Bill Byrne steps into new role after MP resigns over unpaid rates
POLICE and Corrective Services Minister Bill Byrne has stepped into another role following the resignation of one of his parliamentary colleagues last night.
The Rockhampton MP will also serve as Acting Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, the portfolio formerly held by Leanne Donaldson who resigned at 8pm following a day of revelations about her personal finances.
The first-term Bundaberg MP this morning apologised to the Bundaberg City Council and people of her electorate after the Queensland Branch of the ALP paid three years worth of overdue property rates totalling almost $8000.
Ms Donaldson, who earns $321,713 per year in her ministerial role, this morning said she would pay back the debt next week.
Ms Donaldson also became aware her vehicle registration had not been paid by the due date last week, but drove it on the expiry date.
"Clearly this does not meet the high standards set by the Premier for all members of the government,” she said last night.
"I therefore informed the Premier tonight of my decision to resign as minister.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mr Byrne had served as Agriculture and Fisheries Minister last year, and has worked closely with stakeholders across primary industries.
"My Government is making an historic commitment to primary industries, whether it is providing greater access to financial assistance for producers, or restoring our biosecurity preparedness and combatting wild dogs to support the sheep and wool industry, or new management arrangements for sustainable fishing, or advancing agriculture and fisheries through research and development,” Ms Palasczcuk said.
Ms Donaldson will remain the MP for Bundaberg, maintaining the government's power in the state;s hung parliament, supported by Speaker Peter Wellington.