NSW Premier Chris Minns will appoint the state’s first female ministers of police, energy, natural resources, regional NSW, transport and finance in his new cabinet, marking a historic shift that will put women into 50 per cent of the state government’s frontbench positions.
Minns has announced a slightly reduced cabinet of 22 ministers – down from the Coalition’s 23 – as part of his government’s mandate to “rebuild our essential services” and execute reforms promised ahead of Labor’s election victory.
Senior upper house MP Penny Sharpe will be named minister for energy and climate change, environment and heritage. The MP of 18 years will also be the first woman in NSW history to hold the position of leader of the government in the upper house.
Yasmin Catley will be appointed police minister, Tara Moriarty as minister for regional NSW, Courtney Houssos as finance minister and Jenny Aitchison the minister for regional transport.
Jihad Dib will take on customer service and digital government, emergency services and youth justice, while David Harris will be the minister for Aboriginal affairs and treaty, gaming and racing, veterans, medical research and the Central Coast.
Minns said he was proud of the team he would lead on behalf of NSW, vowing to live up to the promises he made in the face of a cost-of-living crisis.
“We have a clear mandate from the people of NSW to rebuild our essential services, to invest in the people who look after us – our nurses, teachers, paramedics, firefighters and police officers,” he said.
The cabinet announcement follows last week’s swearing-in of key members of Minns’ cabinet from critical ministries, among them Deputy Premier and Education Minister Prue Car, Treasurer and Minister for the Gig Economy Daniel Mookhey, Health Minister Ryan Park, Transport Minister Jo Haylen, Attorney-General Michael Daley and Special Minister of State John Graham.
The 50-50 gender split formalised in Minns’ cabinet (excluding the premier) represents a marked shift from the former Perrottet government, which initially had 26 ministers, of which only seven were women.
By the election, the former government’s cabinet had been reduced to 23, including six women.
Among recriminations levelled at the NSW Liberal Party for last month’s thumping election loss was that it failed to preselect strong female candidates to boost representation across the party. The Coalition ran 32 women in the poll for the lower house – 25 Liberals and seven Nationals – equating to just 34 per cent of all seats. Forty-three per cent of Labor’s candidates were women.
The remainder of the new government’s cabinet will be sworn in at Government House on Wednesday.
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