Dalidakis removed from Cabinet

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

Former Victorian Innovation Minister Philip Dalidakis has been removed from the state government’s ministry as part of a Cabinet reshuffle following Labor’s crushing re-election over the weekend.

Victoria will soon have a new innovation minister, with Premier Dan Andrews’ new ministers to be announced later this week.

Addressing the media on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Andrews thanked Mr Dalidakis for the “very gracious, very generous way” he had stepped aside, and that he was a “man who’s made way for women”. The new cabinet is now 50 per cent female.

“Philip has a very bright future and I think he will have opportunities to contribute in the future,” Mr Andrews said.

Mr Dalidakis will be re-elected as a Labor member for the southern metropolitan region, and he is expected to remain in Parliament.

The portfolios for the new state government are expected to be announced later this week, with new members including Adem Somyurek, Gabrielle Williams, Jaclyn Symes and Melissa Horne.

Former tourism minister John Eren and Natalie Hutchins had earlier announced that they would be stepping down from Cabinet due to separate personal reasons.

Mr Dalidakis was added to the Andrews government ministry in 2015 to replace Mr Somyurek, who quit after bullying allegations were made against him. The reshuffle has played out to reverse this swap.

Labor’s reshuffle also means that two of the main proponents of the controversial proposed Apple flagship store at Federation Square – Mr Dalidakis and Mr Eren – are no longer in Cabinet.

Labor was re-elected in stunning and dominant fashion on Saturday night, with the election decided less than 90 minutes after polls closed. Labor has secured 52 seats to the Coalition’s 25, with nine still hanging in the balance.

The government could end up with as many as 60 seats in the 88-seat Legislative Assembly.

Mr Dalidakis held the position of Minister for Trade and Investment, Innovation and the Digital Economy, and Small Business in the Andrews.

He was the driving force behind the Victoria’s tech and startup policy push over the last three years, with the creation of the $60 million LaunchVic and various efforts to attract overseas tech companies to establish offices in Melbourne.

He also aimed to make improving gender diversity in the tech sector a core focus of his time as minister, with a series of funding announcements through LaunchVic.

He had previously been chief executive of the Victorian Association of Forest Industries and was a deputy chief of staff to former federal Labor minister Stephen Conroy in 2011 and 2012.

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