When John Thwaites tossed in the towel as Minister for Water, Environment, Climate Change and Plastic Bags (27th July), Gavin Jennings got his desk. But water will now be the responsibility of Tim Holding as Minister for Water.
Jennings is a key player in the left faction. This could be good or bad, depending. He might not be in the right ‘club’ for pushing things through à la Thwaites, but he is supposed to be a little more committed to the environment. Some say Brumby isn’t as committed as Bracks was (!?) or Jennings is. The passing of the Bill allowing forests to be burnt for power was not a good start.
Jennings is supposed to understand the forest issue – always useful – and, being in the Upper House, he will be open to closer scrutiny from the Greens.
Having been Treasurer, John Brumby gets the economics of the logging industry better than Bracks did, and we hope he’ll see through VicForests’ economic contortions to try and keep itself in business. He should be less inclined to prop up the failing industry that only ever gives the government grief (and some party donations). Importantly, Brumby doesn’t owe any favours (to put it mildly) to one of the biggest blocks to forest protection, forestry union boss Michael O’Connor.