Hancock resigns as local government minister

Cooke handed emergency services portfolio

Outgoing Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock will quit politics after the 2023 State election.

Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council’s demerger proposal will be considered by new Local Government Minister, Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman after former minister Shelley Hancock announced her retirement at the weekend.

Mrs Hancock said she will retire at the next State election, set for 2023, and as such asked Premier Dominic Perrottet not to reappoint her to the new cabinet.

“Mrs Hancock has been a strong leader in the NSW Parliament, serving as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly prior to being appointed the Minister for Local Government, where she provided valuable service ensuring the continuation of the critical role of local councils during the pandemic and that local government elections proceeded this year,” Mr Perrottet said.

Mrs Hancock said the departure of former Premier Gladys Berejiklian as well as family reasons were behind her decision to resign.

She also urged the Premier to appoint more women to cabinet.

“A significant challenge for me has been the departure of Gladys Berejiklian,” Mrs Hancock said in a statement on Saturday.

“Gladys’ resignation is a loss for New South Wales and a personal loss for me, and something that I have found difficult to move past.

“Now is the opportunity for the Premier to deliver a new team to take to the March 2023 State election and it is important that women are central to the new cabinet.

“It is often difficult being the only woman in the room, or one of a handful, therefore it is essential that women make up a larger part of the cabinet to provide our views and perspectives. We do after all make up more than 50 per cent of the population!”

The local council’s demerger proposal, currently before the Minister, will be examined by the Local Government Boundaries Commission in the new year.

Mrs Hancock previously rejected a demerger proposal, submitted by Gundagai Council in Exile, in June this year.

Meanwhile, Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has been announced as the Minister for Emergency Services in the cabinet reshuffle.

Premier Perrottet announced his new ministry yesterday.

Seven of the 26 cabinet ministers will be women, one more than under Gladys Berejiklian’s leadership.

Brad Hazzard will stay on as Health Minister.

Former Police Minister David Elliott will become the Minister for Transport, while the police portfolio will be taken over by Deputy Premier Paul Toole.

Sarah Mitchell will keep the education portfolio.

Nationals Deputy Leader Bronnie Taylor retains the role of Minister for Women and Mental Health.

Mr Perrottet said his new cabinet is a cabinet picked on merit.

“There will be curve balls that will come our way and we need a team here in NSW to continue the great work of this government to take NSW to the next level,” Mr Perrottet said.

Nationals MP and former Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall will not be returning to cabinet.

Former Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey was also not considered.

“As the Member for Oxley, my most important work is representing the constituents of the four Valleys. I proudly represent the region in the NSW Parliament and have shared electoral duties with that of a ministerial role,” Ms Pavey said on Sunday.

“However, this afternoon I received a call from Deputy Premier and Leader of the NSW Nationals Paul Toole indicating I will not continue as a minister in the newly formed cabinet.

“While I’m disappointed, I respect the decision made.”

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