West Australian Liberal MP Ben Morton has been given the responsibilities of the assistant public service minister, with Health Minister Greg Hunt's focus shifting entirely to the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison transferred the responsibilities to Mr Morton on Monday. A Morrison ally, Mr Morton has already had something of a Canberra focus as chairman of the committee that oversees the national capital.
The committee conducted an inquiry into stage 2 of Canberra's light rail project, forcing a rethink of the route.
Early last year, it released a report calling for a natural history museum in Canberra, and was critical of the direction of the Museum of Australian Democracy at old Parliament House.
Mr Morrison remains Minister for the Public Service, with Mr Morton taking on the assistant responsibilities including responsibility for the Australian Public Service Commission.
He is already Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He is not taking on the title of Assistant Minister for the Public Service, just the responsibilities, so he doesn't need to be sworn in to the new job.
The shift is temporary, but an end date hasn't been set.
Mr Morton was elected in 2019 as MP for the Perth seat of Tangney. He studied at the Australian National University.
He worked as a school bus driver for Deans in Queanbeyan and for other firms from 2001 to 2003, and again in 2007. He is also a former Howard government staffer.
He is a former Liberal Party state director in Western Australia, from 2008 to 2015. He was also a manager for home building firm BGC.
Mr Morton attracted headlines last year when he hit out at big corporations being too focused on social issues and bowing to pressure from activists instead of focusing on policies for "hard-working, aspirational Australians".
"Businesses need to demonstrate how what they want will help quiet Australians - and make the case that there will be shared gains for their employees as well as themselves," Mr Morton was reported as saying.
"Instead of pretending you love paying tax or that you're building electric cars rather than mining coal, or are in the solar panel rather than the oil or gas business, tell your employees and the quiet Australians in their communities - what you can do for them."
In a statement on Monday, Mr Morton said he had the highest regard for the Public Service.
"The Australian Public Service Commission has been tasked to manage the redeployment of public servants to support the critical continued delivery of government services to the Australian public as we respond to COVID-19. This is an essential role during this time and I look forward to working with the [Public Service Commission] and agency heads as we respond," he said.
Mr Morrison said the shift would allow Mr Hunt to focus only on the coronavirus response.
"At this time, the focus of all agencies, departments and employees is on delivering the critical functions, services and needs that Australians rely on," he said.
"The Australian Public Service Commission is engaged in the coronavirus response including managing the redeployment of public servants to support the critical and continued delivery of government services."
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- An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Ben Morton had been made Assistant Minister for the Public Service. The responsibilities have been transferred to Mr Morton but not the title.