Vasse MP Libby Mettam promoted to state government whip

VASSE MP Libby Mettam was promoted to WA Government whip this week, following a cabinet shake up where three Liberal MPs challenged Premier Colin Barnett’s leadership.

Vasse MP Libby Mettam was appointed WA Government whip.

Vasse MP Libby Mettam was appointed WA Government whip.

On Tuesday a spill motion was moved by Murray Cowper but was defeated 31-15 in a vote by Liberal MPs, which proved to be no challenge to Mr Barnett.

The spill motion was moved after former transport minister Dean Nalder and former local government minister Tony Simpson resigned from their positions and questioned Mr Barnett’s leadership style.

Mr Barnett announced that three ministers would be promoted to the state cabinet on Thursday afternoon, which included a dedicated agriculture and food minister.

Ms Mettam was also announced as the WA Government whip.

“I am very pleased to be to be taking on this new challenge less than two years after being elected as Member for Vasse,” Ms Mettam said. 

“Whilst this parliamentary role is one I will take seriously, it pales in comparison to representing the good people and the important issues of the Vasse electorate, which will always be my number one priority.”

Taking on the transport portfolio is Bill Marmion, who Mr Barnett said was a Main Roads civil engineer before he entered state parliament.

“He has been a minister since 2010 and I have every confidence he is the right person to continue to move forward major public infrastructure projects such as the Forrestfield to Airport Link, NorthLink WA and Roe 8," he said.

Mr Marmion will divest his finance portfolio to Sean L’Estrange, who would add to his Mines and Petroleum and Small Business portfolios.

Wanneroo MP Paul Miles was promoted to Minister for Local Government, Community Services, Seniors and Volunteering and Youth.

Mr Barnett said Paul understood the importance of how people contribute and strengthen to a community.

Mr Miles, who has been Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General and Minister for Commerce since March 2013, said he was looking forward to elevating the important role of seniors and the invaluable work of volunteers in the community.

"As a Lions Club member for 30 years, communities are close to my heart," he said.

Agricultural scientist and Mining and Pastoral Region MP Mark Lewis has been appointed Agriculture and Food Minister.

Mr Barnett said Mr Lewis was involved in developing irrigated agricultural opportunities and held management positions within the Department of Agriculture and Food in a region which covered the extent of his current electorate.

"Mark was raised on farming, cattle and sheep properties in Queensland and will bring to the portfolio a vast knowledge about the agricultural sector and the challenges it faces."

The Premier said the sector was among a number of industries critical to the broadening of the economy and progress policies which included upgrading the Doppler tower network and launching the WA biosecurity strategy.

"The opportunity for new people, with new ideas, to sit at the State Cabinet table will re-energise the Cabinet and the Liberal National Government as we move toward the March 2017 election," he said​.

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