Winston Harris, Senior Consultant
After little more than two months in the job, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has acted decisively and put his stamp on his front bench, making sweeping changes to the make-up of the NSW Cabinet.
The changes to the top key ministerial positions are minimal but the new Cabinet features several new ministers and the highest representation of women in a long time.
Deputy Premier and Leader of the Nationals Paul Toole has added the Police portfolio but dropped Regional Transport and Roads.
Key moderates and supporters of the Premier Matt Kean, Stuart Ayres and Rob Stokes have maintained their seniority in their respective roles.
David Elliott has gained the key Transport portfolio from Rob Stokes, who has dropped the Planning portfolio and been appointed Minister for Cities, Infrastructure and Active Transport. Matt Kean remains Treasurer but drops Environment from his responsibilities.
The experienced Cabinet members will be keen to get back to work in the New Year and build momentum for the election to be held in March 2023. The new ministerial appointments will no doubt take some time to get their feet under the table and appoint new staff to key positions.
There are nine first-time ministers in the new Cabinet, including Agriculture Minister and the Nationals’ Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders. He replaces Adam Marshall, who has been dropped from the Ministry altogether, along with Melinda Pavey.
The key Planning portfolio has been returned to Anthony Roberts MP, who previously held the role from January 2017 to April 2019.
Other key changes include the establishment of the new Ministry of Environment and Heritage, with Liberal MP James Griffin appointed as Minister; Upper House MP Sam Farraway appointed as Minister for Regional Transport and Roads; his Upper House colleague and rising Nationals MLC Ben Franklin appointed as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and the Arts and Regional Youth and Nationals MP and Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke, appointed to the Emergency Services and Resilience portfolio.
In all, the Nationals have been allocated eight of the 26 ministries, giving the Government just over 12 months to prepare for the next NSW election, scheduled for the 25th March 2023.