WA premier backs ministers after mis-steps

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West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has brushed off talk of an imminent cabinet reshuffle following several ministerial gaffes.

The state's Liberal-National opposition has called on Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan to resign after she downplayed the possible impact of foot and mouth disease.

Ms MacTiernan, a veteran of state and federal politics, last week suggested an outbreak of the disease in Australia could result in cheaper milk and meat for consumers.

The comment drew heavy criticism from farming groups who said any outbreak would have a significant impact on local producers.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston has meanwhile faced backlash after it emerged that widespread sexual harassment within the resources industry had been under-reported by the government regulator.

Mr Johnston is also responsible for corrective services and recently approved a decision to transfer 17 youth detainees to an adult prison.

Communities Minister Simone McGurk has also had to defend her performance overseeing the mega-department, which includes child protection and housing.

Mr McGowan on Thursday defended his ministers.

"The reality is that a government always has issues, and there's always things that come up," he told reporters in Karratha.

"In the case of Alannah MacTiernan, she used some clumsy language and she's apologised for it.

"I think people need to move on. She's had a long and illustrious career of achievement and has done a great deal of good work for the agricultural sector across Western Australia."

The premier ruled out any imminent cabinet reshuffle, saying his government had provided stability and consistency during five-and-a-half years in office.

"And that's what people need, particularly in a world environment that is so uncertain and has so many issues going on," he said.

Mr McGowan, whose personal popularity remains virtually unprecedented for a West Australian premier, delivered a minor reshuffle late last year.

Amber-Jade Sanderson stepped up to become health minister while deputy premier Roger Cook was bumped to a less prominent role juggling the state development, jobs and trade, science, tourism and commerce portfolios.

Mr McGowan replaced the retiring Ben Wyatt as treasurer after his government was re-elected last year and has given no indication he intends to relinquish the portfolio.

The premier was in WA's Pilbara region on Thursday to spruik the uptake of capped-price airfares for people living in regional areas.

Under the scheme, people travelling to Perth from an airport within 1000km driving distance pay no more than $398 return, or $199 each way.

Fares for people more than 1000km away are capped at $598 return, or $299 each way.

Mr McGowan said the scheme had been "remarkably successful" with 4400 people taking up the cheap fares since they came into effect on July 1.

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