Councils call for Minister for Rural and Regional NSW
PREMIER Mike Baird has been called on to appoint a dedicated Minister for Rural and Regional NSW by councils across the state.
The appeal followed a vote of the state's 152 councils at the Local Government NSW annual conference in Sydney.
"Essentially it's about ensuring rural and regional NSW are given the same consideration and have the same voice at the cabinet table as Sydneysiders," LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said.
"In April 2015, Premier Baird scrapped the role of Minister for Western NSW, then held by Kevin Humphries, as well as other regional Minister roles.
"Yet at the same time he retained a Minister for Western Sydney, which happens to be the Premier himself.
"Why do the people of Western Sydney deserve better representation in cabinet than those people who live in the rest of the state?
"With no disrespect to the individuals concerned, parliamentary secretaries are a pale substitute indeed."
The State Government's former Minister for the North Coast role was also scrapped after the election.
Cr Rhoades said it was also important to recognise the challenges and issues faced by people who lived in all the regions of NSW.
"There may be a Minister for Regional Development, but that role has a completely different focus," he said.
"When the premier's new cabinet was sworn in back in April, Premier Baird told the media he had based his decisions on performance and merit.
"He said that the people of NSW would expect nothing less, and he was right.
"The people of rural and regional NSW also expect nothing less - nothing less than this government's best efforts to understand the challenges and issues they face, and represent their best interests."