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Cabinet promotion for Miles as Premier announces new Labor front-bench

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Deputy Premier Steven Miles will leave the health ministry in the middle of a pandemic to take on the coveted state development portfolio.

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After a Caucus meeting at Parliament House, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced Gold Coast MP Meaghan Scanlon, Townsville MP Scott Stewart and Member for Nudgee Leanne Linard would be filling the vacancies left in  Cabinet by recent retirements.

While Palaszczuk will not announce Cabinet portfolios until tomorrow, 27-year-old Scanlon, from the Left, already has a title.

“It’s a great privilege to be the youngest Cabinet minister in Queensland’s history, it’s an opportunity I certainly don’t take lightly,” said Scanlon, noting that 40 per cent of Queenslanders were aged under 30.

Palaszczuk also announced that Miles, the leader of the Left, would move to become minister for state development, infrastructure and planning, while Treasurer Cameron Dick, from the Right, would add investment attraction to his Cabinet responsibilities.

Leader of the House Yvette D’Ath will move from being Attorney-General to succeeding Miles in the health and ambulance services portfolio. It is not clear who will replace her in the key legal role.

“I believe that this is the strong team that we need for Queensland,” Palaszczuk said today, while foreshadowing a “significant reshuffle” of remaining portfolios for the continuing ministers.

Miles, a former environment minister, has been a crucial part of the leadership team since taking over from Jackie Trad and played a key role in Labor’s election win. Palaszczuk suggested he was “torn” about the prospect of leaving health, but she had full confidence in D’Ath’s abilities, and Miles could now focus on Queensland’s economic recovery.

“We need to make sure that we have all hands on deck and I firmly believe that I have put the right people into the right positions to take on this mammoth job that we have,” Palaszczuk said.

Miles reflected on his tenure during the pandemic, particularly Queensland’s good outcomes, and revealed he was “a bit teary” in breaking the news to Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young this morning.

Today, the Electoral Commission of Queensland will receive the final postal votes to allow the election count to be completed. This will lead to all 93 seats being declared, including four – Bundaberg, Nicklin, Currumbin and Burleigh – that may be decided by preference flows.

The Liberal National Party also needs to finalise the Opposition leadership team for Queensland’s first four-year term. Gold Coast MP David Crisafulli and Toowoomba MP David Janetzki are the front-runners.

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