Local MPs elevated in ministry reshuffle

July 4, 2022 BY

Outgoing police minister Lisa Neville (left) with new Parliamentary Secretary for First Peoples Christine Couzens and new Parliamentary Secretary for the Commonwealth Games Darren Cheeseman. Photo: SUPPLIED

A MINISTRY reshuffle of the Andrews Government has seen three local state MPs adding new titles to their political profiles.

Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney, South Barwon MP Darren Cheeseman and Geelong MP Christine Couzens have received new responsibilities.

The ministry shake-up was a result of four state Cabinet members announcing their impending retirements from politics, including former police minister and Bellarine MP Lisa Neville.

Ms Tierney will add Agriculture to her existing portfolios of Training and Skills and Higher Education.

Mr Cheeseman is the new Parliamentary Secretary for the Commonwealth Games, a role he said he will relish while reporting to new Deputy Premier Jacinta Allen, who was given the responsibility of delivering the Games.

“This is a remarkable chance to sell our region to the many residents of the Commonwealth worldwide,” Mr Cheeseman said.

“The Games will bring over $3 billion in economic benefit for Victoria over the next decade, create over 7,000 jobs, be a catalyst for investment in regional Victoria and build a lasting legacy for our state.

“It was a humbling experience to be offered this opportunity by the Premier, and I look forward to playing my role in this incredible opportunity for our state.”

Ms Couzens was named Parliamentary Secretary for First Peoples.

She said the introduction of the Treaty Authority Bill into Parliament earlier this week was a vital step towards a Treaty for the self-determination of Aboriginal Victorians.

“We are establishing an independent Treaty Authority with the ability to deliver an innovative approach to Treaty negotiations based on Aboriginal lore, law, and cultural authority,” Ms Couzens said.

“Being married to a proud Gunditjmara man, I saw first-hand the racism he faced. And before he died at the age of 26, we never got the chance to talk about Treaty, or the recognition of First Nations people.

“He was just too busy battling racism that was in our community. I’d like to think he would be proud of the big step we took towards Treaty in Victoria this week.

“I’ll work hard every day towards a better future for Victoria’s First Peoples.”

The new ministry was officially sworn in on Monday this week.