29 September 2023

Steve Whan sworn in to new portfolio in ministry shake–up

| Claire Sams
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Steve Whan

Steve Whan has been appointed to a new position in the Minns Ministry. Photo: Steven Whan/Facebook.

NSW has two new appointees to the frontbench, including a politician from the southeast of the state.

Member for Monaro Steve Whan was sworn in as a member of the Minns ministry on Wednesday (27 September), as the Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education.

Mr Whan said it was a privilege to be taking on the portfolio.

“It’s a portfolio which has a really important role to play in the future of NSW, because we need a skilled workforce,” he said.

“We’ve particularly got a challenge getting enough people to do the work in the transition to net zero.

“We’ve got a big challenge with having enough people in the care economy, with things like aged care and all those service industries, and those areas which have apprentices.”

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In his new portfolio, Mr Whan said he would be looking at TAFE.

“I’m from Monaro, and I’ve been working in regional NSW for a long time, so I’m really conscious of the importance of TAFE in country NSW locations.

“I certainly want to be working to try to do a bit of rebuilding and strengthening of TAFE in country NSW.

“We know that over the last decade or so, TAFE has had a really worrying drop in numbers of enrolments and completions.

“NSW Labour’s got a really strong plan to try and reverse that, and we’ll be doing it in conjunction with the Federal Government.”

Premier Chris Minns said Mr Whan’s appointment would benefit regional and rural Australians.

“The appointment of highly experienced former minister Steve Whan to cabinet will ensure another strong voice for regional NSW at the centre of government,” he said.

“Steve has represented all communities, but particularly rural and regional NSW, with distinction throughout his career as a former minister for rural affairs, primary industries, emergency services and small business.

“He will bring his considerable skills and experience to helping rebuild TAFE and the VET sector after decades of underfunding.”

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Mr Whan said education, including tertiary education, was an important thing for communities.

“I’ve got responsibility for the tertiary sector, as well, and we need to keep working with the tertiary sector,” Mr Whan said.

“A lot of that is Commonwealth–funded, obviously, but it’s important for the State Government to think about how it can make tertiary education more accessible to country people.”

Minister for Finance and Minister for Natural Resources Courtney Houssos was also appointed to the additional portfolio of Domestic Manufacturing and Government Procurement.

A statement from the NSW Government said the new portfolio would seek to grow domestic manufacturing, including the use of government procurement power to boost local jobs.

Mr Whan was elected to parliament at the March 2023 election after he defeated Nationals incumbent Nichole Overall.

He previously held the seat from 2003 to 2011.

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