IN a dramatic leadership spill on Monday, Barnaby Joyce clawed his way back to the top seat in the National Party, vanquishing Michael McCormack, who had been the leader of the party for three-and-a-bit years. Mr McCormack has also been the minister for infrastructure and transport during his time as leader of the National Party.

Mr Joyce was on Tuesday sworn in as deputy prime minister on Monday morning, and the ABC reported he was at the same time sworn in as the minister for infrastructure and regional development.

Before it was known who would be in the transport and infrastructure portfolio, one industry insider commented to DCN: “Heaven forbid it’s Barnaby!”

Oh, but it is Barnaby.

Many of us will remember Mr Joyce was minister for infrastructure for about two and a half months in late 2017 and early 2018. He left the portfolio when scandal and allegations of sexual harassment drove him to exile on the back bench.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has welcomed Mr Joyce’s appointment as infrastructure minister and thanked outgoing minister Michael McCormack.

NHVR chair Duncan Gay said he looked forward to working with Mr Joyce to continue to grow safety, productivity and efficiency across the heavy vehicle industry.

“On behalf of NHVR staff, chief executive and the board, I congratulate Barnaby and welcome him to the role,” Mr Gay said.

“Barnaby has always been a supporter of delivering improved transport and infrastructure outcomes.

“I look forward to working with him to continue to deliver national consistency and reform for the heavy vehicle industry and improved road safety for all road users.” 

Mr Gay also thanked outgoing Minister Michael McCormack for his support.

“Michael was a strong advocate for regional communities and I thank him for his ongoing support of the NHVR,” he said. “I have no doubt that he will continue to play a role in championing the importance of heavy vehicle safety well into the future.”

DCN has also heard from industry sources that the assistant minister for road safety and freight transport Scott Buchholz will be retaining his position.