• File Image of Ken Wyatt, the first Aboriginal Australian in the House of Reps, taking the the oath during his swearing in ceremony. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Ken Wyatt has been named minister for aged care and Indigenous health.
Source:
AAP, NITV News
18 Jan 2017 - 10:47 AM  UPDATED 18 Jan 2017 - 11:43 AM

Ken Wyatt has been appointed Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, making him the first Indigenous federal minister. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the minor reshuffle to his frontbench in Sydney this morning.

Ken Wyatt told NITV News in a statement: "It's an incredible experience and I will relish the responsibility given to me by the Prime Minister Turnbull.

"Words cannot describe the pride I feel for myself and my family."

This appointment represents the next step in a string of firsts. It makes Mr Wyatt not only the first Aboriginal Australian elected to the House of Representatives and first to the frontbench; now, he will be the first to lead a major portfolio. 

"As an Indigenous Australian, it's an incredible privilege to serve the people of Hasluck in the Parliament and it's an honour to serve as the Minster for Aged Care and the Minister for Indigenous Health under Prime Minister Turnbull."

The West Australian MP technically became the first Indigenous federal minister by joining the frontbench last September, when he was promoted to Assistant Health Minister. However, this new appointment is considered a promotion.

“Just as Ken was the first Indigenous person to be elected to the House of Representatives, and the first to be appointed to the executive of the commonwealth government, he is now the first Indigenous person appointed to the commonwealth ministry,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Sydney this morning.

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Greg Hunt has been named the new Federal Health Minister. He takes over after Sussan Ley resigned from the frontbench following scrutiny of her expenses and travel to the Gold Coast.

Mr Hunt said in a statement he is "honoured to take on this new and very important responsibility".

"Health touches the lives of every Australian. It is essential that people can see a doctor when they need to and have medicine when they are not well," he added.

Mr Hunt also mentioned the importance of sport in maintaining good health, and emphasized his desire to work with Indigenous Australians.

"As a sports fan and sports Dad, I am also thrilled to be working towards getting more Australians, including Indigenous Australians, involved in sport", he said.

Michael Sukkar will be Assistant Minister to the Treasurer.

Mr Turnbull told reporters, "these changes will further strengthen my ministry by combining experience and new talent."

The new ministers will be sworn in by the Governor-General Peter Cosgrove on Tuesday.

 

TURNBULL GOVERNMENT MINISTRY CHANGES

Aged Care and Indigenous Health - Ken Wyatt

Health and Sport - Greg Hunt

Industry, Innovation and Science - Arthur Sinodinos

Assistant Minister to the Treasurer - Michael Sukkar

* The role of Cabinet Secretary returns to the public service, reducing the size of cabinet by one.

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