Calls to provide Ministerial responsibility for children have been heard in Victoria, with the announcement today that Lizzie Blandthorn will become Minister for Children in Jacinta Allan’s new Labor cabinet.
The Centre CEO Deb Tsorbaris says it is exciting to see Victoria lead the way in prioritising children with this dedicated portfolio.
“This is an incredible opportunity to put a child first lens on policy development and ensure a coordinated whole of government focus on child development and wellbeing,” she says.
The new portfolio will take on the Labor Government’s Best Start, Best Life early childhood education reforms while continuing to drive improvements in our child protection system.
“Too often the voices of children and young people are left out, and this announcement will ensure there is real consideration of the impact of legislation and government programs on children and young people in Victoria.”
“The Centre and its members are delighted to see that children continue to be a policy priority for this Labor Government, and we congratulate and thank the Premier for her commitment to our sector,” she says.
Minister Blandthorn also becomes Minister for Disability, reflecting the important work ahead of the State Government following the release of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability final report last week.
Cabinet newcomer Vicki Ward will take on the role of Minister for Family Violence and Minister for Employment.
Ingrid Stitt will become Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Ageing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs.
Ros Spence becomes Minister for Carers and Volunteers and Minister for Agriculture.
Harriet Shing takes on the Minister for Housing role, driving new social housing development across the state.
Deputy Premier Ben Carroll will become Minister for Education.
View the full Cabinet announcement here
Who are the new sector Ministers?
Minister for Children
Minister for Disability
Member for Western Metropolitan Region
Lizzie was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in 2014, and was elected to the Legislative Council in November 2022 representing thee Western Metropolitan Region. She held the position of Minister for Child Protection and Family Services, Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, and was briefly Minister for Planning in the previous Labor Government. She became the Minister for Children and Minister for Disabilities in October 2023.
Minister for Family Violence
Member for Eltham
Vicki was elected the Member for Eltham on November 2014. She was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary for Education in December 2022, and became the Minister for Family Violence in October 2023 as a new member of Jacinta Allen’s Labor Cabinet following the resignation of Daniel Andrews. Prior to entering politics Vicki had worked as an adviser to Jenny Macklin MP, a tutor at RMIT University and had run her own business.
Minister for Mental Health
Minister for Ageing
Minister for Multicultural Affairs
Member for Western Metropolitan Region
Before entering Parliament, Ingrid fought for low-paid workers across the private and public sectors. She was Secretary for the Victorian Branch of the Australian Services Union between 2004 and 2018. Ingrid’s family has lived in Melbourne’s west for more than 20 years. She wants to ensure it remains a great place to live, work and raise a family. Ingrid’s vision for Victoria’s future is that it is known as the best place in the world. She believes that we should provide every child with the knowledge and skills that will see them thrive throughout their lives.
Minister for Carers and Volunteers
Minister for Agriculture
Member for Kalkallo
Before entering Parliament, Ros achieved a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. Ros has worked in various administrative roles, volunteered at the then Broadmeadows Community Legal Centre, and worked as an electorate officer and operations manager. From 2008 to 2012 Ros served as a Councillor on Hume City Council, including time as Deputy Mayor and Mayor.
Minister for Housing
Member for Eastern Victoria
Harriet Shing has served as a Labor Member for Eastern Victoria since 2014. Before her election to the Victorian Upper House, Harriet worked as a lawyer. An accomplished negotiator and advocate, she has extensive experience in industrial relations, employment and discrimination law, and dispute resolution at State and Federal levels. Harriet has worked as a senior policy adviser, lawyer, and industrial relations specialist in the Victorian private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. She has also served as a trustee director on the board of industry superannuation fund Vision Super.
Minister for Education
Member for Niddrie
Before entering Parliament, Ben was a policy advisor and lawyer. He also worked as a volunteer lawyer at a community legal service. Ben’s vision for Victoria’s future is that it provides lifelong learning options from early childhood to mature age. He also wants Victoria to become a world leader in mental health, with wellbeing support services that provide empathy, structure, and relief. The area of public policy he is most passionate about is strong action on climate change. Ben believes that Victoria must stand as a global leader in the creation of a zero-emissions, renewable workforce.