Politics

Mark McGowan to serve as WA’s premier AND treasurer

Premier Mark McGowan will also serve as Western Australia’s treasurer after leading his Labor government to a landslide election victory.

McGowan’s surprise decision to add the major portfolio to his responsibilities follows the retirement of highly-regarded Treasurer Ben Wyatt.

Deputy Premier Roger Cook will remain as health minister and Rita Saffioti will continue as transport and planning minister.

Both had been viewed as strong contenders to manage the state’s finances.

McGowan’s authority is at an all-time high after he led Labor to a crushing victory that will hand the party control of both houses of parliament.

The premier said he didn’t want to shift Cook from the health portfolio while the COVID-19 pandemic was ongoing.

“Everyone’s very happy,” McGowan told reporters on Thursday.

“People understand the reasoning and everyone’s happy to be a minister. Being a minister in a government is a privilege and it’s something very few people get to experience.”

Premier Mark McGowan’s authority is at an all-time high. Credit: AAP

McGowan’s Liberal predecessor Colin Barnett also briefly served as treasurer.

Asked about his economic priorities, McGowan claimed there was a “groundswell of efforts among states in the east” to change the distribution of GST revenue which he vowed to fight using his platform at national cabinet.

He also promised to target removing red tape that held up developments.

Cook will take on the premier’s state development, jobs and trade portfolios in a move that could groom him to eventually become treasurer.

‘Always under review’

“Everything is always under review,” McGowan said.

“If in a year or two’s time the time was right to have another reshuffle, then that’s what I’d do.”

Stephen Dawson will take on Cook’s mental health portfolio and will also be responsible for shepherding long-awaited Aboriginal cultural heritage legislation as Aboriginal affairs minister.

Saffioti will add ports to her responsibilities as the government prepares to build a major new outer harbour in Kwinana.

Five new ministers – Amber-Jade Sanderson, Don Punch, Reece Whitby, Tony Buti and John Carey – will be sworn in on Friday.

Sanderson takes on the environment portfolio while Buti will serve as finance minister.

With Michelle Roberts becoming the first female Speaker of the lower house, Paul Papalia will be the new police minister.

Peter Tinley was dumped from his housing and fisheries portfolios.

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