By BEV JORDAN
The new Premier of NSW Dominic Perrottet knows the Hills to Hawkesbury region well.
The father of six became the youngest Premier in NSW history on Tuesday (October 5th), just weeks after his 39th birthday.
He entered State Parliament 10 years ago as the State Member for Castle Hill, which he represented for four years (2011 to 2015).
When the electoral boundaries were changed he became the State Liberal member for Hawkesbury (2015 to 2019) seeing him effectively swap seats with Ray Williams. He has been the State Member for Epping since 2019.
Mr Perrottet was elected as Liberal Leader and the 46th Premier of NSW by 39 votes to five votes for Rob Stokes. The former lawyer, who grew up in West Pennant Hills, attended Redfield College Dural and Oakhill College Castle Hill before studying Commerce and Law and the University of Sydney.
He met his wife Helen when they were teenagers and they have six children: Charlotte, Amelia, Annabelle, William, Harriet and Beatrice. Helen Perrottet is a lawyer and has previously worked as a Public Relations Officer for the Australian Defence Force and was an Australian Federal Police Officer.
In his first speech as Premier, he thanked Helen and their children saying: “Without your love and support I would not be here today” and said he plans to be a “family Premier”.
The story continues on page 22 On Wednesday NSW reached double vaccination of 70%. On the Thursday morning briefing (October 7th) the Premier announced amendments to the COVID-19 Road Map which included:
• Indoor swimming pools to open this Monday. (October 11th)
• Double the number of people (fully vaccinated) will be allowed in homes (up to 10) from Monday and outdoors (up to 30). •
The number of people allowed at weddings and funerals will be increased to 100 (fully vaccinated).
• All students will be back at school by October 25th. Kindergarten children, Year 1 and Year 12 students will return a week earlier on October 18th.
• At 80% the requirement to wear masks in the office will end
Dominic Perrottet’s first statement as NSW Premier
I am honoured that my colleagues have asked me to write that chapter as Premier and I thank them for the confidence that they’ve put in me.
The first thing I want to do today is to acknowledge my predecessor and pay tribute to her. Gladys Berejiklian, whose strong and steady leadership has seen us through so many difficult challenges. Everyone would agree that her hard work, tireless dedication and total commitment to her job was second to none. She’s been an inspiring role model for many, especially women and migrant communities and that’s just one of the reasons why I believe there has been such an outpouring of support over the last few days. It is my hope that I will continue the strong leadership that Gladys has shown throughout this pandemic.
Secondly, I’d like to congratulate and acknowledge Stuart Ayres who has been elected by the Liberal Party as my deputy. Stuart, as you all know, is a fighter for Western Sydney and that is where the heart of this government will be.
Thirdly to my wife, Helen, and my kids, without your love and support I would not be here today.
Being Premier is a great honour. But I want to be clear that the job I have committed to today is not just to lead New South Wales but to serve all the people of our state.
For the past 18 months together we’ve been battling a storm that is COVID-19. Some have lost their lives. Many have lost their livelihoods. So many sacrifices big and small have been made by so many for so long. Not being able to leave our homes, not being able to go to work, not being able to visit our loved ones.
Parents having to work and balance home school at the same time. Many have missed weddings, many have missed funerals and the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones.
These sacrifices are never easy and I know for many they have taken a huge toll, physical, financial, and psychological.
In our regional communities as well this has come off the back of floods, bushfires and drought. You don’t get to choose the times in which you live and this is one of the most challenging times that our people of our state have faced. But New South Wales has never shied away from the challenge and we will be rising to this one as well.
For long months we have fought the good fight. That has been helped by the quality of our health care and our strong economic and financial foundations that have kept people in jobs and businesses in the business.
And now whilst there are still more challenging days to come, there is light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to the way that everyone across our state has responded.
We want New South Wales to bounce back stronger, safer and more successful than ever before. To get back to the life that we love and the freedoms that we hold dear.
As a former treasurer, I know that a strong society needs a strong economy and that’s why our first priority will be to continue the plan that we’ve started. Keeping people safe, opening up the economy and securing our recovery.
Up until now all our Liberal premiers have been infrastructure premiers. Building the roads, the rail, the schools and the hospitals for communities right across our state and that will not change with me. But I’ll also be a family Premier, focusing on how we can make life better for working families. Living the liberal values of opportunity, aspiration and hard work.
The true strength of New South Wales is its people. Our tradies, our working mums and dads, small business owners, community groups and frontline workers, our teachers, our nurses, our doctors, our paramedics, firies and police.
Our state is a rich tapestry with a rich history from our proud First Nations people, to those who have come here from every corner of the globe. No matter who you are, where you come from or what you believe, it is the greatest privilege of my life to represent and serve every one of you.
I know how big the challenge ahead is for our state, but I love New South Wales and that is the passion that will fuel me and fuel my team.
A stable united government is vital to getting on with the work that we’ve begun, so there’ll be no cabinet reshuffle until we are through this challenge. Our team will bring the energy, the experience to get our state safely open again and then take it to the next level.
We live in the best state in the best country in the world and together we will make it even better.