Prime Minister Scott Morrison with the locals at Gannons Pub in Julia Creek earlier this year
Prime Minister Scott Morrison with the locals at Gannons Pub in Julia Creek earlier this year

Why ScoMo is back in Queensland

Newly re-elected Prime Minister Scott Morrison will return to north Queensland today to attend to unfinished business.

The Prime Minister will make a beeline for the state that delivered him a decisive election win as he doubles down on locking in regional voters.

With the his Government now out of caretaker mode, the Prime Minister is firming up his Cabinet for swearing-in mid next week.

Key tacticians will remain in their positions, including Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Home Affairs Minster Peter Dutton, Attorney-General Christian Porter and Health Minister Greg Hunt.

While there is unlikely to be significant Cabinet change, it is understood Environment Minister Melissa Price is being leant on to take on another position. However no decision has been made.

Arthur Sinodinos, who took sick leave last year, is likely to be returned to the ministry, Linda Reynolds will become Defence Minister and Marise Payne will continue to be Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister.

There is likely to be some changes for Queensland. Questions have been raised about whether Karen Andrews will remain in her Cabinet position and whether Stuart Robert will remain Assistant Treasurer.

In political symmetry, Mr Morrison's first trip as Prime Minister last year was to Outback Queensland.

In February, Mr Morrison announced a multibillion-dollar package to help graziers rebuild after being decimated by Cyclone Oma floodwaters.

"When I was first elected prime minister my No.1 priority was helping rural communities and farmers in drought,'' Mr Morrison told The Courier-Mail last night.

"My first trip as prime minister was to Quilpie back in August last year.

"When floods devastated northwest Queensland in February we saw a different kind of devastation.

"During my visit I saw and smelt the cattle lying dead on the ground, herds that had been bred over generations. It was heartbreaking.

"Pastoralists, graziers and their communities are getting back on their feet. The rebuilding, restocking and replanting has started.

"More than $3.3 billion has been paid or committed to help our farmers respond and recover.

"I want to see with my own eyes what progress has been made, and catch up with the graziers, local mayors and business owners face-to-face."

Mr Morrison said he would meet with the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency, which had been managing the grants process.

"I know there's still a long road ahead, but we remain absolutely committed to northwest Queensland's recovery, and to those farmers in parts of the country still struggling with drought: We stand with you," he said.

It comes as fed-up industry and political leaders in Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville declare a day of action tomorrow to push for projects such as Adani to go ahead.



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