Premier Jacinta Allan with new Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas
Mary-Anne Thomas has new responsibilities in the cabinet shake-up of Premier Jacinta Allan. Image by David Crosling/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

New-look Victorian cabinet sworn in as Allan era begins

October 2, 2023

Victoria’s mammoth transport infrastructure pipeline has a new minister at the helm, as Premier Jacinta Allan unveils her first ministry.

Ms Allan was responsible for transport infrastructure and Suburban Rail Loop portfolios but vacated the roles after she was made premier following Daniel Andrews’ shock resignation last week.

As the new ministry was sworn in at Government House on Monday, Assistant Treasurer Danny Pearson was handed the reins to oversee the state’s multi-billion dollar construction program.

Ms Allan has held the transport infrastructure portfolio for almost five years amid budget blowouts on signature projects such as the West Gate Tunnel and Melbourne Metro Tunnel.

Deputy Premier Ben Carroll has become minister for education and medical research, declaring he picked the education role.

His move to education is a return of the portfolio to the deputy premier, previously held by James Merlino until he stepped down from cabinet before retiring last year.

Tim Pallas, who vied for the deputy premier role, stays on as treasurer after speculation he could follow Mr Andrews out the door.

Mr Carroll’s replacement as public transport minister is Gabrielle Williams, while Natalie Hutchins swapped education for jobs and industry, women and returns to the treaty and first peoples portfolio.

Colin Brooks has become minister for Development Victoria, precincts and creative industries.

In a major promotion, Harriet Shing takes over from Mr Brooks as housing minister after Labor released its housing statement last month.

Ms Allan denied it was a demotion for Mr Brooks and said her new-look ministry would have a strong focus on building more homes.

“We’ve got a massive job here,” she told reporters.

“This is the number one issue here in Victoria.”

Lizzie Blandthorn has taken charge of the expanded portfolio for children, bringing together the work across government on education and the protection system.

Tourism, Sport and Major Events Minister Steve Dimopoulos becomes environment minister, replacing Ingrid Stitt who is in charge of mental health, aging and multicultural affairs.

Eltham MP Vicki Ward was elevated into cabinet, filling Mr Andrews’ vacant spot, as minister for prevention of family violence and employment.

Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas adds ambulance services to her responsibilities.

Ms Allan was last week sworn in as Victoria’s second woman leader and the first Labor premier from regional Victoria in almost 100 years.

Victorian Opposition Leader John Pesutto almost simultaneously revealed his new shadow ministry on Monday, prompted by Matthew Bach stepping down to take a teaching role in the United Kingdom.

Under the shake-up, former opposition leader Matthew Guy returns to the frontbench as shadow public transport minister after leading the coalition to a second election drubbing in November.

Mr Guy, who was referred to the corruption watchdog by the electoral commission last year over a donor scandal involving his former chief of staff Mitch Catlin, suggested he would stay in parliament until at least the next election.

He cited his love of trains, instilled in him by his father, as a reason for taking the opposition public transport role.

“It’s in the blood,” he said.

In other moves, opposition finance spokeswoman Jess Wilson picked up early childhood and education as the coalition’s new upper house deputy leader Evan Mulholland replaced her as shadow home ownership and housing affordability minister.