The resources industry has welcomed Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt as the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia following Matt Canavan’s resignation from the post.
Pitt worked as a sugar cane farmer in his first full time job, but has since risen to ministerial posts following his election in 2013.
He served as Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister in the agriculture portfolio and in the infrastructure portfolio, as well as Assistant Minister for trade, tourism and investment for over a year.
“Before entering politics I was a tradesman, an engineer, a small business owner and a farmer, and I want to bring that practical, common sense experience to the portfolio,” Pitt said.
“The resources sector in Australia is a dynamic industry with great opportunity to further develop and drive our nation forward and I look forward to the challenges this presents.”
Canavan said that it has been a great honour to serve as the Resources and Northern Australia Minister.
“I want to thank the many who have supported me to achieve great things, especially the jobs we have created in our mines and in the north. And, a big thanks to the members of the LNP that have helped me along the way,” Canavan said in a statement.
“I wish my successor, Keith Pitt, all the best in his new role and congratulate Michelle Landry on her appointment as Assistant Minister for Northern Australia.”
Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) chief executive Tania Constable, in welcoming Pitt as minister, said that the Australian minerals industry was facing challenges in building the future workforce and reducing regulation and red tape.
But Constable believes Pitt has been a strong advocate for the resources industry and the benefits it delivers to regional communities like his.
“Representing regional Queensland as the Member for Hinkler, he’s lived and breathed our industry and is proud of it. He will bring passion and experience to this role,” she said.
Constable’s sentiment is shared by the wider resources industry, with Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane particularly pleased to see another Queenslander taking on the “important economic portfolio”.
“Keith Pitt has a reputation for straight-talking and as a regional Queenslander he knows first-hand about the importance of the resources sector to create jobs and investment in regional communities,” Macfarlane said.
“QRC looks forward to meeting with the incoming minister to further discuss the policy developments that can encourage new and future investment and create new jobs.”
Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA chief executive Steve Knott added: “Mr Pitt has big shoes to fill, but as a passionate regional Queenslander with prior experience in the trade and investment portfolio, we are sure he is up to the challenge.
“We have enjoyed an especially close relationship with Senator Canavan since his appointment as Minister for Resources and Northern Australia in 2016.
“Senator Canavan should be extremely proud of all he has achieved as Minister for Resources and Northern Australia… We wish him all the best for the next phase of his parliamentary career.”