Labor MP Sharon Bird to exit parliament

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Federal Labor MP Sharon Bird will quit politics when Australia heads to the polls after holding the NSW seat of Cunningham for more than 17 years.

Ms Bird holds the electorate in the NSW Illawarra region, taking in Wollongong, with a margin of more than 13 per cent.

She has been re-elected five times after first taking the seat in 2004.

"This has not been an easy decision to reach," Ms Bird said on Friday of her pending retirement at the election due by May 2022.

"However I am now at a stage of my life where I need to focus more fully on the people I love in my family, who have given years of total support to me and lived with my regular absences knowing how important my work has been to our community.

"I want to now repay that and give them much more of my time."

Ms Bird briefly held the portfolios of higher education, regional development and road safety under the Gillard and Rudd governments in 2013.

She indicated she would campaign with the opposition's new candidate in the lead-up to the election.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese congratulated Ms Bird for being an outstanding representative for Wollongong.

"Your friendship, passion and commitment particularly to young people receiving skills and opportunities will be missed when you retire at the next election," Mr Albanese tweeted.

Other retiring Labor MPs include Chris Hayes from the western Sydney seat of Fowler, Julie Owens from Parramatta and Joel Fitzgibbon from the NSW electorate of Hunter.

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