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Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale shuffled her cabinet Thursday, picking her key lieutenants nine months before the next election.

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Premier Kathy Dunderdale made several changes Thursday to her cabinet. ((CBC))

Dunderdale appointed backbencher Derrick Dalley to the business portfolio, rewarding a rookie who had scored a significant upset in the last election by defeating a former Liberal leader.

Dunderdale also moved four ministers to new portfolios during a ceremony at Government House in St. John's that saw no one leave the cabinet table.

Joan Burke has been returned to the education portfolio. Replacing her in the newly formed child, youth and family services portfolio is former environment minister Charlene Johnson.

Ross Wiseman, who had been business minister, is the new environment minister, while Darin King moves from Education to Human Resources, Labour and Employment.

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Derrick Dalley was first elected in 2007, when he narrowly defeated then Liberal leader Gerry Reid. ((CBC) )

The shuffle returns cabinet to the size it had been in December, when former premier Danny Williams retired from politics. Burke had also been the acting human resources minister for the last month.

The cabinet now has 20 members, including Dunderdale as premier.

"I look forward to the fresh perspectives and experiences they will bring to their particular portfolios, and personally thank them for their unwavering commitment and overall contributions to the people and the province," Dunderdale said in a statement.

Dalley, who represents The Isles of Notre Dame district, had been the parliamentary secretary to the minister of education. He was first elected in the 2007 election, when he narrowly defeated then Liberal leader Gerry Reid.

Heading into the fall election campaign, Dalley's appointment will give the Tories a greater profile in the Twillingate area, which has frequently voted Liberal since Confederation.

The governing Progressive Conservatives hold 42 of the 48 seats in the House of Assembly, the Liberals hold four seats, the NDP holds one and there is one vacancy.