North-West frozen out of cabinet

PREMIER-ELECT Will Hodgman has vowed to ``take the government to the people'' in regional areas, despite only four  members from the North and North-West being sworn into his new cabinet today.

Bass MHA Michael Ferguson has lost his much-loved education portfolio for the tough and often thankless job of health minister.

Michael Ferguson

Michael Ferguson

Mr Hodgman said ``fresh eyes'' were needed for the health system.

Mr Ferguson said he had ``really enjoyed'' holding the education portfolio for four years but wasn't disappointed.

``I see it as a significant challenge,'' he said. ``Education will still be my lifelong passion.''

Braddon MHA Adam Brooks, who topped the polls in the Liberal-dominated electorate, has missed out on a ministry and will take on the role of parliamentary secretary for small business and trade.

Mr Hodgman said Mr Brooks had ``a bright future ahead of him''. 

``There will be a clear line for small businesses in this state to have significant input through Adam Brooks as their spokesman,'' Mr Hodgman said.

Only one of the four Braddon members will be made a minister, despite the electorate helping the Liberals win a landslide election.

Bass MHA Peter Gutwein has been confirmed as treasurer  and will take on the portfolios of planning and local government, making him responsible for delivering a single statewide planning scheme ``as swiftly as possible''.

Braddon MHA Jeremy Rockliff will be tasked with extending high schools to year 12, after being named the new education minister.

Former senator Guy Barnett has also missed out on a ministry, with Mr Hodgman opting to load up Southern upper house member Vanessa Goodwin with the attorney-general role, as well as corrections, justice, arts and leader of the government in the Legislative Council.

Newcomer Paul Harriss will be the resources minister, and his first order of business will be tearing up the forest peace deal.

Greens leader Nick McKim said putting Mr Harriss in charge of forestry would return the state to conflict.

``We can expect to see a return to the failed business model of taxpayer-subsidised native forestry on an industrial scale,'' Mr McKim said.

Nine portfolios from the former government have not been retained, including climate change, workplace relations, veterans' affairs, community development and consumer protection.

``If you are a young person, an older Tasmanian, a public transport user, a multicultural Tasmanian  or someone who cares about climate change, then sadly you no longer have a voice around the cabinet table,'' Mr McKim said.

Mr Hodgman said the previous government ministries had ``blown out uncontrolled and unchecked''.

``We want to bring them together to cut down what have become blurred lines of responsibility,'' he said.

``They will continue to be important to our new government.'' 


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