Monday, June 24, 2024

Former Minister returns to NSW cabinet

NSW Premier, Chris Minns today announced changes to the NSW Ministry that he says will boost the government’s focus on skills, domestic manufacturing and the importance of TAFE to regional NSW.

Former Minister in the previous Labor Government and Member for Monaro, Steve Whan (pictured), was today sworn in as the Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education.

“The appointment of highly experienced former Minister Steve Whan to cabinet will ensure another strong voice for regional NSW at the centre of government,” said Premier Minns.

“Steve has represented all communities, but particularly rural and regional NSW, with distinction throughout his career as a former Minister for Rural Affairs, Primary Industries, Emergency Services and Small Business.

“He will bring his considerable skills and experience to helping rebuild TAFE and the VET sector after decades of under-funding.

Minister for Finance and Minister for Natural Resources, Courtney Houssos MLC, was sworn in to the new, additional portfolio of Domestic Manufacturing and Government Procurement.

“As Minister for Finance, Courtney Houssos has been critical to getting waste and debt under control and shaping a budget that will deliver for the people of NSW,” said Mr Minns.

“I have asked Courtney to step into the highly important area of boosting domestic manufacturing and to end the exodus of jobs and ideas offshore.”

The Premier said the changes to the ministry underscore the NSW Government’s commitment to domestic manufacturing and build the pipeline of skilled workers to drive productivity and jobs in NSW.

As part of the 2023–2024 Budget, the government has committed $9.8 billion to build new and upgraded schools and other educational facilities. The budget also included an additional $112.0 million to meet the TAFE funding shortfall and 1000 extra apprentices across the NSW Government by 2026 at a cost of $93.5 million.

“I am honoured to be appointed to this important portfolio that is not just a key part of the delivery of education in NSW but is critical to the skills and jobs pipeline in our state,” said Minister Whan.

“I know that across NSW, local TAFEs are an integral part of the fabric of regional communities.

“I want to be their champion and see those campuses and institutions get the respect, resourcing and prominence they deserve,” he said.

New Domestic Manufacturing and Government Procurement Minister, Courtney Houssos.

The Premier said the new portfolio of Domestic Manufacturing and Government Procurement will drive the return to domestic manufacturing and building things here again, using government procurement power to boost local jobs.

The 2023–2024 Budget will kickstart this effort with $43 million for 7 new Australian-made Parramatta River Class ferries and $71.1 million to return Freshwater Class ferries to the Circular Quay-Manly route.

“From February 2011 to February 2023, NSW lost 71,000 manufacturing jobs,” said Minister Houssos.

“We need to build things here again and we need to build things that work. Around the globe, countries are focused on rebuilding their local capacity. This includes with direct spending through government procurement, but also getting the policy settings right to encourage broader investment.

“I am excited to be working with my new ministerial colleague, Steve Whan, on end-to-end policy and delivery solutions to boost skills, jobs and local manufacturing,” she said.

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