Malcolm Turnbull's chief head kicker has just been appointed minister for industry and innovation

Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt. Picture: Getty Images

Industry minister Greg Hunt will move from industry to the health portfolio as part of the mini-reshuffle of the ministry after Sussan Ley was forced to resign over a travel expenses scandal.

“He has strong policy, analytical and communication skills developed over a long front bench career,” Turnbull said.

Hunt spent nearly a decade in the environment portfolio before shifting to industry six months ago after the July election. He was the former Abbott government’s chief advocate in the public debate to abolish Labor’s carbon tax.

NSW senator Arthur Sinodinos will take over Hunt’s former portfolio of industry, innovation and science, elevated from cabinet secretary. A former investment banker and John Howard’s chief of staff, Sinodinos is considered a chief supporter and enforcer for Turnbull as the prime minister battles the right of the party, but in 2014, he stood aside from his role as assistant treasurer during the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation into developer illegal donations to the Liberal Party. He was cleared of any misconduct.

Turnbull said Sinodinos had “restored traditional cabinet processes” while cabinet secretary.

“That being done, he can now turn his talents to a front line portfolio and the Cabinet Secretary function can return to the prime minister’s office as has been the practice of Coalition governments,” the PM said.

Turnbull cited a lack of proper cabinet processes as one of the reasons why he rolled former PM Tony Abbott for the top job in 2015.

The change will reduce the size of the Cabinet by one.

Western Australian MP Ken Wyatt will once again make history, promoted from assistant minister for health and aged care, to become minister for aged care and indigenous health, the first Aboriginal person appointed to a Commonwealth ministry.

Special Minister of state, senator Scott Ryan, will also be appointed minister assisting the prime minister for cabinet.

Victorian MP Michael Sukkar will be assistant minister to treasurer Scott Morrison.

The prime minister told reporters that there was more talent on his backbench that there were portfolios, saying it was a “lucky” position for him to be in.

“This is not a major reshuffle. It is driven by the consequence of one resignation,” Turnbull said.

Ley resigned after details emerged of an $800,000 investment property on the Gold Coast she said she bought “on impulse” while on a taxpayer-funded trip to Queensland. Details of subsequent bills for charter flights for thousands of dollars between capital cities, which the minister flew as the pilot at more than 10 times the cost of a commercial airline ticket, leading Turnbull to announce a review of MP expenses entitlements.

The new ministers will be sworn in by the Governor General next Tuesday.

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