Australia has a new small business minister: Michael McCormack replaces Kelly O’Dwyer

SmartCompany, July 18 2016: Source: AAP Image/Andrew Taylor

Malcolm Turnbull has unveiled his new-look ministry following a narrow election victory over Labor, including a new minister for small business.

But the small business portfolio is no longer in cabinet.

Michael McCormack, who represents the New South Wales electorate of Riverina for the Nationals, has been appointed as small business minister, replacing Kelly O’Dwyer.

O’Dwyer’s role as assistant treasurer has also been renamed minister for revenue and financial services.

The change means the small business portfolio has been taken out of the cabinet, a move that the Council of Small Business of Australia has already labelled as a “mistake”.

“Moving small business out of cabinet is a potential win for big unions and a half a dozen big businesses,” COSBOA chief executive Peter Strong told SmartCompany.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Turnbull defended the decision, saying small business is a “relentless focus” of every minister in his government.

“Every minister is a minister for small business,” he said.

“I talk about small business all the time, so does the Treasurer. It is absolutely fundamental. Everyone is focused on small business.”

Australia has had nine small business ministers in just under nine years.

Other ministerial changes

Christopher Pyne has been appointed as defence minister, after previously holding the top job for industry, innovation and science.

Greg Hunt will take up Pyne’s old role, moving on from the environment portfolio.

Scott Morrison keeps his job as Treasurer and Mathias Cormann is still the minister for finance.

Steven Ciobo remains the minister for trade and investment after retaining his Surfers Paradise seat at the recent federal election.

Elsewhere, LNP MP Karen Andrews has been tasked with handling Vocational Education and Skills after former vocational education and training minister Scott Ryan has been moved to the position of special minister of state.

Speaking at a press conference in Canberra, Turnbull said his new government has a “clear mandate” following the election.

“I indicated consistently before and during the election campaign the ministry I took to the election will be the team after the election,” Turnbull said.

Turnbull said budget repair will be a “front of mind” issue for his government, along with the ABCC legislation and mental health reform.