First-term MP Jackie Jarvis was ushered into Premier Mark McGowan’s inner circle this week, handed the crucial agriculture and food portfolios in the wake of veteran minister Alannah MacTiernan’s retirement. But Ms MacTiernan’s regional development portfolio was handed to Bunbury MLA Don Punch — a former South West Development Commission chief executive — despite Mrs Jarvis’ background with Regional Development Australia. Mrs Jarvis also received the forestry and small business portfolios. The pre-Christmas Cabinet reshuffle stirred some criticism from the State’s Opposition with Mr McGowan adding four new Parliamentary secretaries as part of the shake-up, adding $400,000 to taxpayers’ bill for the Labor Government. Mrs Jarvis, who has a background in agriculture and winemaking and owns Jarvis Estate winery near Cowaramup with her husband Matt, would also gain a suite of new ministerial resources as part of her promotion. She told the Times said she was grateful to the Premier and would be “giving my all”. “It is vital to have a strong voice in Cabinet that speaks up for regional communities right across our State, as well as for the broader community,” she said. “Appointing two women to the new Cabinet team is another example of how the Premier and Government are moving this State forward and how our team is committed to delivering on the things that matter for Western Australians.” Mrs Jarvis also said she “absolutely” supported live sheep exports — a notable change in stance from her predecessor Ms MacTiernan, who had a fractious relationship with some industry players. Opposition Leader Mia Davies said spending to fill out Mr McGowan’s Cabinet while not finalising better pay and conditions for police and nurses was “astonishing” “Now the internal jostling for Cabinet positions and a pay rise is done, it’s time the Premier got on with dealing with the crises in health, housing and cost-of-living impacting so many West Australians,” she said. Initially having a background in finance, Mrs Jarvis and her husband moved to the Margaret River region in 1998 and launched Jarvis Estate in 2002. The couple have three daughters, and when the youngsters were all in school Mrs Jarvis returned to off-farm work focused on agribusiness and regional development. She served as director of the Foundation for Agriculture Women between 2005 and 2008, served on the WA Planning Commission’s South West Region Committee between 2005 and 2009, and was inaugural chair of Regional Development Australia’s South West office while working as a small business specialist with the ANZ bank. In recent years she has occupied a variety of advisory roles and was a commissioner of the Forest Products Commission until 2020, which would feed into her new forestry portfolio. In 2019, Mrs Jarvis was named rural community leader of the year in the Australian Farmer of the Year awards. Before contesting last year’s State election, where she was elected to an Upper House role for the South West — amid Labor’s late-revealed moves to remove Legislative Council zones across the State — Mrs Jarvis worked as manager of industry capacity and workforce for WA’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.