Baptism of fire for new NSW premier

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Dominic Perrottet's first two months steering NSW will be a baptism of fire.

By the year's end, the state's youngest ever premier will have suffered through three by-elections, a damaging public interrogation of his predecessor Gladys Berejiklian, a cabinet reshuffle and a key debate on sensitive legislation.

With an election not due until March 2023, he has taken the helm of a minority government with the coalition reduced to 46 seats in the 93-seat lower chamber where Labor has 36 seats and the crossbench 11.

But his government's first challenge will be navigating the state out of lockdown, which will have lasted more than 15 weeks in Greater Sydney.

Sworn in as premier on Tuesday after winning the Liberal leadership in a party-room vote, one of the first things Mr Perrottet announced he would do was meet with the state's crisis cabinet to review "issues" with the roadmap out of lockdown.

The state is nearing its 70 per cent double-dose vaccination target, which should trigger an easing of restrictions on October 11.

Key to the transition will be a crucial economic recovery plan, which the premier will begin to unveil this week, and the ability of the state's health system to cope with a spike in cases when restrictions ease.

Ms Berejiklian's appearance at a corruption inquiry from October 18 may pose a challenge for the government, with other ministers expected to be called to give evidence.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption hearings - which prompted Ms Berejiklian's resignation on Friday - will probe whether she "exercised public functions" in a position of conflict given her secret five-year relationship with former MP Daryl Maguire.

Also due in October is debate on a bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying (VAD).

A staunch Catholic, Mr Perrottet opposed the contentious decriminalisation of abortion in NSW, making advocates of VAD nervous a vote on the matter could be doomed to fail under his premiership.

But on Tuesday Mr Perrottet said the issue would be dealt with "delicately", saying he believed Liberal MPs should be granted a conscience vote.

"In the main, conscience votes bring out the best in our parliaments. There is respect from both sides in relation to people's views, and that's incredibly important," he said.

Then will come three by-elections, for the seats of Willoughby, Bega, and Monaro, vacated by Ms Berejiklian, Transport Minister Andrew Constance and retiring deputy premier John Barilaro.

While all are held by the coalition on safe or fairly safe margins, losing two or more could force the government to rely on votes from the crossbench.

Over summer, Mr Perrottet will also have to negotiate a cabinet reshuffle, with colleagues angling for him to boost the number and ranks of women. Just two Liberal women remain in the cabinet.

But if Mr Perrettot is fazed by the challenges ahead, he's not letting on, on Tuesday declaring good times are coming for the state.

"I know it's been a difficult time. But I have complete hope and optimism that our state's future is incredibly bright."

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