The NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell today announced his new ministry, with a few surprises.
Much has been made in the media about the two new MPs, Robyn Parker (Maitland) who is Environment and Heritage Minister and Graham Annesley (Miranda), who takes over Sport and Recreation. Victor Dominello (Ryde) who was in the previous parliament but not the shadow Cabinet has been appointed Minister for Citizenship, Communities and Aboriginal Affairs.
There are however a few other interesting things about the new Ministry, based on the list reproduced below from the Australian:
- Consistent with his election commitment, O’Farrell has brought planning and infrastructure together under one Minister, Brad Hazzard (Wakehurst), who is also Minister Assisting the Premier on Infrastructure NSW (another election promise). However he has also appointed Andrew Stoner (Oxley), the Nationals leader, as Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services. In effect this means that there are two Ministers with responsibility for infrastructure, as well as by implication the Premier. It will be fascinating to see how this pans out.
- O’Farrell has retained and broadened the regional ministry concept introduced by the previous Labour government back in 1997. The previous government also adopted then gradually abandoned a corresponding regional approach to the delivery of both State-wide initiatives (eg, the State Plan) and metropolitan ones (eg, the Metropolitan Strategy), while retaining the regional minsters, often in name only.
- Under the new government, regional ministries now cover most of the state. Three of these regional ministries (Central Coast, North Coast and Western NSW) are held by MPs with seats in the relevant areas. Two (Hunter and the Illawarra) are held by MLCs, while the sixth (Western Sydney) is held by O’Farrell himself (again an election commitment). The new Government’s embrace of regional ministries and the appointment of Stoner as Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services may signal a return to a more regionalised approach to deliver, though what that means within Sydney is yet to be seen.
- While it is an encouraging sign of the region’s significance to the new government that O’Farrell appointed himself as Western Sydney Minister, it is unfortunate that not one of the new faces in the Ministry is from Western Sydney, despite its strong representation in the new government. The Cabinet is overwhelmingly made up of members from the North Shore and rural areas – understandable to some extent, given the nature of the Coalition government and the fact that virtually all the Western Sydney MPs were neophytes, but still disappointing. O’Farrell should move to redress this imbalance in the appointment of positions such as Parliamentary Secretaries and Committee Chairs and members.
- The appointment of George Souris (Upper Hunter) as Minister for the Arts (as well as Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing) was a surprise to some who had expected the addition of the Arts to Robyn Parker’s (Maitland) portfolios of Environment and Heritage. While keeping Arts with Souris’s other responsibilities may be more consistent with the current Departmental structure, linking it to Environment and in particular Heritage would have seemed a more natural fit. Hopefully the Arts portfolio will enjoy a higher profile and more funding under the new Government, irrespective of who has Ministerial responsibility for it.
- The Ministries of Climate Change and Water have disappeared from the new Cabinet. The implications for the corresponding departments are yet to be announced, though one possibility is that responsibility for Water will fall under the Resources portfolio and Climate Change – assuming it has a future as a separate entity – under Environment.
|Name||Portolio(s)||Seat (or MLC), Party|
|Barry O’Farrell||Premier, Minister for Western Sydney||Liberal, Ku-ring-gai|
|Andrew Stoner||Deputy Premier, Minister for Trade and Investment and Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services||National, Oxley|
|Jillian Skinner||Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research||Liberal, North Shore|
|Adrian Piccoli||Minister for Education||National, Murrumbidgee|
|Michael Gallacher||Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Hunter and Vice- President of the Executive Council||Liberal, MLC|
|Duncan Gay||Minister for Roads and Ports||National, MLC|
|Brad Hazzard||Minister for Planning and Infrastructure and Minister Assisting the Premier on Infrastructure NSW||Liberal, Wakehurst|
|Christopher Hartcher||Minister for Resources and Energy, Special Minister of State and Minister for the Central Coast||Liberal, Terrigal|
|Gladys Berejiklian||Minister for Transport||Liberal, Willoughby|
|George Souris||Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing and Minister for the Arts||National, Upper Hunter|
|Mike Baird||Treasurer||Liberal, Manly|
|Greg Pearce||Minister for Finance and Services and Minister for the Illawarra||Liberal, MLC|
|Katrina Hodgkinson||Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Small Business||National, Burrinjuck|
|Andrew Constance||Minister for Ageing and Minister for Disability Services||Liberal, Bega|
|Gregory Smith||Attorney-General and Minister for Justice||Liberal, Epping|
|Don Page||Minister for Local Government and Minister for the North Coast||National, Ballina|
|Pru Goward||Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Women||Liberal, Goulburn|
|Anthony Roberts||Minister for Fair Trading||Liberal, Lane Cove|
|Kevin Humphries||Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Healthy Lifestyles and Minister for Western NSW||National, Barwon|
|Robyn Parker||Minister for the Environment and Minister for Heritage||Liberal, Maitland|
|Victor Dominello||Minister for Citizenship and Communities and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs||Liberal, Ryde|
|Graham Annesley||Minister for Sport and Recreation||Liberal, Miranda|