Victoria has a new Industry and Innovation minister in Ben Carroll, a lawyer and one-time staffer to former Labor senator and federal minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy Stephen Conroy.
Mr Carroll was sworn in as Minister for Industry and Innovation and Minister for Manufacturing Sovereignty on Monday, having spent the last six months as months as Industry Support and Recovery minister.
He also takes responsibility for employment as Minister for Employment, and continues as Minister for Public Transport.
Premier Daniel Andrews unveiled his new ministry earlier on Monday after securing a third successive term for his Labor government at the state election late last month.
The reshuffle pre-empts significant Machinery of Government changes from January that will further centralise government service functions and give Service Victoria a “proper home”.
Mr Carroll assumes the innovation and employment portfolios from Jaala Pulford, who stepped down at the election to “seek new challenges” after just over two years in the role.
The digital economy, which Ms Pulford also previously held responsibility for alongside that of medical research, is no longer represented in a ministerial title.
Newly re-appointed Minister for Health Mary-Anne Thomas has, meanwhile, assumed responsibility for medical research as Minister for Medical Research.
Mr Carroll was elected to the electorate of Niddrie in a by-election in 2012, having spent his early career as a lawyer and political advisor to former politicians, including Stephen Conroy.
As a political advisor to Mr Conroy, Mr Carroll had the “opportunity to work on Australia’s largest and most important infrastructure project, the NBN”, he said in his inaugural speech.
Following the 2014 election in which Labor first seized power, Mr Carroll spent three years as a parliamentary secretary, before becoming Minister for Industry and Employment in late 2017.
As Minister for Industry and Innovation, Mr Carroll will look to strengthen sovereign manufacturing, investment attraction, and jobs from within Cabinet, building on the Made in Victoria 2030: Manufacturing Statement policy released earlier this year.
Mr Carroll told InnovationAus.com that his “new and expanded portfolios will further strengthen [Victoria’s] sovereign capability”.
“Victoria has a proud history of making things here — I look forward to helping businesses across the state lead the nation on innovation,” he said.
“We’ll continue to support local manufacturers to succeed and create high-value jobs that deliver greater prosperity for Victorians — ensuring Victoria remains the manufacturing state in the future.”
Mr Carroll is one of only 10 cabinet ministers, sitting alongside Premier Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas.
Mr Pallas, who was first appointed Treasurer in December 2014, will also continue as Minister for Trade but will also take responsibility for the investment portfolio.
Danny Pearson will remain Assistant Treasurer and lead new Department of Government Services as Minister for Government Services.
Mr Pearson will also become Minister for WorkSafe and the Transport Accident Commission, as well as that of Minister for Consumer Affairs.
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