The Western Australian Minister for Mines, Petroleum and Energy, Bill Johnston, has announced that he will be stepping down from his position in the Cabinet and that he will not be seeking re-election for the district of Cannington at the next election. 

Mr Johnston commenced as Western Australian Labor Assistant State Secretary in January 1998 and, by the next election, will have served the Western Australian Labor party in a full-time role for more than 27 years.

“I think that is a long time for anyone, and certainly long enough for me,” Mr Johnston said in a statement announcing his decision. 

“I have been very proud to work for the Cannington community over the last 15 years, and I look forward to serving them until the next election.” 

Mr Johnston said that he has always been loyal to Cannington and that it has been a tremendous privilege to represent and support its vibrant community.

“I will step down from Cabinet next week, after seven years serving the Western Australian community as a Minister.

“When Roger Cook became Premier, I met with him and let him know that I wanted to leave by the end of this year. I am pleased that Premier Cook has supported me in my decision. 

“There are two-and-a-half million Western Australians, to be one of 95 in Parliament is a great privilege, but to be one of just 17 in Cabinet is a rare honour.” 

Mr Johnston said that to be able to make a difference for the community as a Minister is a very special responsibility. 

“I have been proud to help solve problems and improve this state as part of the Western Australian Labor Cabinet.

“Everyone knows there is always more to be done, but it makes it easier for me to leave Cabinet knowing the State Government has a plan to make Western Australia better, and that the plan is working.” 

Premier responds

Western Australian Premier, Roger Cook, said that Mr Johnston has been a giant of the party and its movement for more than two decades.  

“He leaves a significant legacy of reform in our state,” Mr Cook said. 

“He has successfully guided Western Australia’s energy system on its biggest transformation in decades, putting us on the path to net zero while keeping our economy strong and supporting local workers.

“He has always understood the essential role of a strong resources sector in the livelihoods of everyday Western Australians, and as Mines and Petroleum Minister, has helped to take the industry to new heights.

Mr Cook said that Mr Johnston has never lost his union roots, and has overseen long-awaited and critical reforms to bolster protections for workers right across the state.

“Bill has also never shied away from a challenge, never hesitating to take on some of Government’s most challenging portfolios as part of his commitment to the Western Australian community.

“His intellect and grasp of policy detail will be missed from the Labor team.

“I thank Bill for his great contribution to Western Australia and to his community.”

Industry response

Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) Chief Executive, Rebecca Tomkinson, said that Mr Johnston had delivered a range of initiatives aimed at helping the mining and resources sector to support the Western Australian economy and local communities. 

“Mr Johnston has been a fervent parliamentary representative of our sector for many years and it has been a pleasure to work with him on significant industry issues,” Ms Tomkinson said. 

“By way of example, the announcement of carbon capture utilisation and storage legislation introduced to the Western Australian Parliament is an important and clear path for emissions management as the industry moves to decarbonisation. 

“Mr Johnston understands the unique role the state’s resources sector plays on the national and global stages and that’s important because our industry contributes so much to the economy. 

“In Western Australia, the minerals and energy sectors are part of our DNA, so it is a tribute to Mr Johnston that he has recognised – and fought for – the potential of this state. 

“CME looks forward to continuing to work with the State Government’s leadership team on accelerating the path to net zero.” 

Featured image: Western Australian Minister for Mines, Petroleum and Energy, Bill Johnston. Image credit: CME.

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