New shadow health minister

Paul Hayes

3/06/2019 10:45:03 AM

Chris Bowen takes over the portfolio from Catherine King.

Chris Bowen
Chris Bowen said he will ‘hold the Morrison Government to account’. (Image: Bianca De Marchi)

Former Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen will be joined in Anthony Albanese’s new-look ministry by previous Labor leader Bill Shorten, who will assume the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) portfolio.
Former Shadow Health Minister Catherine King will move into Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development.
‘I would also like to acknowledge my predecessor as Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King. Catherine has spent the last six years advocating for a better healthcare system for all Australians,’ Mr Bowen said.
Labor has also named a Home Affairs Shadow Minister for the first time, with former New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally set to work opposite Peter Dutton in the broad portfolio.
The Opposition appointments come the week after the re-elected Coalition Government named its own frontbench, in which Greg Hunt retained his role as Federal Health Minister. Richard Colbeck was named Minister for Aged Care and Ken Wyatt became the first Aboriginal man to be named Minister for Indigenous Australians.
As the new Shadow Health Minister, Mr Bowen said he will ‘hold the Morrison Government to account’.
‘As a Western Sydney MP and resident, I’ll be keen to tackle the scourge of diabetes, obesity and the other health challenges in areas of low income and poor health outcomes,’ he said. ‘Closing the Gap of Indigenous disadvantage in health will also be one of my key areas of priority.
‘I have long had a passionate interest in mental health and suicide prevention. This will now be a focus in my portfolio.
‘Medicare is one of Labor’s greatest achievements. It must be protected and grown.’
Elsewhere in the new shadow ministry, Linda Burney will be the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians, Julie Collins has responsibility for the Ageing and Seniors portfolio, and Jason Clare is Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government.
Australia does not have a dedicated minister for rural health, although the Department of Health last week confirmed to newsGP that this area will fall under the auspices of Mark Coulton as Federal Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government.
The shadow ministry will meet for the first time in Brisbane on Tuesday 4 June.

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