NSW’s new premier, Dominic Perrottet, won’t shake up the state’s ministry until later this year to keep leadership steady as the state prepares to ease health restrictions.
Becoming leader of the NSW Liberals on Tuesday after the departure of Gladys Berejiklian, Perrottet said he would continue past leaders’ infrastructure agendas but cast himself as “a family premier” serving workers.
He said his priority was to continue a plan to reopen the state while keeping people protected from coronavirus.
“I know how big the challenge ahead is for our state,” Perrottet said. “A stable, united government is vital to getting on with the work we’ve begun, so there will be no cabinet reshuffle before we are through this challenge.”
He intends to move environment minister Matt Kean to treasurer but plans for ministers to continue in current roles until “later in the year” — flagging summer as when a reshuffle will occur.
The Nationals are set to elect a new leader on Wednesday following John Barilaro’s departure, and Perrottet said discussions afterwards would focus on filling transport minister Andrew Constance’s portfolio, following Constance’s resignation.
The state is set to begin easing its lockdown on October 11 and Perrottet said he had no current plans for that to happen earlier.
“My intention at this stage is that day will remain on Monday for next week, but there are a number of issues that need to be looked at,” he said. “I don’t want to preempt anything.”
Perrottet received an overwhelming majority of 39 votes in a party ballot that also included Rob Stokes.
“Rob stokes is a great mate, and a great minister in this government, and will continue to play a very important role,” Perrottet said.
“I think we are blessed that we have so many people in this team who put their hands up for leader. That’s a sign of depth in a team.”
He also paid tribute to Berejiklian, who served as premier for nearly five years, but resigned to face ICAC investigations looking at whether she breached public trust during her relationship with former politician Daryl Maguire.
“It is my hope I will continue the strong leadership that Gladys has shown throughout this pandemic,” Perrottet said.