Chief Minister Andrew Barr has insisted a reshuffle of his cabinet will allow the government to better focus on its main priorities over the upcoming year as a long-serving minister has lost a key portfolio.
Mick Gentleman has lost the planning ministry after holding the role for more than seven years and after overseeing significant changes to the territory's planning laws. The role will be taken on by Chris Steel.
Planning has been one of the most contentious portfolios and Mr Gentleman faced criticism after a review of planning did not include an examination of the governance. But Mr Barr said the change was to better align the transport and planning agenda.
"Mick Gentleman has taken the planning reform project through to a point of effective completion in the handover, Mick to Chris in this instance, the focus is on housing supply and rolling out new transport infrastructure," Mr Barr said.
Mr Gentleman has also lost the corrections ministry. Corrections will be taken over by the Greens' Emma Davidson, who already holds the justice health portfolio.
While he has lost ministries, Mr Gentleman has gained the business and multicultural affairs portfolios, which were previously held by Tara Cheyne, and will also take on a new portfolio of crime prevention. The crime prevention portfolio will be targeted at tackling recidivism, Mr Barr said.
Ms Cheyne will take over city services from Mr Steel.
Ms Davidson has lost the disability ministry which will now be taken on by Rachel Stephen-Smith. Ms Davidson had been critical of proposed NDIS changes. Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said she was disappointed she had to hand over this ministry.
"Emma has been a passionate and effective Minister for Disability and has championed fixing the NDIS to ensure that no one is left behind," Mr Rattenbury said.
"Her strong performance is acknowledged by disability advocates and services and she is disappointed to have to hand over responsibility for the next phase of work."
Mr Barr did not say whether Ms Davidson's removal from disability was due to her opposition of the proposed NDIS changes when asked, instead he said it was to bring together disability and health.
Ms Davidson has also taken on a new ministry for population health.
"This role encompasses oversight of preventative health, alcohol and other drugs programs, blood-borne viruses and e-cigarettes, taking a holistic approach to creating conditions for wellbeing for the people in our city," Mr Rattenbury said.
The Greens' Rebecca Vassarotti will add parks and land management, previously held by Mr Gentleman, to her environment portfolio.
Mr Barr said neither the Greens or Labor wanted to promote someone from the backbench into a ministry. The power-sharing agreement between the parties says the Greens must have three ministers in cabinet.
"I did raise with the Greens leader whether they would seek any personnel changes [but] the answer was no. They believed the three ministerial nominees were their best team," he said.
"On our side, I was comfortable with the work of each of the ministers. Some portfolio changes are always necessary but I value the experience and teamwork we have with the Labor ministers."
Mr Barr said he would not demote someone based on a policy argument.
"I'm a consensus leader. I don't banish people off into exile if there is a policy disagreement," he said.
"I think the key role of the chief minister is to be able to work well with people across the political spectrum."
Mr Barr said portfolios had been shifted around so ministers could manage workloads. He said they had also changed to better align responsibilities.
"There's obviously a lot of work across all of the ministerial portfolios and another factor in any reshuffle is ensuring that across the nine minister's the workload is balance and that's what I've sought to to with this refresh," he said.
Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee was critical of the changes involving Mr Gentleman, Ms Davidson and Mr Steel, saying they were "incompetent and underperforming" and Mr Barr should have got rid of them.
"The most concerning part of this reshuffle is that Mick Gentleman who is notoriously anti-business has been given the business portfolio which should ring alarm bells for our business community," she said.
"Chris Steel who has presided over the mismanagement and waste of hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars has now been given planning at a time when the planning portfolio is undergoing a significant overhaul.
"The fact that Andrew Barr has kept Emma Davidson in any portfolio at all following a number of failings in Mental Health, let alone giving her additional responsibilities is astounding."
Mr Barr also announced a new sub-committee for cabinet to focus on cost-of-living in the lead up to next year's budget.
"The sub-committee will be tasked with developing proposals that can alleviate financial pressure on Canberrans most impacted by energy, education, health and transport costs during a period of high national inflation," Mr Barr said.
Government ministers (changes in bold)
- Andrew Barr: Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Trade, Investment and Economic Development and Minister for Tourism
- Yvette Berry: Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for Women, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence and Minister for Sport and Recreation
- Mick Gentleman: Minister for Business, Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Police and Crime Prevention
- Shane Rattenbury: Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction and Minister for Gaming
- Rachel Stephen-Smith: Minister for Health, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs
- Chris Steel: Minister for Planning, Minister for Skills and Training, Minister for Transport and Special Minister of State
- Tara Cheyne: Minister for the Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Minister for City Services, Minister for Government Services and Regulatory Reform and Minister for Human Rights
- Rebecca Vassarotti: Minister for the Environment, Parks and Land Management, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction
- Emma Davidson: Minister for Community Services, Seniors and Veterans, Minister for Corrections and Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health and Minister for Population Health