On both the health and economic fronts, Australia has fared better than most countries in dealing with COVID-19.
Together we have saved lives and saved livelihoods, and while Australia has been doing it tough – and the recent lockdowns are having a significant impact – our economy is resilient.
While my Ministry reflects the need for continuity across key portfolios as we continue Australia’s recovery out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is my intention to advise the Governor-General of a number of proposed changes to the Ministry.
These changes reinforce some of the key issues the Government is progressing, and the challenges we face moving forward: strengthening our sovereign capabilities in the new energy economy, emissions reduction, and promoting a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific through our AUKUS arrangement and Quad relationship with regional partners.
Angus Taylor will assume the Industry portfolio and will become the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, signalling the Government’s clear focus on preserving and strengthening our sovereign industrial base, including in manufacturing, as we reduce emissions and grasp the opportunities of the new energy economy.
This is a significant step on the road to securing our economy and sovereign capability in a rapidly changing world, at the same time that Australia plays its part in tackling climate change.
As part of this work, I have asked Minister Taylor to focus on the critical supply chain initiatives from the recent Quad and the unique role Australia can play based on our national strengths in areas such as critical minerals, working with the Minister for Resources.
To bring added Cabinet-level focus to the connection between economic security and national security, the Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price will assume additional responsibilities as Minister for Science and Technology. This is a timely appointment, especially in light of the considerable body of scientific and technological work our nation now has to bring forward under AUKUS as part of the nuclear submarine project.
The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migration Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke will come into Cabinet. Minister Hawke has dealt deftly with the challenges COVID-19 has brought to this portfolio and worked around the clock in recent times helping to secure visa and other arrangements for the departure and settlement of thousands of people from Afghanistan.
Ben Morton will come into the Ministry as Special Minister of State, Minister for the Public Service and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He will continue to play a lead role in strengthening the capability of the Australian Public Service for the challenges of today and tomorrow. As Special Minister of State, he will continue to be responsible for electoral matters and will now support the critical work being led by Simon Birmingham on our parliamentary workplace, ahead of the final report of the review being conducted by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.
Tim Wilson will become Assistant Minister to the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction. He will bring focus and passion to ensuring that Australia continues to meet and beat our climate change commitments, as we transition to the new energy economy.