Mr Gray is now the Minister for Resources and Energy, Tourism and Small Business after a further cabinet reshuffle this week in the wake of last week’s aborted leadership spill.
Ms Gillard announced the changes on Monday and praised Mr Gray, a former Woodside executive.
‘He has been a tireless advocate for business in his own community and in WA and will bring that purpose to promoting the interests of the tourism sector and small business,’ she said.
Attorney General Mark Dreyfus will take on Mr Gray’s former portfolios of Special Minister of State and Public Service and Integrity.
Mr Gray’s appointment drew praise from the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy but criticism from the Conservation Council and Greens over his previous role with energy giant Woodside.
But Mr Gray said it was important that states with large resources and mining sectors like WA were represented in the parliament.
‘It’s something the PM has seen as a good fit for my work ethic and abilities,’ he said.
Mr Gray said his experience in the energy sector brought an understanding of the importance of Australia remaining a competitive global exporter in the face of volatile global commodity prices and tighter competition.
He said his goal was to operate a ‘steady ship’ until the election.