Post-election portfolio shuffles

Now that Tony Abbott has been sworn in as Prime Minister, there have been a number of reshuffles and changes in many government portfolios. Time will tell if and how these changes will affect electricity prices and positively or negatively influence Australians and the environment.

Gone are some ministerial positions such as minister for climate change and minister for science. Mark Butler was the last minister for climate change, following the exit of Greg Combet who left the position after Julia Gillard's leadership was successfully challenged by Kevin Rudd.

Now, the position with theoretically come under the position of minister for the environment, with Greg Hunt now holding this position.

In 2001 Mr Hunt became the federal member for Flinders, and went on to become parliamentary secretary to the minister for environment and heritage in 2004. In 2007 he was appointed parliamentary secretary to the minister for foreign affairs.

Also in 2007 he also became shadow minister for climate change, environment and urban water. Then in 2009 this evolved into becoming shadow minister for climate action, environment and heritage.

Controversially, but not surprisingly, Tony Abbott and his government have already vowed to get rid of the carbon tax.

"This is the team that will scrap the carbon tax, end the waste, stop the boats, build the roads of the twenty first century and deliver the strong and dynamic economy that we need," said Tony Abbott in a media release from September 16.

"The Hon Greg Hunt MP as Minister for the Environment will have responsibility for the abolition of the carbon tax, implementation of the Coalition’s Direct Action plan, the establishment of the Green Army and the creation of a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals. Senator Simon Birmingham will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and have responsibility for water," he said.

While there is no doubt that many environmental watchdogs will be disappointed in the abolition of the carbon tax and some of the intentions of the new government, some organisations such as the Clean Energy Council (CEC) are extending the olive branch.

Chief Executive of the CEC, David Green, congratulated Greg Hunt as the minister for environment and noted his skills, knowledge and experience. Mr Green also asserted that the new government is supportive of the country's 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target and so looks forward to discussing this with Mr Hunt.

"The Clean Energy Council already enjoys a constructive and open dialogue with Mr Hunt. We look forward to building on this as we work together towards a cleaner, smarter energy system," said Mr Green.

Posted by Charlie Moore