Business welcomes new ministers

Julia Gillard's new cabinet appointments have had a generally positive reception from business, particularly Gary Gray's appointment as Minister for Resources.

The Australian Industry Group, which has a particular focus on the manufacturing sector, has welcomed the addition of tertiary education, skills, science and research to Craig Emerson's current role as Minister for Trade and Competitiveness.

"The business community has enjoyed strong engagement with the Minister in his trade role.

We look forward to developing this relationship further," the group's chief executive Innes Willox said in a statement.

The group was also pleased with the formal merging of the two distinct areas of Greg Combet's portfolio.

"The merger of the Departments of Industry and Climate Change highlights the importance of the general links between industry competitiveness and climate policy and the particular importance of programs that reduce businesses exposure to carbon pricing and higher energy costs," Mr Willox added.

West won over Western Australia's mining industry has welcomed Gary Gray's appointment as Resources Minister, saying it now has a "champion" to bat for it.

The Federal Member for the Western Australian seat of Brand has previously worked as an executive at oil and gas company Woodside and on a government taskforce on employment in the sector.

Nicole Rooke from the Chamber of Minerals and Energy says Mr Gray brings a large amount of experience in the sector to the role.

"He has a really comprehensive understanding of the issues that exist in this state, the issues that impact on the resources sector," she said.

"He has specifically worked in the industry before so that gives him firsthand knowledge of how government policy will impact on the sector." Nicole Rooke says it is particularly satisfying to have a Western Australian on board.

"Our challenge has been to ensure federal politicians and federal bureaucrats understand the impact of their decisions on Western Australia," she said.

"So to have Gary take that leadership role will mean we have a champion in Canberra." The Australian Mines and Metals Association chief executive Steve Knott says the industry is relieved by the appointment.

"What's often not reported is what's going on in the offshore oil and gas area - there is about $650 billion of projects, and a lot of people down south in Australia have no comprehension of the magnitude of these mega projects.

Gary Gray does have that, he said."

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