Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will take ministerial responsibility for aviation matters following a cabinet reshuffle.
Joyce, who was recently re-elected back into Parliament after being ruled ineligible when it was discovered he was a dual citizen, is the new Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.
The Nationals leader, Member for New England in the House of Representatives and Deputy Prime Minister replaces Darren Chester, who has been left out of Cabinet following the reshuffle.
Chester, the Member for Gippsland, said it had been an enormous honour to serve as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, which he described as the “best portfolio possible”.
“I’m proud of the work my team and I have done on behalf of the Government and I’m sorry we won’t get to finish off some of the jobs we’ve started,” Chester said in a statement.
“Naturally, I’m disappointed by The Leader of the Nationals’ decision to exclude me from his Cabinet team. Politics can be a tough business for all involved.
“But life goes on and I will continue to serve the Turnbull government.”
Chester, who became Minister for Infrastructure and Transport in 2016 when he replaced the retiring Warren Truss, said he was looking forward to continuing to serve the people of Gippsland with “passion, enthusiasm and determination for many years to come”.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appointed five new members to Cabinet as part of the reshuffle announced on Tuesday.
“I have to say, Darren has been an outstanding minister, I regret that this has resulted in him no longer being a member of the ministry,” Turnbull was quoted as saying on ABC News.
Australian Airports Association (AAA) chief executive said she looked forward to a continued focus on efficient infrastructure that met the needs of the community and economy from Minister Joyce.
“The infrastructure sector is part of the fabric of the Australian economy, and we welcome Mr Joyce to this important portfolio,” Wilkie said in a statement.
“We look forward to continuing to engage with the Federal Government on the key issues facing the sector.”
Wilkie also thanked Chester for his contribution to the sector over the past two years.
In other aviation-related appointments, Peter Dutton was formally named as Minister for Home Affairs, a new portfolio which has responsibility for the Australian Federal Police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and the Australian Border Force and therefore security at the nation’s airports.
Dutton was named to lead the new so-called super ministry in July 2017.
Wilkie said: “Airport safety and security is a top priority for our members, and we look forward to working with Mr Dutton in his new capacity as Minister for Home Affairs.”