McFarlane takes infrastructure on Abbott's team

Ian McFarlane new infrastructure shadow minister; Warren Truss retains transport

Ian McFarlane will lead the Coalition on infrastructure policy, with Nationals leader Warren Truss retaining transport in Tony Abbott’s reshuffle of the shadow ministry.

The new-look front bench rewards the people responsible for delivering Abbott the leadership of the Liberal Party last week and revives the careers of a number of Howard Government ministers.

McFarlane, formerly the energy and resources spokesperson, led negotiations on the emissions trading scheme before Abbott dumped support for carbon taxes last week.

The Coalition splits the responsibility for infrastructure and transport, putting McFarlane and Truss against Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Anthony Albanese.

National Party renegade Barnaby Joyce has been confirmed as finance spokesperson, joining shadow treasurer and failed leadership candidate Joe Hockey in the economic team.

Abbott says the Government is "vulnerable" on economic management with three interest rate rises in the past three months.

Former ministers Kevin Andrews (families), Bronwyn Bishop (seniors) and Philip Ruddock (shadow cabinet secretary) also return to key positions on the front bench.

Eric Abetz has been elevated to the industrial relations portfolio, while Greg Hunt becomes shadow minister for "climate action" as the Liberals develop an alternative to the Government's emissions trading scheme.

Abbott calls it a "campaigning team" that will give the Government "the fright of its life".

Truss says the new appointments means the Opposition is best placed to hold the Government to account.

He says the Government has failed to live up to its promises on transport and has also accused Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of failing regional Australia, the economy, border security and climate change.

Truss also welcomed the inclusion of Joyce as the opposition spokesman on finance and debt reduction.

"Barnaby is a fighter for regional Australia and small business, and is uniquely placed to expose Labor’s ongoing failures on the economy and getting debt under control," Truss says.

He says the new shadow cabinet "places a lazy and do-nothing Labor team on notice that its time will soon be up".

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