ACT News


Rattenbury named 'de facto lord mayor'

Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury has been appointed Canberra's de facto lord mayor and Joy Burch will be Education Minister in Chief Minister Katy Gallagher's new cabinet.

Mr Rattenbury will take on the Territory and Municipal Services portfolio under the Labor-Greens power-sharing arrangements. He will also be responsible for Corrections, Housing, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, and Ageing.

The Territory and Municipal Service Minister is responsible for council-type services such as roads and rubbish, and is traditionally the ACT's representative at meetings of capital city lord mayors.

Mr Rattenbury said the TAMS portfolio contained many areas he was interested in, such as public transport and cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

''TAMS is the largest land manager in the ACT. It has considerable environmental responsibilities for the ACT, be it conservation areas, or the lakes, or a range of others in between,'' he said.

Mr Rattenbury said he was not disappointed to miss out on the Attorney-General or Environment portfolios, which will continue to be held by Simon Corbell. ''TAMS was in fact the portfolio I suggested to the Chief Minister I'd like to take on. I'm very pleased she's trusted with me the responsibility for that,'' he said.


Mr Rattenbury, Treasurer Andrew Barr and Mr Corbell will form a sub-cabinet committee to develop plans for a light rail network.

As Corrections Minster, Mr Rattenbury will work with Ms Gallagher on the proposed introduction of a prison needle and syringe exchange program.

Liberal leader Zed Seselja criticised Ms Gallagher for putting the assembly's only Greens MLA in charge of a major service-delivery portfolio. ''He [Mr Rattenbury] is effectively the lord mayor,'' Mr Seselja said.

''Katy Gallagher has promoted Shane Rattenbury through this. She has taken one party that saw a big swing against it and made it central to this Labor-Greens government. They have put the Greens at the very centre of service delivery and decision-making in the ACT government. I don't believe that's what the community voted for.''

But Ms Gallagher, who is relinquishing TAMS and keeping health, predicted Mr Rattenbury would do a good job in cabinet. ''Shane is a legitimate member of this cabinet, he needs a legitimate workload. He's got one and I've shaped that around the discussions we've had around interests, skills and the job that needs to be done.''

Ms Burch will pick up Education from dumped minister Chris Bourke. Mr Barr will take over Ms Burch's former Community Services portfolio. Mr Corbell will be responsible for Industrial Relations and the newly-created portfolio of Workplace Safety.

Under the new cabinet line-up, the Community Services Directorate will have three ministers: Mr Barr, Ms Burch and Mr Rattenbury. But Ms Gallagher did not believe this would cause any difficulties.


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