Steve Whan has taken up the New South Wales Mineral and Forest Resources portfolio vacated by former Minister Paul McLeay earlier this week, the State’s Premier Kristina Keneally announced today.
McLeay offered his resignation on Wednesday, when an IT audit of the State Parliament’s computers revealed he had been accessing adult and gambling websites.
Whan will add the Minerals portfolio to his existing responsibilities as the Minister for Primary Industries.
He is also currently serving as the Minister for Emergency Services and Minister for Rural Affairs.
In a statement today, NSW Minerals Council chief executive Dr Nikki Williams said she hoped the re-shuffle would the last before the State election.
“We welcome the appointment of Steve Whan as Minister for Mineral Resources and look forward to working with him,” she said.
“But we should not let this moment pass without recognising that Mr Whan is the fifth minister with responsibility for the minerals industry in six years.
“The revolving door at Macquarie Street sends all the wrong signals about investment and doing business in NSW.
“The $23 billion minerals industry in this State is looking to the Government for stability and leadership, not a game of political musical chairs.”
Williams said the chopping and changing of ministers was making it difficult for the industry and the community to have their voices heard in Government.
“This most recent change comes at a critical time for mining in NSW, as the new Cabinet Sub-Committee develops its Strategic Plan for coal,” she said.
“It is crucial that the Government gets this right.
“They must ensure the right balance between developing the State’s resources and the benefits that delivers for the people of NSW as well as minimising the impacts of any developments.”
Whan was elected to the regional seat of Monaro in 2003 and has previously worked with the Australian Sports Commission.