Perrottet’s refresh reshuffle sets a course to 2023 poll.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet significantly refreshed his Cabinet today, injecting generational change by elevating nine MPs to the Ministry and adding a number of new portfolios – Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Cities, Science, Innovation and Technology, Active Transport, Homes and Regional Health. These personnel changes are intended to renew the Government and give it a new look after 10 years in office, with Labor looking its most competitive in recent years.
In putting his stamp on the Cabinet, the Premier has picked the team he wants to take to the election in March 2023. This is now very much his Government with the last vestiges of the Berejiklian years gone.
The Premier is looking beyond the current infrastructure pipeline to craft a new agenda with fresh ideas that can capture the support of the electorate as the Government seeks a record fourth term in office.
Read on for pen portraits of the new ministers and a full Cabinet list.
The total number of Ministers has increased from 21 to 26, and there are two additional women in the Cabinet, taking the total number of women to seven. The Premier has also leant on the experience of some senior ministers in keeping key portfolios such as Health and Education unchanged.
Deputy Premier and Nationals leader Paul Toole has taken back the role of Police Minister for the Nationals, while the former minister David Elliott will take on Transport and Veterans. Treasurer Kean has kept the Energy portfolio but Environment has been taken by first-time Minister James Griffin. Another up and coming Liberal, Alister Henskens, has been promoted into the Skills and Training and Science, Innovation and Technology portfolios.
There have been some other shifts across the Coalition with the Nationals taking Racing (Kevin Anderson), Emergency Services and Resilience (Stephanie Cooke), Aboriginal Affairs and the Arts (Ben Franklin). The Liberals have taken back Fair Trading, which goes to Miranda MP Eleni Petinos. Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Bronnie Taylor, has had Regional Health added to her responsibility as Minister for Women and Minister for Mental Health.
Minister Brad Hazzard (Health), Sarah Mitchell (Education and Early Childhood), Mark Speakman (Attorney General), Victor Dominello (Customer Service and Digital Government) and Damian Tudehope (Finance) have kept their portfolios, providing continuity in the lead up to the election.
Focus on home ownership
Anthony Roberts returns to Planning and has the new Homes portfolio. This new portfolio includes social housing but will also have a focus on home ownership and housing affordability. Housing affordability is a key priority for the Premier and part of his stamp duty tax reform agenda. Treasurer Kean acknowledged this priority at a recent industry boardroom event.
To build more affordable and liveable cities, Rob Stokes has been given Infrastructure and the new Cities and Active Transport portfolios. This sees Stokes taking a more high-level strategic planning role as the new government sets out its next infrastructure agenda for the State before it returns to the polls in March 2023.
Business super portfolio
New Deputy Liberal Leader Stuart Ayres is rewarded with a new super-portfolio of Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Tourism and continues as Minister for Western Sydney, reflecting the Government’s business-friendly focus. He has also reclaimed the Minister for Sport portfolio he held previously.
New parliamentary leaders
Also a significant shift, there is a brand-new parliamentary leadership team to manage the fractious business of getting legislation passed with minority support in the Upper House. Alister Henskens is the new Leader of the Upper House in the Legislative Assembly while Damien Tudehope is the new Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council.
Machinery of government
The new Cabinet will mean some significant changes to government departments to align with the new ministries. The Government indicated today that it would not implement these changes until 1 April 2022 with highly experienced head of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Michael Coutts-Trotter, taking time to bed the new arrangements in.