Coalition unveils new look front bench

x x x x x
The ministry for the NSW Opposition has been established after the Liberal and Nationals faced major leadership changes in a chaotic 24 hours. Picture: NCA NewsWire

The NSW opposition front bench will include a portfolio for western Sydney and southwestern Sydney, as well as infrastructure and cities.

But there won’t be an opposition spokesperson for night time economy, better regulation and counter-terrorism.

A spokesperson for Liberal Leader Mark Speakman said the new Sydney southwestern portfolio was specifically created for the “strategic growth area”.

The opposition front bench was finally announced on Tuesday, more than six weeks after the coalition lost the March 25 state election.

NSW Liberals
Opposition Leader Mark Speakman with deputy Liberal party Leader Natalie Ward and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, Damien Tudehope. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Jeremy Piper

Longtime Oatley MP Mark Coure will be responsible for the southwestern portfolio.

“As a Coalition, we are committed to representing every corner of our state; this includes our cities and regions, which is why we have appointed a shadow minister for cities, as well as shadow ministers for our regions, including southwestern Sydney,” the spokesperson said.

While a spokesperson for the NSW government said the make up of the shadow cabinet was “a matter for the Coalition,” Labor has more MPs representing western and south western Sydney than the Liberal party.

Deputy premier Prue Car is also the government’s Minister for Western Sydney. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

This includes eight MPs in western Sydney electorates, and 10 in southwestern Sydney, including Tri Vo in Cabramatta and Jihad Dib in Bankstown.

The Liberal party have two MPs in western Sydney electorates (Winston Hills and Badgerys Creek) and two in the city’s southwest (Oatley and Holsworthy).

“The government is proud of the cabinet they have assembled, which is the first to achieve gender parity in NSW political history,” they said.

“This government is committed to delivering for the people of NSW, no matter where they live or who they voted for.”

Dominic Perrottet
Mark Coure will be responsible for southwestern Sydney, which is a newly created shadow portfolio. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

The coalition has also slightly changed the names of some shadow portfolios.

While Anoulack Chanthivong is the Minister for Better Regulation and Fair Trading, the Coalition has dropped ‘better regulation’ from their portfolio, which will be held by Willoughby MP Tim James.

Similarly Yasmin Catley is the Minister for Police and Counter Terrorism, while Mr Toole will continue as opposition spokesman for police.

Instead of the government’s portfolio for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty, Liberal MP Leslie Williams shadow portfolio is merely listed as Aboriginal Affairs.

It’s understood that while the names have been stripped back, the police shadow portfolio will also be responsible for counter-terrorism, and the opposition spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs will be responsible for all Indigenous matters too.

Issues pertaining to the night time economy and better regulation will be shared by various members of the opposition front bench, based on the issues.

“The titles allocated to our shadow ministers largely reflect the Labor government ministerial titles to ensure that Labor ministers are held to account and deliver on their commitments,” the spokesperson said.

Opposition ‘ready for action’

Announcing the shadow ministry, Mr Speakman acknowledged the “few bumps” which delayed the release of the shadow ministry but said the NSW Coalition was “ready for action”.

The announcement was delayed when Mr Toole lost the leadership of the Nationals party and was replaced by Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders.

“This is a shadow ministry that represents a combination of experience and fresh faces,” he said.

“We have seven new members of shadow ministry who’ve never been in a ministry before and were relying upon the experience and the corporate knowledge of those who have served in many successive and successful coalition governments.”

He also spoke of his shadow ministry’s increase in gender parity, with 42 per cent of the shadow ministry women, which equates to 11 women in the 26-person team.

Despite being ousted from the party leadership less than 12 hours ago, Mr Toole will retain responsibility of police, while Mr Saunders will be the opposition spokesman for regional NSW.

He will also look after agriculture and natural resources.

Dugald Saunders (pictured) has replaced Paul Toole as leader of the NSW Nationals. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Christian Gilles.

Mr Saunders, who will be responsible for regional NSW, and agriculture and natural resources, said the rebuilt Coalition was ready to “do our job”.

“Our job is to fight hard for NSW, whether it be in metropolitan areas, or for me as the leader of the Nats focusing on regional areas,” he said.

“We will do it with determination and with grace and we will be looking to hold the government to account on all of the things they are or are not doing.”

Among the newly announced shadow ministry is Miranda MP Eleni Petinos, who faced accusations of bullying and was stripped of her portfolios under the Perrottet government in 2019. She has returned as the opposition spokesman for finance and sport.

Questioned about her past controversies, Mr Speakman defended the choice.

“I think she’ll make a major contribution to public life in NSW,” he said.

“All of us learn life lessons as we go through life, with ups and downs, and I think Eleni, like everyone will take on board those lessons.”

First time Vaucluse MP Kellie Sloan has also been given environment portfolio.

Paul Toole will remain as opposition spokesman for police. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Gaye Gerard

The Coalition Shadow Ministry

Mark Speakman – Opposition Leader, Leader of the Liberals

Dugald Saunders – Regional NSW, Agriculture and Natural Resources and Leader of the Nationals

Natalie Ward – Transport and Roads, Infrastructure, Illawarra and South Coast, Deputy Leader of the Liberals

Bronnie Taylor – Regional Health, Trade, Seniors, Deputy Leader of the Nationals

Damien Tudehope – Shadow Treasurer, Industrial Relations, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council

NSW Liberals
Mr Speakman said the new shadow ministry had increased their female representation to 42 per cent. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Jeremy Piper,

Sarah Mitchell – Education and Early Learning, Western NSW, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council

Robyn Preston – Mental Health and Medical Research, Veterans Deputy Leader of the Liberals in the Legislative Assembly

Alister Henskens – Shadow Attorney-General, Shadow Special Minister of State, Manager of Opposition Business in the Legislative Assembly

Matt Kean – Health

Natasha Maclaren-Jones – Families and Communities, Disability Inclusion, Homelessness, Youth

Sam Farraway – Regional Transport and Roads

Scott Farlow – Planning and Public Spaces, Housing, Cities, Hunter and the Central Coast

James Griffin – Energy and Climate Change, Customer Service and Digital Government

Mark Coure – Multiculturalism, Jobs, Industry, Innovation, Science and

Technology, and southwestern Sydney

Paul Toole – Police

Leslie Williams – Women, Prevention of Domestic Violence and

Sexual Assault, and Aboriginal Affairs

Wendy Tuckerman – Local Government, Small Business

Eleni Petinos – Finance, Sport

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet Budget Announcement
Eleni Petinos will look after the finance and sport portfolios. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Jeremy Piper

Kevin Anderson – Gaming and Racing, and Arts and Heritage

Kellie Sloane – Environment

Justin Clancy – Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education

Mark Taylor – Corrections, Western Sydney

Gurmesh Singh – Tourism, Emergency Services, North Coast

Tim James – Fair Trading, Work Health and Safety and Building

Steph Cooke – Water, Crown Lands

Aileen MacDonald – Youth Justice