BENDIGO will remain a focus for the state government after a shake-up of cabinet positions, according to local MPs.
Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum – who will stay on as parliamentary secretary for regional development – described the new cabinet as a boost for regional Victoria.
In a reshuffle of portfolios announced yesterday, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan lost the police portfolio and has taken over as the new Minister for State Development, on top of his role as Minister for Regional and Rural Development.
Mr Drum said he was looking forward to working more closely with Mr Ryan.
“I imagine its going to be a broadening of regional development across the state,” Mr Drum said of the changes.
“It’s incredibly positive. I think the role of the deputy premier to move into the area of state development to set up a new ministry shows that the government is looking at the whole state and looking at jobs.”
Mr Drum said he still held ambitions of becoming a minister but was philosophical on missing out on promotion.
“You’ve got to be careful what you wish for,” he said.
“Ministers are currently working 14 to 16 hour days, six days a week. So you can kiss any down-time goodbye.
“I would love to be a minister.Down the track if it works out, it works out.”
The state opposition questioned new Premier Denis Napthine’s decision to keep on the majority of cabinet members, one week after a crisis meeting led to Ted Baillieu’s demise.
Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said it was “essentially the same group of people who have not supported jobs in regional Victoria”. Wendy Lovell has kept her position as Minister for Housing and Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development.
Among the other changes to the cabinet positions, Treasurer Kim Wells has taken over as Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Bushfire Response.
Former Energy and Resources Minister Michael O’Brien has taken over as Treasurer.