Chris Minns says he is humbled to take on the "very difficult" job of leading NSW Labor's attempt to unseat the Berejiklian government at the next election.
Mr Minns was elected NSW opposition leader unanimously at a party room meeting on Friday after leadership rival Michael Daley withdrew.
"It's going to be a huge challenge," Mr Minns told reporters.
"I'm not resiling from the fact that getting the Labor Party in the position where we're competitive at the next election will be very difficult."
The 41-year-old Kogarah MP wants to provide a positive vision of the state's future rather than constantly criticising the coalition government.
He believes Premier Gladys Berejiklian has done a fine job managing the COVID-19 pandemic and says he won't play politics over the matter.
Instead, Mr Minns said he wanted to talk about domestic manufacturing, well-paid regional jobs and the cost of living in NSW.
But the premier's popularity is not his only challenge to winning government in 2023, with the past fortnight exposing divisions within NSW Labor.
Mr Minns - the former transport spokesman - quit the shadow frontbench last week over a "dirt file" allegedly circulated from a colleague's office.
And as former leader Jodi McKay resigned last week, she said a small group of Labor MPs had never accepted her victory over Mr Minns in the 2019 leadership ballot that included a rank-and-file vote.
Mr Daley's decision on Friday not to run for Labor leader means the party has avoided a potentially bruising and lengthy election process.
Yet while more than 20 MPs had publicly supported Mr Minns, Mr Daley insisted he had the 15 MP signatures he needed to nominate.
He said he only declined to do so for the good of the Labor Party.
Both Mr Minns and Mr Daley insist the party is now unified.
"I'm not saying it's magically fixed, I'm saying that there will be challenges ahead but I know my colleagues," Mr Minns said.
"I know that they're focused on the future."
Mr Daley, who led Labor to the last NSW election in 2019, said earlier on Friday that he and his supporters would fall in behind Mr Minns to give the party the greatest chance of retaking government in 2023.
He believed that avoiding a drawn-out leadership ballot would also bolster the party's chances in the next federal election, due within 12 months.
Numerous rounds of applause were heard emanating from the 30-minute caucus meeting at NSW Parliament on Friday morning.
"Chris and I agreed that the divisions have to end today," Mr Daley said.
"I offered him my full and unqualified support to do everything I can, firstly to unify the show, and secondly to move forward."
The new leader will now begin assembling a frontbench, likely to be announced on Tuesday, ahead of parliament resuming next week.
He flagged he'd be injecting new blood into his shadow cabinet.
"There are some fantastic people that need to have a shot," Mr Minns said.