Former Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe will continue as Liberal Treasury spokesperson in Elizabeth Lee’s shadow ministry unveiled today at the Legislative Assembly, despite his failed economic strategy during the election campaign.
Ms Lee has drawn on all nine MLAs, including new members Peter Cain and Leanne Castley, to cover the new government’s Labor/Greens ministry.
The new leader will take the shadow attorney-general role and look after Climate Action and Economic Development, Tourism and Major Projects.
Mr Coe will go head-to-head with Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr on budget matters but Ms Lee will importantly still have a strong economic focus and watch on the big infrastructure projects in the pipeline such as light rail and the Canberra Hospital expansion.
Mr Coe will also hold the key Planning and Land Management responsibility, as well as Sustainable Building and Construction.
Ms Lee defended Mr Coe’s continuing Treasury role, saying it was indication of the depth of experience that he brings to the team and that he still had much to offer.
Deputy Leader Giulia Jones will move into the Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing role, and Multicultural Affairs.
Former leader Jeremy Hanson will take over Ms Lee’s Education responsibilities, as well as Early Childhood Education, Police and Emergency Services and Veterans Affairs. He will also be the Opposition Whip in the Assembly.
Mark Parton will take Transport, Housing and Homelessness, Gaming and Community Clubs, and Sport and Recreation, as well as being the Deputy Speaker in the Assembly.
Former Deputy Leader Nicole Lawder will cover City Services, Seniors, Women and the Arts, in what looks like a lesser role for her.
Elizabeth Kikkert’s workload has been increased, tackling Families, Youth and Community Services, Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Corrections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Disability.
New MLA Peter Cain, who knocked off former Labor minister Gordon Ramsay in Ginninderra, will assist Ms Lee in covering the attorney-general role, and also look after Regulatory Services, Jobs and Workplace Affairs.
The other new MLA, Leanne Castley, has been given a heavy load for a newcomer, assisting Ms Lee in Economic Development, Tourism and Major Projects, and covering Environment and Heritage, Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction, and Business.
While Ms Lee said the party would learn from the findings of the formal review into the election result, she batted away questions over whether the Liberals would continue its economic approach, including attacking the government’s tax reform program and rates regime.
She said tax reform would one of many issues the review would look at, but cost of living would remain a priority for the Liberals.
”The Canberra Liberals will unapologetically and unashamedly always continue to fight for those Canberrans who seem to be forgotten, sidelined and abandoned by this Labor-Greens government,” Ms Lee said.
Ms Lee bridled at suggestions that it appeared the Liberals were planning to persist with a failed approach.
“I don’t think a commitment to making sure that forgotten Canberrans will always have voice through the Canberra Liberals can have anything to do with perceived failures in the election campaign,” she said.
Ms Lee defended the party’s stance on climate change, saying it had backed the 100 per cent renewable energy target and the net zero emission goal by 2045.
”We had a significant suite of policies on the environment going into 2020 and if you look at it historically, even under previous leaders we had policies such as zero waste by 2020. Look at the extensive record, it shows Labor and the Greens are clutching at straws,” she said.
Ms Lee said the party backed light rail Stage 2 to Woden bit it would persist with calls for the government to reveal its costings for the project, despite the government saying it cannot reveal its hand in negotiations with the chosen consortium.
”That’s not good enough,” she said. ” Transparency and accountability in government decisions is something we will always push for.”
Ms Lee said her team brought together experience, with energy and enthusiasm to deliver a positive vision for Canberra’s future.
“We come from a range of diverse backgrounds and will use these experiences to be the best representatives for Canberrans as we can be,” she said.
She also took aim at what could be seen as gaps in the new government’s Cabinet approach such as seniors and veterans, and the fact there is no minister from the Gungahlin-based seat of Yerrabi.
“My strong and united team stands in contrast to the Labor/Green motley crew who in their first days have already sidelined many Canberrans – from seniors to the entirety of Gungahlin who have been sidelined from this Ministry,” she said.