Chester new minister responsible for aviation, Tehan takes charge of defence materiel

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, The Hon Darren Chester MP addresses participants of the 2015 Chief of Air Force Symposium.
Darren Chester is the incoming Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. (Defence)

Aviation could receive greater ministerial attention in the federal government after the appointment of Nationals MP Darren Chester as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

Chester, the Member for Gippsland, a former journalist and currently Assistant Minister for Defence, was named as the new minister with responsibility for aviation as part of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Cabinet reshuffle announced on Saturday.

“Darren Chester will take on Warren Truss’s responsibilities for infrastructure and transport,” the Prime Minister said in a press conference in Sydney.

“Darren will make a formidable contribution in this portfolio. He has been one of the younger stars in the Parliament and recognised as such for a long time.”

The cabinet reshuffle came after Warren Truss announced on February 11 he was stepping down as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, as well as leader of the National Party.

As well as not being the National Party leader (and consequently Deputy Prime Minister), responsibility for the Regional Development portfolio now falls to new National Party deputy Senator Fiona Nash – who will become Minister for Regional Development, Regional Communications and Rural Health – which suggests Chester as the new Infrastructure and Transport minister could have more time to consider aviation issues.

Dan Tehan, meanwhile, has been announced as the Minister for Defence Materiel.

Tehan, who has been chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security since December 2013, also becomes the new Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, replacing Stuart Robert in those roles.

Mal Brough, the former Special Minister of State and Minister for Defence Materiel and Science, who stood aside in December pending the completion of police inquiries, said he did not wish to be considered for a position, according to the PM.

Finally, the new Assistant Minister for Defence is Nationals MP Michael McCormack