Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt has succeeded Matt Canavan as Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia.
Pitt, who was once a sugar cane farmer, has risen to be Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister in the agriculture portfolio, Assistant Minister for trade, tourism and investment and Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister in the infrastructure portfolio since his election in 2013.
“Before entering politics I was a tradesman, an engineer, a small business owner and a farmer, and I want to bring that practical, common sense experience to the portfolio,” Pitt said.
“The resources sector in Australia is a dynamic industry with great opportunity to further develop and drive our nation forward and I look forward to the challenges this presents.”
Pitt’s appointment has met a resounding welcome from the resources industry.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive and former federal resources and energy minister Ian Macfarlane was particularly pleased to see another Queenslander taking on the “important economic portfolio” and praised Pitt for his understanding of the policy issues concerning the resources sector.
“The resources sector is at the heart of the Australian economy, and that is especially so in Queensland where it supports one in every seven jobs and generates one in every five dollars,” Macfarlane said.
“Keith Pitt has a reputation for straight-talking and as a regional Queenslander he knows first-hand about the importance of the resources sector to create jobs and investment in regional communities.
“QRC looks forward to meeting with the incoming minister to further discuss the policy developments that can encourage new and future investment and create new jobs.”
Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) chief executive Tania Constable also plans to work closely with Pitt to get policy settings that are conducive to creating jobs and strengthening regional communities.
Constable pointed that the Australian minerals industry was still facing challenges that included building the future workforce and reducing regulation and red tape for faster project approvals.
“Mr Pitt has been a strong advocate for the resources industry and the benefits it delivers regional communities like his,” she said.
“Representing regional Queensland as the Member for Hinkler, he’s lived and breathed our industry and is proud of it. He will bring passion and experience to this role.”
Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA also congratulated Queensland Nationals’ MP Keith Pitt for his elevation to the Cabinet.
“Mr Pitt has big shoes to fill, but as a passionate regional Queenslander with prior experience in the trade and investment portfolio, we are sure he is up to the challenge,” AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said.
“We have enjoyed an especially close relationship with Senator Canavan since his appointment as Minister for Resources and Northern Australia in 2016.
“Senator Canavan should be extremely proud of all he has achieved as Minister for Resources and Northern Australia… We wish him all the best for the next phase of his parliamentary career.”