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Mary-Anne Thomas new Health Minister in cabinet shake-up

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Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas is Victoria’s new Health Minister following a shake-up of the State Government’s cabinet last week.

Premier Dan Andrews was forced to appoint several new ministers after long-time Labor politicians James Merlino, Martin Foley, Lisa Neville and Martin Pakula announced their intention to retire from politics prior to November’s state election.

Ms Thomas took over the health portfolio from Mr Foley, and also became Minister for Ambulance Services, when she was sworn in at Parliament House yesterday.

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She is now the coordinating minister for the Department of Health.

Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes remains the coordinating minister for the Department of Justice and Community Safety. She remains the Attorney General, Minister for Emergency Services and leader of the government in legislative council.

Bendigo MP Jacinta Allan, also the Transport Infrastructure Minister, was sworn in as Deputy Premier.

Mr Andrews said as the most experienced minister in the cabinet, Ms Allan would add overseeing Commonwealth Games delivery to her responsibilities.

Ms Thomas was formerly Minister for Regional Development and Minister for Agriculture.

Harriet Shing will take over the regional development portfolio as well as water and equality, while Gayle Tierney will add agriculture to her portfolios of training and skills and higher education.

In a Facebook post, Ms Thomas said it had been a privilege to travel to every corner of Victoria, meeting with businesses, farmers, workers, traditional owners, councils and local leaders in her previous ministerial roles.

“I’ve been truly inspired by the stories of resilience and innovation I’ve seen every day in every part of rural and regional Victoria and across our agriculture sector,” she said.

“I’m proud of the work that has been accomplished – from record investments right across our state to ensure jobs and opportunities for people in rural and regional Victoria, supporting agriculture secure the workforce it continues to need, investing in regional housing solutions, delivering world leading research across our network of smart farms, leading the nation in productivity, profitability and low emissions agriculture, increased investments in biosecurity, animal welfare and a big boost in funding to support timber workers through the transition from native timber to a plantation timber future; its been a fantastic journey.

“So, while it’s time to hang up the gumboots, I’m looking forward to continuing to deliver for all Victorians as I take on my new role as Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services.”

Member for Yuroke Ros Spence, who if successfully re-elected will take in Wallan and Beveridge in the new electorate of Kalkallo, has added prevention of family violence to her portfolios of multicultural affairs, community sport and youth.

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