Entitlements fix falls to Mal Brough in cabinet shuffle
DRIVING defence-related innovation opportunities, bringing clarity to entitlements and shaping reforms after an inquiry into Senate voting practices.
Mal Brough's elevation back into the Federal Government ministry looms as quite the juggling act for the experienced Fisher MP, with a number of key issues to fall under his expanded areas of responsibility.
The newly appointed Defence Materiel and Science Minister and Special Minister of State spoke from Canberra yesterday after being sworn in, marking his return to a ministerial portfolio.
The former Howard Government's Indigenous Affairs Minister said he was excited at the opportunity to once again tackle large-scale issues as the Member for Fisher while working closely with new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
"It's a bit of a challenge ahead," Mr Brough said.
"As Special Minister of State ... I'll be handling the Australian Electoral Commission and looking at whether we'll be tackling reforms to the Senate voting system.
"We will work out where we go to next in dealing with the tricky issue of entitlements, too. We'll be looking to create clarity and certainty and meet public expectations there."
As for his defence responsibilities, Mr Brough said first on the agenda would be a meeting with newly appointed Defence Minister Marise Payne.
The former Human Services Minister became the first female Defence Minister in Australia when she was appointed by Mr Turnbull.
Mr Brough said he was looking forward to meeting with her and Mr Turnbull soon to outline what was needed to help the Defence Department operate effectively.
"One of the main things I do want to do is support and promote the defence industries," he said.
"We want to try and create more jobs and opportunities through there (innovation in defence industries)."
Despite the magnitude of his new portfolio, Mr Brough said he was confident it would not affect his representation of his electorate.
"First and foremost, you are a local member," he said.
"Hopefully my close relationship with Malcolm (Turnbull) will be a positive for the Coast."
Mr Brough said the fact that there were a number of ministry portfolios and ministerial positions within the south-east Queensland pocket would also help the region.
"I never like to overstate it but it certainly doesn't hinder us," he said.
Mr Turnbull flagged his interest yesterday in driving major infrastructure projects forward to better service capital cities and regional centres, a potentially positive sign for the seemingly stalled North Coast Rail Line duplication project.
Mr Turnbull indicated he would work with state governments to deliver infrastructure.