NSW ministers get interim Industry, Digital duties

Premier Chris Minns has placed interim responsibility for the portfolios of Industry and Digital in New South Wales at the centre of the new Labor government while the full ministry is worked through.

As counting continues, and with Labor’s majority now in doubt, the first eight members of the ministry were sworn in at Government House in Sydney on Tuesday to provide “immediate leadership and direction” in the state.

Premier Chris Minns said, “there’s not a moment to lose in delivering on our plans”, with the interim ministry expected to allow the government to get moving on issues in key policy areas, like health and transport.

In addition to Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Learning Prue Car, the leadership team consists of six of Minns’ closest supporters, including Daniel Mookhey, who has been appointed Treasurer and Minister for the Gig Economy.

Image: Twitter

Mr Mookhey, who has served as Shadow Treasurer since June 2021 and Shadow Minister for the Gig Economy since July 2019, also takes interim responsibility for the portfolios of Industry and Trade – a role that was held in the Shadow Ministry by Anoulack Chanthivong since June 2021.

In the Coalition government, the Industry portfolio was held by Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology and Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Alister Henskens, who was appointed to the roles in December 2021 and August 2022, respectively.

Another key member of the interim ministry is Minister for Transport Joe Haylen, who will also take responsibility for another 11 portfolio areas, including that of Digital, Customer Service and Better Regulation and Innovation. In opposition, the shadow ministry was occupied by Yasmin Catley.

The Digital and Customer Service portfolios were most recently held by Victor Dominello, who retired at the election after 14 years in office. He is now considering a role outside government, although has been in talks with Canberra about a possible digital service delivery coordinator role.

Other confirmed ministers in the Labor government include Penny Sharpe (Environment and Heritage), John Graham (Special Minister of State, Roads), Ryan Park (Health and Mental Health), and Michael Daley (Attorney General).

The incoming government has pledged to increase the amount of government procurement coming from small business to 20 per cent by 2026 and 30 per cent by 2030, which is expected to help the local tech sector.

Labor outlined its procurement reforms in an interview with InnovationAus.com this month, when Mr Chanthivong said a new government will expect change and demand the best results from public investments.

On the digital front, the new government plans to build on the Coalition government’s digital service delivery efforts over the last decade, including continuing the significant program of work under way around digital identity as long as the technology is grounded in trust.

As Treasurer, Mr Mookhey will seek to prosecute Labor’s pledge to cut government spending on external contractors and labour hire by $1.6 billion – or 25 per cent – over the next four years and used the savings to improve essential services.

It comes after independent budget office analysis showed that total spending on contractors under the Coalition government was expected to continue to grow over the next two years, reaching $2 billion by 2025.

“This Government has committed to a significant program of investment in education and health, repairing essential services, helping with the cost of living, improving housing and rental supply and affordability, and boosting local manufacturing, jobs and skills,” Deputy Premier Car said on Tuesday.

The full ministry is expected to be sworn in in the coming days.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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