NSW Ports and Waterways Minister Paul McLeay has been handed the State’s Mineral and Forest Resources portfolio, following the resignation of Ian Macdonald on Friday.
Macdonald announced his resignation after it was revealed he had claimed a personal trip to Rome in 2008 under his Parliamentary travel expenses.
His numerous portfolios were split amongst four current ministers, including Treasurer Eric Roozendaal, who will take over responsibilities for State and Regional Development.
Scandal has rarely been far from Macdonald for most of the last year and some parts of the Sydney media dubbed him ‘Sir Lunchalot’ after revelations of meals at the public expense.
McLeay, a former union official and public servant, was elected into the Sutherland Shire seat of Heathcote in March 2003.
This is the second time he has assumed a portfolio previously held by a controversial member of the current NSW Government.
He took over the Ports and Waterways portfolio in November last year, after Joe Tripodi was sensationally removed from the post by then-Premier Nathan Rees at the Labor Party’s State Conference.
Macdonald was also removed from the Primary Industries portfolio on the same day.
Less than three weeks later, the Party caucus voted to oust Rees in favour of Kristina Keneally, who reinstated Macdonald.
McLeay is also currently serving as the Minister for the Illawarra region and has previously served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health.
The chief executive of the NSW Minerals Council, Dr Nikki Williams, has welcomed the appointment.
“Through his current ministerial responsibilities and as the member for Heathcote, Minister McLeay has a clear understanding of the contribution and significance of mining in NSW,” she said.
“Adding Mineral Resources to his Illawarra and Ports and Waterways portfolios makes sense and we look forward to building a constructive relationship over coming months.”