This is not an article we would usually draw attention to as it is very much about political issues mostly unrelated to our stakeholders. However, for situational awareness, it is worth noting that Minister Logan is being kept very busy with his other portfolio and Premier McGowan is quoted as saying, “I think Fran’s done a good job of reform in fire and emergency services…”
Premier Mark McGowan has defended embattled corrections minister Fran Logan during an announcement of a mid-term reshuffle of his cabinet, saying the prison portfolio was always going to be challenging.
The Premier announced the changes on Thursday, keeping Corrections Minister Fran Logan in the scandal-prone portfolio while stripping responsibility for energy from Treasurer Ben Wyatt.
“You could go to any prisons minister across Australia and you’ll find that there’s always issues,” Mr McGowan said of Mr Logan.
“It’s that sort of area. I think Fran’s done a good job of reform in fire and emergency services and also reform inside the prisons portfolio.
“You’ve got to remember he’s putting some proper budget management into prisons.
“We haven’t seen that for 10 years and that means that the prisons portfolio is being brought under control in a budget sense.”
The Opposition has previously called for Mr Logan’s sacking after the prisons system was subject to a litany of damning Corruption and Crime Commission reports into mismanagement in the prisons system and 10 inmates escaped Greenough Regional Prison during a riot.
Only this week, it was revealed two inmates had been accidentally released from jail after miscommunication between the courts and the prison system.
The Premier also announced he would hand Mines Minister Bill Johnston the energy portfolio from Ben Wyatt.
“I think [Ben] has a huge portfolio. When you think about it he had treasury, finance, energy, Aboriginal affairs, member for Victoria Park,” he said.
“It’s a lot of jobs. Energy was large and I think sending that to Bill Johnson frees Ben up to focus more on financial management and also putting lands in with him means it aligns better with Aboriginal affairs.”
Mr Johnston will keep responsibility for mines, but his commerce, electoral affairs and Asian engagement portfolios will be handed to other ministers.
Commerce will go to Attorney General John Quigley, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson will pick up electoral affairs, and Asian engagement will be handed to Housing Minister Peter Tinley.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti will lose responsibility for lands and ports.
Mr Wyatt will take on the lands portfolio and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan will become the minister responsible for ports, a job she returns to after being infrastructure minister in the Gallop Government.
The Premier said the reshuffle was aimed at “rebalancing workloads”.
“The reason behind this is to ensure we have a focus on building Metronet … and the planning options surrounding that,” he said.
“We are also ensuring that lands properly aligns with Aboriginal affairs and that we have a greater focus on the energy situation facing the state; that’s energy reform, stability, price, dealing with climate change and the future of Collie.
There’s a range of reasons behind it but I just want to emphasise it’s fairly minor changes in the cabinet as we approach the halfway point.
“It emphasises once again the stability of the government we’ve got; no new ministers coming in but existing ministers able to take up new portfolios.”
Mr McGowan also defended education minister Sue Ellery, who came under fire in her first year due to wide-ranging cuts to rural education.
“I’m very confident in Sue,” he said.
“Obviously with education and training, it’s a very large portfolio with many billions of dollars; I’ve done it, and I know how difficult it can be.
“The thing is she also has shown some budget restraint which was required in Western Australia.
“You’ve got to remember we inherited a financial basket case and we’re putting the state back on track which is widely acknowledged across the country and ministers are doing a good job in that difficult set of circumstances we face.”
Mr McGowan was forced to reshuffle his cabinet in 2017 only days after it was sworn in when then Mines Minister Peter Tinley declared a conflict of interest with his wife’s job at a resources company.
The portfolio was handed to Bill Johnston and Mr Tinley picked up the housing portfolio.
It is understood the new cabinet will meet on Friday, ahead of the Christmas break.
Full McGowan Ministry
- Hon Mark McGowan MLA – Premier; Minister for Public Sector Management; State Development, Jobs and Trade; Federal-State Relations
- Hon Roger Cook MLA – Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Mental Health
- Hon Sue Ellery MLC – Minister for Education and Training
- Hon Stephen Dawson MLC – Minister for Environment; Disability Services; Electoral Affairs
- Hon Michelle Roberts MLA – Minister for Police; Road Safety
- Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC – Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food; Ports; Minister Assisting the Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade
- Hon Francis Logan MLA – Minister for Emergency Services; Corrective Services
- Hon David Templeman MLA – Minister for Local Government; Heritage; Culture and the Arts
- Hon John Quigley MLA – Attorney General; Commerce
- Hon Mick Murray MLA – Minister for Seniors and Ageing; Volunteering; Sport and Recreation
- Hon Ben Wyatt MLA – Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Aboriginal Affairs; Lands
- Hon Paul Papalia MLA – Minister for Tourism; Racing and Gaming; Small Business; Defence Issues; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests
- Hon Bill Johnston MLA – Minister for Energy; Mines and Petroleum; Industrial Relations
- Hon Rita Saffioti MLA – Minister for Transport and Planning
- Hon Peter Tinley MLA – Minister for Housing; Veterans Issues; Youth; Asian Engagement
- Hon Simone McGurk MLA – Minister for Child Protection; Women’s Interests; Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence; Community Services
- Hon Dave Kelly MLA – Minister for Water; Fisheries; Forestry; Innovation and ICT; Science