Bligh replaces ICT minister in Qld reshuffle

Bligh replaces ICT minister in Qld reshuffle

Simon Finn to replace outgoing minister Robert Schwarten, but no direct minister has yet been named for Public Works

Queensland Labor MP Simon Finn has been named as minister for ICT as part of a cabinet reshuffle in the state government announced by state Premier Anna Bligh this week.

Finn, who was previously parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Industrial Relations, also picked up government services and building industry responsibilities as part of the new portfolio.

Finn will join Curtis Pitt and Jan Jarratt as the three new ministers are sworn in to Bligh's cabinet on Monday, while current ministers have received new or revamped responsibilities. New minister portfolios include mental health, manufacturing and small businesses, water utilities and marine infrastructure.

Deputy Premier Paul Lucas has lost the health portfolio and will be the new Special Minister for State, Attorney-General and minister for local government. Former education minister Geoff Wilson will take on the pressures of health.

Former Attorney-General Cameron Dick will be the new education minister and keep industrial relations.

Finn replaces the previous minister for ICT, Robert Schwarten, who last week announced his retirement after 22 years in office, having held the technology portfolio for more than four years.

"Either you retire or somebody throws you out, and I'm glad that I'm going on my own terms at a time of my own choosing, very few get the privilege of doing that I'm deeply honoured to have that," Schwarten said in a closing speech.

"Time moves on, and there's a whole bunch of talent in this room that's going to fill this seat. I leave with my head held high, a smile on my face and I'm looking forward to having a beer this afternoon."

The new minister for ICT has been member of the Brisbane electorate of Yeerongpilly since 2004 and in his maiden speech called for the government to consider scrapping all or part of the state’s fuel subsidy and redirecting the funds to essential infrastructure.

The ministerial shuffle comes as another major change to public sector ICT in the state, following a split of the Queensland Government Chief Information Office last year into three smaller, more focussed agencies.

Those agencies continue to report to the director-general of the Department of Public Works, Mal Grierson, though a minister directly responsible for the department was not named as part of the cabinet reshuffle this week. A spokesperson for Bligh could not be immediately contacted at time of writing.

Additional reporting by AAP

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