Berejiklian re-jig revealed
New NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has dumped senior MPs in favour of fresh blood.
Ms Berejiklian unveiled her new-look cabinet with seven new faces on the weekend, with a front bench she says combines “a mix of experience and fresh new blood”, including new portfolios dedicated to Counter Terrorism and the WestConnex project.
Long-serving minister Brad Hazzard has taken the health portfolio left empty after Jillian Skinner quit Parliament last week, which also sparked a potentially difficult by-election for the Government.
Reports say Ms Skinner’s resignation came after a tense conversation with the Premier, in which Ms Skinner refused to take any ‘lesser’ role than the health portfolio.
Calls to sack Ms Skinner after six years as Health Minister began in the wake of her unimpressive reaction to the accidental gassing of two babies at Bankstown Hospital last year.
“I sat down with Jillian, who has been a long-time friend and mentor, and we discussed the future and that was her decision,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“When you talk about the future, of course it’s always a difficult conversation... I made my position clear.”
Nationals MP Melinda Pavey will take over the Roads, Maritime and Freight portfolio from Duncan Gay, while Robert Stokes steps in to replace Adrian Piccoli in the Education portfolio.
“He is as passionate about Gonski as I am, and as Mr Piccoli was,” Ms Berejiklian said of Mr Stokes.
“I respect and appreciate what a public education means for people having been to a public primary school myself.”
Mr Piccoli released a statement on his time as Education Minister.
“The three school sectors are working better together now than ever before, putting students at the centre of everything they do and I am pleased to have played a significant part in that,” he said.
Ms Berejiklian said “the time we live in” required a specific Counter Terrorism portfolio (to be held by David Elliott), which will involve liaising with the Federal Government.
Ray Williams, a former panel beater and member of the NSW Liberals’ ‘hard right’ faction, has assumed the role of Minister for Multiculturalism.
Stuart Ayres is now the Minister for Western Sydney, WestConnex, and Sport, dropping the Trade and Tourism portfolios.
The new cabinet is as follows:
Gladys Berejiklian, Premier
John Barilaro, Deputy Premier, Regional NSW, Skills, and Small Business
Dominic Perrottet, Treasurer, and Industrial Relations
Niall Blair, Primary Industries, Regional Water, and Trade and Industry
Don Harwin, Resources, Energy and Utilities, Arts
Anthony Roberts, Planning, Housing, and Special Minister of State
Andrew Constance, Transport and Infrastructure
Brad Hazzard, Health, Medical Research
Rob Stokes, Education
Mark Speakman, Attorney General
Troy Grant, Police and Emergency Services
Victor Dominello, Finance, Services and Property
Pru Goward, Family and Community Services, Social Housing, and Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Paul Toole, Lands and Forestry, and Racing
David Elliott, Counter Terrorism, Corrections, and Veterans Affairs
Gabrielle Upton, Environment, Local Government, and Heritage
Stuart Ayres, Western Sydney, WestConnex, and Sport
Melinda Pavey, Roads, Maritime and Freight
Matt Kean, Innovation and Better Regulation
Adam Marshall, Tourism and Major Events, and Assistant Minister for Skills