Prime Minister–elect Tony Abbott will name his front bench today, with Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane expected to be appointed as minister for both resources and industry.
Macfarlane, who served as industry minister between 2001-2007 under then prime minister John Howard, would take over from Labor’s Gary Gray as energy and resources minister, and is most likely to replace Sophie Mirabella as the Coalition’s industry spokesperson.
Mirabella announced last week that she would make herself available for the portfolio, with continued uncertainty that she will retain her seat of Indi, where she trails independent challenger Cathy McGowan by 515 votes at the time of writing.
Mining executives last week are exhibiting a “new sense of optimism, according to The Australian last week, after disagreements with the last government over the carbon and mining taxes.
The Coalition announced two new item of funding for manufacturing during the election campaign, worth $50 million each, under its Policy to Boost the Competitiveness of Australian Manufacturing.
These are a Manufacturing Transition Fund, to “provide grant funding of up to $10 million to help communities transition to new and expanding manufacturing sectors”, and restoring funding to Export Market Development grants, to assist SMEs, particularly those producing niche and high-value products, to develop export markets.