Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne has been shuffled from the Police Ministry to the Agriculture Ministry.
Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne has been shuffled from the Police Ministry to the Agriculture Ministry. Alistair Brightman

Back to the future for new agriculture minister

BILL Byrne has been dumped as Queensland Police Minister but reappointed as Agriculture Minister.

The Rockhampton MP has kept his place on Labor's frontbench after the government was forced into a cabinet reshuffle following Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson's resignation as agriculture minister.

Morayfield MP Mark Ryan has replaced Mr Byrne as Police Minister.

As part of the reshuffle Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher has been elevated to assistant minister for Local Government and Infrastructure and Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard is now Assistant Minister of State Assisting the Premier.

Mr Byrne was acting agriculture minister in the last sitting week of parliament and made a passionate speech spruiking success stories in the sector.

"It is great to be back in the House representing agriculture for the people of Queensland," he said on Tuesday.

"The Palaszczuk government recognises the strong contribution that the food and fibre sector has continued to make to the Queensland economy.

Mr Byrne served as Agriculture Minister from the beginning of the government until December 2015 when he was appointed Police Minister.

But shadow agriculture minister Dale Last said farmers would not be pleased with Mr Byrne's appointment.

"During his previous stint as ag minister he routinely refused to meet with industry stakeholders or lift a finger on any key issues in the portfolio," he said.

"Bill Byrne stood by the rest of his union mates in State Parliament to try to deny farmers commonsense vegetation management laws."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mr Byrne has been an "outstanding police minister" and was moved to agriculture because he is a regional member.

"Bill Byrne has done a fantastic job as Agriculture and Fisheries Minister before and I know he'll do so again," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Bill has been an outstanding police minister, but I want a regional voice in Cabinet representing our primary industries."

Mr Ryan was formerly Ms Palaszczuk's assistant minister. Ms Palaszczuk said he had performed strongly in that role and she expected him to be a strong police minister.

Ms Howard will replace Mr Ryan as assistant minister for the Premier. Mr Butcher's new role will see him work closely with Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and local governments.

ARM NEWSDESK



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