Dr Bourke will become the Minister for Education and Training and take on the portfolios of Corrections and Industrial Relations.
Significantly, he will also become the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, making him both the first Aboriginal Minister to serve in an ACT Government and the first Aborigine to take carriage of this important portfolio.
“I welcome Dr Bourke to the front bench and look forward to working closely with him,” the Chief Minister said.
“The time had come to appoint a fifth Minister to my Cabinet. Dr Bourke has settled in to his role very well following his election to the Assembly. He has worked hard over the past six months and is ready to take the next step to serve the community and support the Government’s work.
“Dr Bourke’s personal and professional achievements are extensive, making him a great asset to our front bench. He was the first Aborigine to complete a dental degree; he has experience running a private practice; and he has been a member of both Regional Development Australia and the Campaign for Indigenous Health Equality (Close the Gap). He has also been chairman of the Australian Dental Association (ACT Division), President of the Indigenous Dentists’ Association of Australia, and Chairperson of the ACT Indigenous Education Consultative Body,” Ms Gallagher said.
But wait! There’s more, in fact a broader reshuffle.
- — The Chief Minister is keeping Health, but picking up Territory And Municipal services. This returns the “Mayor of Canberra” model that Jon Stanhope used well in his later years.
— Andrew Barr is keeping Treasury and picking up Economic Development and Tourism, Sport and Recreation.
— Simon Corbell keeps planning, police, emergency services, and the Attorney-General’s hat.
— Joy Burch is picking up Gaming and Racing
Photo by @ScottHoward82 on Twitter.
UPDATE: Dr Bourke has now put out a statement on his elevation:
“I am particularly excited by the portfolio responsibilities the Chief Minister has given me including Education and Training, Industrial Relations, Corrections and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs,” Dr Bourke said.
“For me the vision is clear: we must use our existing assets in the knowledge economy to build the Clever Capital where ideas are grown and then marketed to the world.
“Canberra is home to five universities and the CIT as well as research institutions like the CSIRO. Of course education is about more than the tertiary sector. I recently visited the Southern Cross Early Childhood School in Scullin in my electorate. This innovative school has early childhood education and care, preschool and junior primary school – all on one campus. It is the beginning of a seamless approach to education, from cradle to work,” Dr Bourke said.
FURTHER UPDATE: The University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Steven Parker has wasted no time congratulating Dr Bourke.
I welcome his appointment and I know he will bring energy and talent to this important portfolio in what are undoubtedly exciting times for education in the capital.
Education is the ACT’s largest export (outside government services) and I am sure the new minister shares our vision of making Canberra an Education City. My colleagues and I look forward to working with him to make this vision a reality.