Ayres could return as NSW ministers leave

·2-min read

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has left the door open for a former minister to return to cabinet as he pushes the Liberal party to sort out preselections well ahead of the March election.

Mr Perrottet says he has made it very clear to the party's state executive he does not want a repeat of the saga preceding the federal election, which ended up in the High Court.

The premier, former prime minister Scott Morrison and former Liberals president, Chris McDiven, were on a federal executive committee that appointed candidates after preselection delays, overruling local branches.

The court rejected an attempt by unsuccessful candidate Matthew Camenzuli to challenge the intervention, finding it out of its jurisdiction.

Mr Perrottet said on Thursday that situation will not be repeated ahead of the NSW election.

"The Liberal party will open nominations shortly, the allocations will get achieved and we won't see what happened at a federal level where the Liberal party had issues," he said.

"I want (preselections) done as quickly as possible, because that provides an opportunity for people to put their hands up and have a go," he said.

He has not had further briefings on the party's investigation into alleged branch stacking but said he would seek an update.

Mr Perrottet also left the door open for former senior minister and deputy Liberal leader Stuart Ayres to return to cabinet after he resigned last month.

He plans to decide after reading the report from former ICAC inspector Bruce McClintock SC into potential breaches of the ministerial code of conduct.

A separate review concluded the appointment of former deputy premier John Barilaro to a lucrative overseas trade role "did not occur at arm's length" from Mr Ayres.

"I'll read the report and I'll have something more to say once I've done that ... I'm not going to discuss hypotheticals," Mr Perrottet said on Thursday.

"There are always opportunities for people to come back and serve in the NSW government in different ways," he added.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns took aim at the suggestion Mr Ayres could return on Thursday.

"It would fly in the face of the government's repeated assurances that they've learned the lesson from the Barilaro drama and saga," he said.

Mr Perrottet faces a growing list of departing ministers as the election approaches.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello and Corrections Minister Geoff Lee have both announced they will not stand in March.

Speculation is rife about the future of Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Infrastructure Minister Rob Stokes but neither has revealed a decision.

Veterans, Transport and Western Sydney Minister David Elliott's Baulkham Hills electorate is being redistributed out of existence and he will have seek another seat to remain in parliament.