Close takes command of SA skills in Cabinet reshuffle

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

South Australian deputy premier Susan Close has relinquished control of the Defence and Space Industries portfolio to the Treasurer in a Malinauskas Cabinet reshuffle prompted by housing, decarbonisation and AUKUS.

Ms Close will replace the crucial South Australian portfolio with a new responsibility for workforce and population strategy, and still retains the Industry, Innovation and Science portfolio.

The first changes to the South Australian cabinet since Peter Malinauskas swept to power in 2022 were announced Monday and see seven ministers take on new or changed responsibilities.

Prompted by the resignation last week of independent minister Geoff Brock from cabinet, fellow independent and former Liberal Dan Cregan joins Cabinet in the reshuffle.

Deputy premier Susan Close at the SouthStart innovation festival last year

Deputy premier Susan Close is taking on a new responsibility as Minister for Workforce and Population Strategy as the state looks to get the most out of a $2.29 billion in new skills funding agreed with the Commonwealth.

“As a state, we are at a critical juncture,” Premier Malinauskas said.

“We have a nation-leading economy, low unemployment and a huge pipeline of work coming our way which has the capacity to result in a more complex economy, delivering better jobs and higher wages to South Australians.”

Mr Malinauskas said the reshuffle will help South Australia capitalise on opportunities arising from the AUKUS global security pact — that includes nuclear powered submarines and advanced technologies eventually being built in the state — and the decarbonisation trend.

“South Australia is growing, and we need a coordinated approach to developing the skilled workforce we need to build the workforce we will need, and to that end, I am grateful the Deputy Premier Susan Close has agreed to take on the challenge of Minister for Workforce and Population Strategy,” he said.

Treasurer Stephen Campbell picks up the Defence and Space portfolio from Ms Close, representing a move down the state’s order of precedence.

Minister Joe Szakacs will take responsibility for the portfolios of Trade and Investment, Local Government and Veterans Affairs.

Andrea Michaels, the state’s Small Business and Arts minister who represents South Australia at the state and the data and digital ministers’ meeting, has no change in responsibilities.

The new look Malinauskas Ministry:

  • Peter Malinauskas
    Member of Executive Council
  • Dr Susan Close
    Deputy Premier
    Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
    Minister for Climate, Environment and Water
    Minister for Workforce and Population Strategy
    Member of Executive Council
  • Kyam Maher
    Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Attorney-General
    Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector
    Member of Executive Council
    Leader of Government Business in the Legislative Council
  • Tom Koutsantonis
    Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister for Energy and Mining
    Member of Executive Council
    Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly
  • Stephen Mullighan
    Minister for Defence and Space Industries
    Member of Executive Council
  • Zoe Bettison
    Minister for Tourism
    Minister for Multicultural Affairs
    Member of Executive Council
  • Chris Picton
    Minister for Health and Wellbeing
    Member of Executive Council
  • Katrine Hildyard
    Minister for Child Protection
    Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing
    Member of Executive Council
  • Nat Cook
    Minister for Human Services
    Minister for Seniors and Ageing Well
    Member of Executive Council
  • Clare Scriven
    Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister for Forest Industries
    Member of Executive Council
  • Blair Boyer
    Minister for Education, Training and Skills
    Member of Executive Council
  • Andrea Michaels
    Minister for Small and Family Business Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs Minister for Arts
    Member of Executive Council
  • Joe Szakacs
    Minister for Trade and Investment
    Minister for Local Government
    Minister for Veterans Affairs
    Member of Executive Council
  • Nick Champion
    Minister for Housing and Urban Development
    Minister for Housing Infrastructure
    Minister for Planning
    Member of Executive Council
  • Dan Cregan
    Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services
    Special Minister of State Member of Executive Council
  • Emily Bourke
    Assistant Minister for Autism
  • Rhiannon Pearce
    Assistant Minister for Junior Sport Participation

A new housing ‘super portfolio” has been created, pulling together the state’s planning, housing infrastructure, water and land agencies with a new Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Minister Nick Champion will have portfolio responsibilities while the new department will be led by David Reynolds, the current Chief Executive of the Department for Trade and Investment, and former Under Treasurer.

Independent Dan Cregan, who quit the Liberal Party in 2021, joins the cabinet as Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, as well as Special Minister of State.

Former Tourism Minister and Labor stalwart Leon Bignell is reportedly set to be installed as Mr Cregan’s replacement as speaker, a move requiring him to temporarily leave the Australin Labor Party.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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