Victoria announces new minister for innovation and centralised services

The Victorian Government has sworn in Ben Carroll as its next Minister for Industry and Innovation following the Labor Government’s electoral victory last month, with Carroll assuming the portfolios from the recently departed Jaala Pulford.

Pulford, who was previously Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, opted not to recontest her seat at the 2022 state election after serving two years in the then-newly created ministry.

Leading the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions, Carroll will continue to serve as Minister for Industry and Innovation, whilst also adding the portfolios of Manufacturing Sovereignty and Employment, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced in an official statement unveiling his renewed cabinet. Carroll has also retained the Public Transport portfolio.

Prior to the election, Carroll served six months as Industry Support and Recovery minister.

‘Digital economy’, at least in name, appears to have been dropped in the current batch of ministerial titles.

The new cabinet will also retain Danny Pearson as Assistant Treasurer, with Pearson to also head a new Department of Government Services, with a push to centralise and re-home the constituent services touchpoint Service Victoria.

He will become Minister for WorkSafe and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), overseeing key government insurance schemes, as well as also adding Minister for Consumer Affairs to his responsibilities.

Following the re-election of the Labor Government late last month, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews also announced plans to centralise services delivery by creating “proper home” for Victoria Services and “many other touch points” where Victorians can reach into the Victorian Government “for the support they need”.

“Putting all of that in one place means we will get much greater efficiency, and this will be in large part a self-funded exercise. Because individual constituent units or component parts of existing agencies will be centralised and I think there will be much greater efficiency from a consumer point of view,” Andrews said during the press conference.

“Think about the Services Victoria app that as a product of great integrity, fantastic utility, that is absolutely the future, and we want to try and migrate as much of that day-to-day contact with government onto that platform. We think that’s really important.”