KRISTY MCBAIN WON re-election with a confidence vote of close to 60% from her Eden-Monaro constituents. A bellwether electorate high point. Her Labor peers have thanked her, amongst a swag of new women entering the Albanese government ministries, with the portfolio of Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories.
That’s in the outer ministry, if you are missing her name in the roll call of the new Labor cabinet. Given the portfolio, we in the regions can look forward to seeing as much of McBain as we did before. And there are plenty of projects waiting for regional development, including clean energy and other innovative business, small and large, recreation and tourism that would benefit Eden-Monaro and the Australian Capital Territory.
Agitating for post-bushfire recovery and regional development has been a major plank for the former Mayor of Bega who was elected to federal parliament only two years ago in a by-election upon the retirement of Mike Kelly.
You go Kristy!
Portfolios that impact our environment
Looking at other appointments close to our Bulletin focus on environment, Tanya Plibersek takes up the environment and water portfolio, coming from education which could have a good intersect. Doubtless we need to be better educated and take better care of environment and water in this country.
Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said in a media release:
“Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has elevated the standing of environment and water in the federal government by appointing one of Labor’s most talented and experienced ministers to the portfolio.
“I have known Tanya for 25 years and know she will bring intelligence, care and passion to this incredibly important and challenging portfolio.
“We look forward to working with Federal Labor to save koalas, revive the Murray-Darling and put the protection of nature at the heart of government decision making.”
To which we here add hopes for new understanding to save not only the koala and the major river system, but Australia’s biodiversity wholesale.
Biodiversity — wildlife, vegetation and ecosystems are under increased pressure from profit-making businesses that have enjoyed deregulation allowing developments to extract or remove more native Australian flora and fauna, soil and water, and at times compromise marine environments.
While the states manage Australia’s natural environments along with primary production and ‘resources’ (that includes killing kangaroos for petfood and skins), the federal government has a few review and gatekeeper roles that were rarely applied to safeguard the natural environment in the past decade and have been allowed to decay. Things can only improve from there.
Of the ministry of climate and energy appointments, the Nature Conservation Council wrote:
“Chris Bowen’s formidable intellect and political skills make him perfectly suited for one of the most challenging policy areas in modern Australian politics.
“He has a deep understanding of the unprecedented economic opportunities presented by Australia’s abundant clean-energy resources while also being acutely aware of the consequences of inaction.
Bowen’s assistant for climate and energy Jenny McAllister got this bouquet:
“She has a long history of working on climate issues at the state and federal levels and was a co-founder the Labor Environmental Action Network (LEAN).
“We have had many positive interactions with the Senator over several years and look forward to working constructively with her wherever possible.”
Queensland Senator Murray Watts has been named Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, a portfolio which has a huge potential impact on the natural environment (and on farm climate change action) and under the previous government(s) simply maintained and extended extractive activities while also warring with environmentalists.
The Nature Conservation Council put it this way: “We look forward to ending the phony culture war prosecuted by his predecessors.” As conservation advocates, they expressed hope for a constructive way forward with primary producers and other land managers on climate action and biodiversity conservation.
Amen to that.
IMAGE: Tamara Penniket, ABC News