FORMER assistant treasurer Josh Frydenberg has replaced Ian Macfarlane as the minister with primary responsibility for Australia’s oil and gas sector.
Appointed as the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Frydenberg replaces Ian Macfarlane, who had responsibility for the sector as Minister for Industry since 2013.
Mr Frydenberg paid tribute to Mr Macfarlane for what he said was a period of outstanding service over many years.
“It is a great privilege to be able to serve in Prime Minister Turnbull’s cabinet in this capacity,” he said.
“I look forward to working hard to ensure our nation has a productive and innovative resources and energy sector and a Northern Australia which fully capitalises on its enormous potential.”
Mr Turnbull also paid tribute to Mr Macfarlane when announcing the change on 22 September, saying that he was “one of my very, very best friends in this place.”
He, along with Senator Michael Ronaldson, had been ready to “continue to serve in their current positions which they were fulfilling with great distinction and competence,” Mr Turnbull said.
“But each of them understood the need to renew, and they gave me their leader and their friend, the opportunity for them to stand aside so that I could bring new talent into the ministry.”
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association chief executive Malcolm Roberts said the organisation was looking forward to working with Mr Frydenberg and new Treasurer Scott Morrison.
“The challenge for industry and governments now is to ensure that Australia stays competitive in the increasingly tough global market,” he said.
“Reforms to lift productivity and cut regulatory costs are essential.”
Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA) chief executive Cheryl Cartwright welcomed the appointment as a new era in the resources and energy sector.
“Mr Frydenberg has the economic credentials to take the gas industry, and the gas market, through the next, challenging, phase of development,” she said.
“He will help to ensure the best outcomes for both business and consumers. Our industry looks forward to working with him.”
Ms Cartwright also paid tribute to Mr Macfarlane, saying he had set a benchmark in policy development.
“He has avoided scoring political points at the expense of policy, worked with all sides of politics and with industry representatives and he has demonstrated a genuine understanding of industry and business challenges,” she said.
“It’s a cliché, but these are large shoes to fill. Over many years both sides of politics have worked closely with industry and Mr Macfarlane has continued that noble policy focus.”