NSW premier Dominic Perrottet has announced the new ministry portfolios following the resignation of Stuart Ayres yesterday over Ayres’ involvement in the John Barilaro scandal.
Alister Henskens will take on the portfolio of minister for enterprise, investment and trade, in addition to his current portfolios of minister for skills and training and minister for science, innovation and technology.
The change means Henskens is now responsible for Investment NSW, whose CEO appeared before the upper house inquiry into Barilaro’s appointment as senior trade and investment commissioner (STIC) to the Americas yesterday, as reported in The Mandarin.
Minister for Aboriginal affairs, minister for the arts, and minister for regional youth Ben Franklin adds minister for tourism to his portfolios.
David Elliot is now also minister for Western Sydney, on top of his portfolios of minister for transport and minister for veterans affairs.
Perrottet said the changes take effect this Friday, August 5, when recommendations will be submitted to the governor.
“These ministers have a proven track record of serving the people of NSW and I have full confidence that they have the experience to take on these additional responsibilities,” the premier said.
A decision on who will become deputy leader of the NSW Liberal Party has yet to be made.
In a press conference yesterday afternoon, NSW Labor leader Chris Minns called the resignation of Ayres the “right decision”, however, he also called for greater transparency about the situation from the government.
“The cover-up here is probably worse than the crime,” Minns said, agreeing to a question put to him by a journalist.
Labor MP Daniel Mookhey, who is a member of the upper house committee looking into Barilaro’s appointment, called on Perrottet to say whether Ayres’ potential breach of the ministerial code of conduct has been referred to NSW ICAC.
Ayres has denied he breached the code but said he resigned to maintain the integrity of the Liberal party.