The Federal Small Business Ministry has been tied to the significant economic post of Assistant Treasurer, after Senator Mark Arbib was today given both jobs in a reshuffle caused by the resignation of Senator Nick Sherry.
In a statement issued this morning, Senator Sherry said his resignation will take effect tomorrow (December 13th) and outlined three reasons for stepping down:
- Serving 14 years on the front bench during more than 21 years in the Senate – three years as a parliamentary secretary (1993-96), seven years as a shadow minister (between 1996-2007) and four years as a minister since 2007.
- I have just turned 56.
- I have three young children.
The Senator's statement went on to say "I believe it is an appropriate time to step aside well before the next election to allow another member of the Parliamentary Labor Party the opportunity to serve as a minister" and adds "This was my decision taken after consultation with close friends outside the Parliament."
Tasmania's Member for Franklin, Julie Collins had been tipped to be the next Small Business Minister, but Prime Minister Julia Gillard instead announced that Arbib would wear the Small Business and Assistant Treasurer hats - and retain responsibility for Sport and Government Business in the Senate.
Caroline Hong, CEO of the SME Association of Australia, welcomed Arbib's appointment.
"It is welcome to see the Small Business Ministry tied to a senior economic management role," she told My Business. "We wish the new Minister well, congratulate him on his appointment and look forward to constructive engagement in the future."