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Vic govt names alternate planning minister

The Victorian government has appointed another minister to rule on cases connected to a lobbying firm with family ties to the state’s planning minister.

Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio will rule on matters involving Hawker Britton, whose director John-Paul Blandthorn is the brother of planning minister Lizzie Blandthorn.

Hawker Britton’s clients include construction giant John Holland, tasked with building the West Gate Tunnel, Mirvac, the Dennis Family Corporation and Melbourne Airport.

Ms Blandthorn was given decision-making powers on planning permits and land rezoning following her appointment as planning minister last month, in a sweeping cabinet reshuffle ahead of the November state election.

In response to potential or perceived conflicts of interest, the Andrews government announced an alternate minister would be delegated for matters linked to Hawker Britton but did not confirm who would fill the role until Monday.

Opposition planning spokesman Ryan Smith said the situation remains “unworkable” despite Ms Blandthorn’s exclusion, and called for the premier to immediately appoint a planning minister capable of performing the role.

“Victoria’s planning and construction sectors deserve certainty and consistency in decision making,” he said in a statement.

Ms Blandthorn’s office has been contacted for comment.

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