Tasmanian Cabinet reshuffle sees Michael Ferguson dumped as health minister


June 30, 2019 14:24:30

Tasmania’s Premier Will Hodgman has moved Michael Ferguson from the health ministry and handed the portfolio to Sarah Courtney in a Cabinet reshuffle.

It follows months of calls from the Opposition for Mr Ferguson to be sacked from the health portfolio.

He has been appointed Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, State Growth, Small Business and retains the science and technology portfolio.

Premier Will Hodgman said Mr Ferguson had done an “extraordinary job” in what was “one of the biggest jobs in government”.

“He has without doubt been one of the state’s greatest health ministers, he has done an outstanding job,” he said.

“He now has another massive job to do, and that is the state’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Minister for State Growth.”

Mr Ferguson has faced years of unrelenting pressure from opposition parties, more recently Speaker Sue Hickey, as well as health professionals.

Last August, he was publicly dressed down by clinician Frank O’Keefe who gate-crashed a press conference and demanded answers over bed shortages.

Today Mr Hodgman denied he had lost confidence in Mr Ferguson.

“It will refresh our team and provide new leadership. I can assure you of my confidence in each and every one of my ministers, because all those jobs I have outlined are important,” he said.

In a shake-up of health, Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff will become the Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, and will take on the sport and recreation portfolio while retaining education and training.

In October, Ms Courtney was moved from the primary industries portfolio and forced to apologise to the Premier after revealing she was in a relationship with the head of the Department of Primary Industries, John Whittington.

Ms Courtney will also take over Jacqui Petrusma’s portfolio, with the current Minister for Women leaving Cabinet because of health reasons.

Ms Courtney’s old portfolios of building and construction will be added to Attorney-General Elise Archer’s workload, and resources will go back to Guy Barnett.

In other changes, Mark Shelton has scored a promotion and is taking on Mr Ferguson’s old role as Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management, as well as Local Government.

With Mr Ferguson and Mr Shelton taking on some of his old workload, Treasurer Peter Gutwein is replacing Ms Archer as the new Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage.

Mr Hodgman is adding advanced manufacturing and defence industries and the new portfolio of prevention of family violence to his existing portfolios of tourism and hospitality, and events and trade.






First posted

June 30, 2019 13:12:58

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