An anchor has been cut, say party elders
THE future looks brighter for the State Labor Government in regional Queensland after Jackie Trad's resignation from Cabinet, an ALP stalwart claims.
The extraordinary comment comes after Ms Trad resigned as deputy premier and treasurer following news the state's corruption watchdog would investigate claims she interfered with the recruitment of a school principal in South Brisbane. She has denied any wrongdoing.
Former housing minister Robert Schwarten said Labor had been weighed down by integrity issues - referring to the school saga and Ms Trad's Woolloongabba investment property scandal last year.
"From a party point of view in regional Queensland, the way forward looks brighter than it did last week," he said.
"An anchor has been cut that was dragging the Government down, and in the regions in particular."
Mr Schwarten said appointing a regional minister in central Queensland was long overdue.
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher was yesterday appointed regional development and manufacturing minister as part of the Cabinet carve-up after Ms Trad's resignation.
Mr Butcher takes on part of new Treasurer Cameron Dick's former portfolio.
"To replace a Brisbane-based minister with a regional central Queensland minister is good news," Mr Schwarten said.
"It's good for the Government because ... the Opposition has been given a free kick on integrity issues and that affects the standing of the party, the Premier and everybody in the Labor Party."
John Mickel, a former Labor minister and speaker of the House, said appointing a treasurer was crucial amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Cameron Dick has earned the respect of the business community in State Development and he'll bring a steady hand to treasurer in a really difficult time in the state's economic history," he said.
"We could not at this time ... have a question mark placed over who was going to be treasurer.
"The Government is strengthened by this because of the negative campaign that would have been run by the LNP."
A Labor source said that they were pleased Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk acted so quickly with Cabinet appointments.
"It would have been very negative for the party (if Ms Trad hadn't resigned)," they said. "Having that stability and being very clear and upfront is essential for the next election."
Federal Resources and Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt said Ms Trad's resignation had removed a roadblock from the state economy.
He urged her successors to back a string of delayed projects around the state.
Originally published as An anchor has been cut, say party elders