NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has been named the next Premier, after outgoing Gladys Berejiklian announced her shock resignation last week.
Perrottet’s appointment today makes him the 46th Premier of New South Wales and the youngest politician to hold the title at 39 years old.
While the public’s attention is focused on whether the next Premier will stay the course on Berejiklian’s existing roadmap out of lockdown, there’s more to learn about the new leader of the nation’s most populous state.
Here are six things you need to know about the new NSW Premier.
He has held a few portfolios
Perrottet has worked in the Parliament of NSW for more than 10 years, holding a variety of portfolios.
Before becoming NSW Treasurer, Perrottet was the Minister for Industrial Relations and the Minister for Finance, Services and Property.
He was also the member for Castle Hill and Hawkesbury before he was elected as the member of Epping in 2019.
He has a background in law and commerce
Perrottet’s attended the University of Sydney where he completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws.
At the time, he was a member of the NSW Division of the Liberal Party before becoming President of NSW Young Liberals in 2005.
His plans as NSW Premier
So far, Perrottet has said the state needs to “keep people in jobs, keep businesses open and, importantly, get kids back to school as quickly as possible.”
But when reporters asked Perrottet whether he would change the government’s roadmap out of COVID-19, he said he couldn’t confirm either way.
“I don’t want to pre-empt the situation we are in at the moment … If we are successful, we will work through these issues,” he said.
His past achievements
Perrottet has been an outspoken advocate for economic reform. As Treasurer he led a reform agenda that covered tax, GST and stamp duty.
Last year, Perrottet unveiled one of the biggest tax reforms a state parliament has considered by proposing to gradually replace stamp duty with an annual land tax.
Perrottet also showed commitment to reform as Minister for Finance and Services in the Baird government.
From 2014 to 2017, Perrottet led the finance and services portfolio which administers tax and revenue collection and oversees NSW digital government initiatives. In that role, he contributed to Services NSW’s digitisation of public services.
His career hasn’t escaped criticism
As Treasurer, Perrottet led the establishment of iCare in 2015, which became the nation’s biggest worker’s compensation scheme after replacing the old WorkCover scheme.
Last year, iCare became the subject of a scandal after an investigation led by the ABC and The Sydney Morning Herald alleged the government’s insurance agency had underpaid more than 52,000 injured workers up to $80 million in compensation.
The news outlets’ investigation prompted parliamentary inquiries, an audit into staff salaries and the resignation of the Treasurer’s then chief of staff as well as iCare’s chief executive.
Despite calls for Perrottet to resign, he remained Treasurer. Perrottet did, however, apologise to the public for iCare’s failings on ABC Radio.
“I’m truly sorry for any injured worker who has not received the support … and the buck stops with me as the responsible minister,” he said at the time.
How business groups have responded
After an outpouring of support for the outgoing Premier Gladys Berejiklian last week, business groups have welcomed the appointment of Dominic Perrottet as the new premier.
Business NSW, the state’s chamber of commerce, acknowledged the “extensive public service and leadership” of Gladys Berejiklian.
“Ms Berejiklian has ably led New South Wales through some of the most trying times in the history of our state,” Business NSW chief executive Daniel Hunter said.
Alexi Boyd, chief executive of the Council of Small Business Groups Australia (COSBOA), says Dominic Perrottet consulted well with business groups throughout the pandemic as NSW Treasurer.
“He has led a good process of consultation and there has been a lot of opportunities for us to offer our perspective,” Boyd tells SmartCompany.
“That has been really pleasing and we expect that he will continue to listen to small businesses.”