The Western Australian Minister for Mines, Petroleum and Energy, Bill Johnston, has announced that he will step down from Cabinet and that he will not contest the 2025 State Election. 

Mr Johnston was elected to Parliament representing Cannington in 2008 and has served as Mines and Petroleum Minister since 2017, overseeing record resources industry exports.

As Energy Minister since 2018, Mr Johnston has steered Western Australia’s transition to renewable energy – delivering the state’s biggest ever investments into renewable energy generation and storage, and pushing forward the transformation of the state’s electricity grids.

Mr Johnston held the Industrial Relations portfolio for most of the past six years, delivering reforms for workers across the state, including driving an overhaul of the state’s work health and safety regime.

Mr Johnston has also served as Corrective Services, Electoral Affairs, Commerce, Asian Engagement and Hydrogen Industry Minister.

Prior to entering Parliament, Mr Johnston played a major role in the labour movement in Western Australia – serving as State Secretary of WA Labor for seven years, and as a senior official for the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association.

Mr Johnston has been a passionate advocate for deepening Western Australia’s ties with Indonesia, after spending his final year of high school as an exchange student in Bandung in West Java. 

Mr Johnston will see out the remainder of this term of Parliament as the Member for Cannington, before retiring at the 2025 State Election.

The Western Australian Premier, Roger Cook will call a special meeting of the Labor Caucus on Thursday, 7 December, to elect a new Cabinet Minister.

Mr 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 & Petroleum Minister, has helped to take the industry to new heights.” 

Mr Cook said that Mr Johnston has never lost his union roots, and that he 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

Australian Energy Producers Western Australia Director, Caroline Cherry, said Mr Johnston leaves a strong legacy.

“Mr Johnston has been a strong advocate for the oil and gas sector – he understands the industry, its priorities and its strong, essential role in delivering wide-ranging benefits to the state,” Ms Cherry said.

“This approach has contributed significantly to the prosperity and development of the Western Australian resources sector over the past six years.

“Mr Johnston has driven several important initiatives to help secure the state’s prosperity as it transforms from a resources powerhouse to becoming a decarbonisation powerhouse, seizing the economic opportunities of net zero while lowering emissions. 

“In particular, yesterday’s introduction of legislation into the Western Australia Parliament to enable carbon capture and storage (CCS) – a key technology on the path to net zero.

“Western Australia’s oil and gas industry looks forward to continuing to work with Premier Roger Cook, and Mr Johnston’s replacement, to strengthen the state’s economy and accelerate the energy system transformation to net zero.”

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