Passenger Rail

NSW set for reshuffle as Premier Baird resigns

Mike Baird - Sardaka

The resignation of NSW Premier Mike Baird will likely mean major moves within the state’s Cabinet, with treasurer Gladys Berejiklian among those tabbed as potential successors to the Premier.

Baird announced his resignation just after 9am on Thursday, January 19.

He said the upcoming halfway point of this Government’s term presented an opportunity to “refresh” the Cabinet, and that presented him with “the perfect time” to resign.

“Serving as Premier of NSW has been a tremendous honour, but I have made clear from the beginning that I was in politics to make a difference, and then move on,” Baird said in a statement.

“After 10 years in public life, this moment for me has arrived.”

The resigning premier reflected on his Government’s successes, including a “repaired” state budget, a “rejuvenated” economy, and “unprecedented” job creation.

But one of the biggest successes, Baird said, was in infrastructure.

“The infrastructure miracle unfolding around us has been possible only because the Liberals & Nationals took a plan to the NSW public in 2015, and prevailed over a massive scare campaign mounted by Labor and the unions,” he said.

“What matters now is that the new Cabinet should have time to settle in and reaffirm its own agenda ahead of the election in 2019 – because only the Liberals & Nationals can be trusted to manage the continuation of the economic recovery and the infrastructure boom.”

Baird said there would be a formal Liberal party-room meeting and a spill of leadership positions next week.

“Following that meeting, I will resign from Parliament, effective immediately.”

Baird has been premier since Barry O’Farrell’s resignation in April 2014. Initially very popular, he suffered a significant drop in approval rating in 2016, as his leadership was attacked over council amalgamations, controversial lockout reforms, and a flip-flopping ban on greyhound racing.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull thanked Baird on Thursday.

“Thank you,” Turnbull tweeted, “you have set NSW on track to lead and succeed in the 21st century.”

In a separate statement, Turnbull again thanked Baird and praised him for “building the infrastructure of the 21st century”.

During its current time in charge in NSW, the Coalition has progressed several major road project, and of course the Sydney Metro rail line, and Sydney CBD & South East light rail project.

1 Comment

  1. “But one of the biggest successes, Baird said, was in infrastructure.”

    Here, Sydney is getting a much needed expansion in rail capacity to the North West and a harbour rail tunnel, plus light rail. On the other hand Westconnex is proving controversial, not only to those affected by property resumptions and living nearby, but also raising questions as to whether it is going too far.

    Away from Sydney, infrastructure development is mixed, Newcastle has lost its railway to down town with light rail by way of partial compensation for this loss. Pacific Highway upgrades continue on sections with low traffic and low benefit cost ratios (taken to task by Infrastructure NSW in 2012) whilst some track upgrades are really needed in regional NSW to allow the new electric intercity trains due by 2019 and the replacements to speed up – not only to cities in regional NSW but also Canberra.

    Hopefully the new Premier can meet these challenges.