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WA gets new ministers in week of turmoil

AAP logoAAP 22/09/2016

WA Premier Colin Barnett has promoted two MPs to his cabinet and handed veteran minister Bill Marmion the critical transport round after shock resignations sparked this week's failed leadership challenge.

Member for Wanneroo Paul Miles takes over the local government portfolio from Tony Simpson, while member for the Mining and Pastoral region Mark Lewis has been given agriculture, which Dean Nalder quit along with transport before his failed tilt at Mr Barnett's job.

The farming sector will be pleased agriculture is now a stand-alone portfolio, as it had called for.

The sector believed Mr Nalder had been too busy with transport to pay enough attention to agriculture.

With the WA economy and business investment now soft, Mr Marmion, a former mines and environment minister, may have been seen as having time to spare with his state development portfolio.

Mr Barnett says Mr Marmion's top two priorities will be the Forrestfield-Airport rail link and Roe 8 highway extension project, which is the most controversial part of the near $2 billion Perth Freight Link.

"He's certainly the right person to get the (Roe 8) project under way," the premier told reporters.

Mr Barnett said his cabinet was now stable in the lead-up to the March election but declined to say if he believed it was a stronger team.

Opposition leader Mark McGowan said Thursday's re-jig meant the WA Liberals had had five transport ministers and four agriculture ministers in their eight year reign, which was "another example of dysfunction and chaos" within the state government.

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