Ex-Queensland state minister John McVeigh joins federal cabinet

FILE PHOTO: Nationals MP David Littleproud has a beer with Nationals candidate for New England, Barnaby Joyce, at the Aero Club in Tamworth, the evening before the New England by-election, on Friday 1 December 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex EllinghausenFormer Newman government minister John McVeigh has been promoted to the federal cabinet as part of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s pre-Christmas reshuffle.

The Prime Minister announced the cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr McVeigh, the former agricultural minister turned federal member for Groom, will be the Minister for Regional Development.

Mr McVeigh resigned from the Queensland Parliament in April 2016 following his LNP preselection for the seat of Groom, triggering a by-election in his seat of Toowoomba South.

The federal seat became vacant when Ian Macfarlane, a minister in the Abbott government, quit federal politics earlier that year.

Mr McVeigh went on to win the federal seat of Groom, which was once held by his father, Tom, in the 1980s.

Mr McViegh said it was a great honour and very humbling to be promoted to cabinet.

“I recognise there is a lot of work ahead of me,” he said.

Mr McViegh said his role as a minister for the Newman government not only covered the regional industries of agriculture, fisheries and forestry but he also sat on some COAG committee with other states, territory and federal ministers, including the Northern Australian Ministerial Forum.

“So I have had a lot of experience working with other states, particularly across the Northern Territory and Western Australia in collaboration with Queensland so [I have] a good background in reaching out beyond the state boundaries in that role,” he said.

“I am very excited, I do believe I have a good background and skill in the area.

“In the last six months or so I’ve chaired the parliamentary selection committee for regional development and decentralisation and through that role have been to every state and territory in the country in recent months so have had a little bit of a head start there as well.”

Mr McViegh said he was thrilled to be able to join with the likes of Peter Dutton and Steven Ciobo from Queensland in the cabinet.

First-time Queensland LNP backbencher David Littleproud, who sat in the Nationals party room, has also been promoted to cabinet as Agriculture and Water Minister.

When Mr Turnbull was asked if Mr Littleproud as a first-termer was qualified for the frontbench he said he was a very capable man.

“He’s had 20 years’ experience in agribusiness. He really does understand agriculture very well, both at a practical level and at a financial level. So no, he’s certainly well-qualified.” he said.

Mr Littleproud said it was Mr Turnbull who got to chose who had the best experience to fill the portfolios that will give the best outcome for the entire nation.

“Obviously I’m not naive, I understand there are some huge challenges ahead but am going in with a clean slate, enthusiasm and fresh ideas,” he said.

Mr Littleproud said the Queensland representation in the cabinet was fantastic.

“We’re there to represent all the nation, not just Queensland but I’m a proud Queenslander, born and bred in Queensland and obviously a real maroon but the reality is that we’re there for the entire nation,” he said.

“It’s great to see Queensland acknowledged for its contribution to parliament.”

Christan Porter is the new Attorney-General, replacing Queenslander George Brandis will replace Alexander Downer as high commission to London.

Mr Turnbull said he had refreshed the ministry to reflect the priorities and values of his government.

“The Ministry is filled with energy and rich with diverse life experiences,” he said.

“Together we look forward to securing and delivering a safer and more prosperous Australia.”

Mr McVeigh and Mr Littleproud were travelling to Canberra on Tuesday evening ahead of being sworn in on Wednesday.

Mr Macfarlane went on to lead the Queensland Resources Council.

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