Defence Industry Minister adds tech portfolio in cabinet reshuffle

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Defence Industry Minister adds tech portfolio in cabinet reshuffle

Morrison splits the industry portfolio in two.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price will add the portfolios of technology and science to her responsibilities following the resignation of Christian Porter.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the cabinet reshuffle on Friday, which separates the responsibilities from the industry portfolio.

Minister for Energy and Emission Minister Angus Taylor, who took over from Porter on an acting basis, will become Minister for Industry on a permanent basis.

Porter resigned last month amid controversy over his acceptance of an anonymous donation to fund his defamation case against the ABC.

Announcing the changes, Morrison said the science and technology portfolio would complement Price’s defence industry responsibilities “very significantly” in light of the AUKUS agreement.

“It is timely, particularly given the AUKUS arrangements, which will see us be working together with the US and the UK, linking up our industry, our science and technology supply chains,” he said.

“Our scientists, our entrepreneurs, our technologists and others, working together to create opportunities in areas like quantum and artificial intelligence.

“Of course, these responsibilities will be pursued for right across the economy, both in civil and defence uses.

“But, it is timely to bring those two together, and she will be sworn into the Industry portfolio to perform those responsibilities when it comes to science and technology.”

Price has served as Minister for Defence Industry since May 2019 and before that spent nine months as Minister for the Environment.

The appointment was welcomed by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and the Australian Australia Computer Society (ACS).

ACS CEO Rupert Grayston said Price's appointment would “bring some much-needed stability to the industry portfolio ahead of the federal election”.

“ACS is looking forward to having a strong relationship with Minister Price, who… has already seen the critical role of technology and science have,” he said.

AIIA CEO Ron Gauci said that despite seperation of the portfolios, the reshuffle would be successful if “minister's continue to work closely together and engage industry”.

“We also recognise that the sharing of the Defense and Technology portfolios is a strategic move, given the key role technology will continue to play in protecting our country,” he said.

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