Chief Minister Andrew Barr has announced his refreshed team to take the Government through to next year’s election, including new Minister Suzanne Orr, who will take on roles in disability, community services and employment, and Tara Cheyne as the new Special Secretary to the Chief Minister.
Mick Gentleman will remain in planning despite Ms Orr’s credentials as an urban planner, and she will take on the Disability portfolio, with oversight of the Territory’s complete transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
She will also have responsibility for Community Services and Facilities, Employment and Workplace Safety and Government Services and Procurement, including oversight of the ACT’s Secure Local Jobs code, which ensures that companies tendering for work with the ACT Government treat their employees fairly.
Ms Orr relieves new Heath Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith of some of her workload, with other Ministers staying in their roles.
She said making sure the people in the Canberra community have access to the NDIS services and funding they needed was a priority.
“As a backbencher I was working with constituents who were experiencing difficulties with the NDIS and accessing the packages and services through that. I see stepping up into the Ministers role as a continuation of that work with the community advocating on their behalf and advocating to the federal level and making sure we get the best deal we can for Canberrans,” Mr Orr said.
People with Disability ACT welcomed Ms Orr to the role, saying it looked forward to working with her to make Canberra an even more inclusive city for the 65,000 residents with a disability.
Ms Cheyne (Ginninderra) will support the Chief Minister and help prosecute the Government’s position on the key issues of assisted dying and price gouging in the Territory.
“This non-executive role recognises Tara’s recent work in advocating on a number of important social policy reforms, including voluntary assisted dying. Tara has also been a passionate voice for Canberrans that are being ripped off by petrol companies through her work as the Chair of the Select Committee on Fuel Pricing in the ACT,” Mr Barr said.
Ms Cheyne will champion the ACT’s efforts to have the Andrews Bill overturned in the Federal Parliament so the Legislative Assembly is able to legislate on assisted dying, as the states can.
She will also consult with the community to identify market failures that are leading to poorer outcomes for Canberra consumers.
Mr Barr said there were no radical changes to Cabinet portfolios but the Government wanted to have an emphasis on a number of important social and consumer issues.
He said in the coming weeks, the Government would release a comprehensive Infrastructure Plan and the Climate Change Strategy.
The Government would also start work on delivering a number of significant projects including the new emergency and critical care facility on the Canberra Hospital campus (the SPIRE Centre) and the next stage of Canberra’s light rail network linking Gungahlin to the Woden Town Centre.