April 23 - Liberal National Party (LNP) member Jann Stuckey has been appointed as the Queensland Minister for Tourism and the Commonwealth Games by new Premier Campbell Newman meaning that she will be the Government official charged with leading the preparations for Gold Coast 2018.
Newman was sworn in as the new Premier of Queensland last month after crushing his predecessor Anna Bligh of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in the election and it was widely suggested that he would oversee preparations for Gold Coast 2018 personally by appointing himself as the Commonwealth Games Minister.
But Newman has decided to appoint his close ally Stuckey (pictured), a long standing Gold Coast MP, to the prestigious position.
"Congratulations on your success in the electorate of Currumbin and thank you for accepting my invitation to serve Queensland as the Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and Commonwealth Games," said Newman in a letter to Stuckey.
Newman's (pictured right) letter continued that one of Stuckey's key roles will now be to: "Coordinate and lead the preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games to be held on the Gold Coast, including planning and consulting with local residents and sporting groups on the best way to build the facilities needed to host the Games."
Stuckey was first elected in February 2004 as a member of the Liberal Party shortly after she moved to the Gold Coast in 1987.
Prior to that election, the 57-year-old from Adelaide ran a successful Communications Consultancy specialising in professional development, speaker coaching and conflict resolution.
She joined the newly formed LNP in 2008 when the Liberal Party and the Nationals merged in Queensland.
Before the state election last month, she served as the Shadow Minister for Tourism, Small Business and Manufacturing.
"With six years until the Gold Coast opens its doors to the world, the clock is ticking and there's a lot of work to do to prepare," said Stuckey.
"This is a great opportunity to showcase Queensland and it will be a great boost for the state's tourism.
"As the Minister for the Commonwealth Games, I look forward to working closely with Gold Coast 2018 chairman Mark Stockwell and his team to ensure the event sees the Gold Coast, and Queensland, shine as a major tourism, sporting, events and business destination."
Stuckey will now be involved in establishing a new Organising Committee Board for Gold Coast 2018, which is likely to be announced in the coming weeks.
Bligh (pictured), who played a leading role in helping the Gold Coast secure the 2018 Commonwealth Games, had originally hoped to establish the Organising Committee Board at the beginning of the year, but delayed plans because of the elections.
The Board is due to be in place ahead of a high profile visit to the Gold Coast from Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Prince Tunku Imran and chief executive Mike Hooper in June.
The visit will be the CGF's first official trip to the Gold Coast since the city won the right to stage the Commonwealth Games last November when they defeated sole rival Hambantota of Sri Lanka by 43 votes to 27 at the CGF General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis.
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February 2012: Gold Coast 2018 Board to be set-up after Queensland state election