a relatively low-profile role.

MARTIN DIXON, 55 (LIB) Education

ELECTORATE: Nepean

FIRST ELECTED: 1996. Former school principal and deputy chairman of the Catholic Education Office. Will need to lift his profile.

MATTHEW GUY, 36 (LIB) Planning

ELECTORATE: Northern Metropolitan

FIRST ELECTED: 2006. A rising star of the Baillieu frontbench. Vocal critic of Labors planning policy and Justin Madden. Has to manage development amid Melbournes population boom.

PETER HALL, 58 (NAT) Higher Education & Skills, and Minister responsible for the Teaching Profession

ELECTORATE: Eastern Victoria

FIRST ELECTED: 1988. Former teacher has been entrenched in tertiary education portfolios for more than a decade. Will implement promise to cut diploma fees for concession card holders from $2000 to $100.

NICHOLAS KOTSIRAS, 51 (LIB) Multicultural Affairs & Citizenship

ELECTORATE: Bulleen

FIRST ELECTED: 1999. Former teacher and principal served as Kennetts adviser on multicultural affairs from 1992 to 1996. He has been in the shadow ministry since entering Parliament.

WENDY LOVELL, 51 (LIB) Housing and Children & Early Childhood Development

ELECTORATE: Northern Victoria

FIRST ELECTED: 2002. One of four women in cabinet. The upper house MP faces the task of finding homes for the growing number of homeless people in Victoria.

ANDREW MCINTOSH, 55 (LIB) Corrections, Crime Prevention and the establishment of an anti-corruption commission

ELECTORATE: Kew

FIRST ELECTED: 1999. Baillieu promised tougher sentences and more prisons. McIntosh has to work out where the extra prison beds will go. Will oversee the end of the OPI and the introduction of a new, broader anti-corruption body.

TERRY MULDER, 58 (LIB) Public Transport and Roads

ELECTORATE: Polwarth

FIRST ELECTED: 1999. Every time Melbournes trains ground to a halt Mulder fronted the media to say how bad Labor was. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and Mulder has to solve the problems or face an irate public.

DENIS NAPTHINE, 58 (LIB) Ports, Racing, Regional Cities and Major Projects

ELECTORATE: South-West Coast

FIRST ELECTED: 1988. One-time opposition leader has cabinet experience as Kennetts minister for youth and community services. Will be front and centre of the governments $1 billion regional growth fund.

MICHAEL OBRIEN, 39 (LIB) Gaming, Consumer Affairs, and Energy & Resources

ELECTORATE: Malvern

FIRST ELECTED: 2006. Second-term member will be the target of anti-pokie and gambling campaigners. Future of wind farms and solar energy projects also in his hands.

JEANETTE POWELL, 61 (NAT) Aboriginal Affairs and Local Government

ELECTORATE: Shepparton

FIRST ELECTED: 1996. Oldest member of cabinet is the first woman to represent the Nationals in Victoria. One of nine cabinet members who have previously been on the government benches.

GORDON RICH-PHILLIPS, 36 (LIB) Assistant Treasurer, Technology and the Minister responsible for the Aviation Industry

ELECTORATE: South-Eastern Metropolitan

FIRST ELECTED: 1999. Youngest member of Baillieus cabinet will get to use years of experience in aviation to implement the Coalitions plan for a big upgrade of Avalon Airport.

RYAN SMITH, 41 (LIB) Environment & Climate Change and Youth Affairs

ELECTORATE: Warrandyte

FIRST ELECTED: 2006. A big promotion to the environmental ministry. Will he embrace the Brumbys governments target of a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020?

PETER WALSH, 56 (NAT) Water and Agriculture & Food Security

ELECTORATE: Swan Hill

FIRST ELECTED: 2002. One of the big winners. In opposition, the Coalition split water into urban and rural. They are reunited under Walsh, who will oversee the turning-off of the north-south pipeline, which has angered regional Victorians.

KIM WELLS, 52 (LIB) Treasurer

ELECTORATE: Scoresby

FIRST ELECTED: 1992. The invisible man of the campaign is thrust into the spotlight managing the states finances. Will oversee the Coalitions $7.6 billion in promises while trying to keep the state in surplus.

MARY WOOLDRIDGE, 43 (LIB) Mental Health, Womens Affairs and Community Services

ELECTORATE: Doncaster

FIRST ELECTED: 2006. Despite talking on the environment in the Coalitions campaign

ads, Wooldridge in office will have the task of fixing Victorias failing child protection system.

OTHER STATS: 51 Average age, 4 women (18%), one less than under Labor, 5 Nationals, 12 from Melbourne electorates, 10 from rural electorates

 
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