SIMONE McGURK and Peter Tinley have picked up their first ministerial roles in the McGowan Labor government, while Cockburn’s Fran Logan’s returned to the front bench.
Ms McGurk was appointed minister for child protection; women’s interests, prevention of family and domestic violence and community services on Thursday morning.
Mr Tinley landed mines and petroleum, veterans affairs and youth, while Mr Logan has moved up the ranks to take the senior portfolios of emergency services and corrective services.
Ms McGurk said she’d aim to give the child protection sector some stability after years of cuts, and would be focussing on the high rate of children being taken into care, particularly from Aboriginal families.
“There were national figure out today that show that it’s higher than it has ever been,” says Ms McGurk, promising to liaise closely with Aboriginal communities so they were involved in identifying and addressing the issues.
Ms McGurk wants some health advertising funds to go towards tackling domestic violence, and will also be involved in the roll-out of the government’s promised $22 million child protection package, which includes more funding for women’s refuges.
“I should mention that we committed to paid leave for people in domestic violence situations,” Ms McGurk said.
She’ll also be tackling the Turnbull government over the uncertainty facing non-profit organisations tackling homelessness, as it’s flagged further cuts in the upcoming budget.
She says women’s shelters need to be adequately funded, as lack of access is a key driver for women escaping domestic violence ending up homeless.
On the home front, Ms McGurk said new planning minister Rita Saffioti took a walk along the Roe Highway route on Sunday and while Labor will be looking to rehabilitate most of the site, she also believes there’s some scope for some housing.
She’s also keen to get planning for the redevelopment of South Quay and road improvements in North Fremantle to give residents a break from the gridlock that often occurs with trucks trying to get into the port.
Meanwhile Mr McGowan has moved towards setting up a taskforce to investigate the construction of an outer harbour in Kwinana. Ms McGurk says it’s not yet known who’ll be on the taskforce or what the terms of reference will be.