LGNSW calls for regional minister

Article image - LGNSW calls for regional minister

The Local Government New South Wales (LGNSW) Annual Conference has called on Premier Mike Baird to appoint a Minister for Rural and Regional NSW.

The decision follows a vote by the State's 152 councils at the sector's annual conference, held this year at Sydney's Rosehill Racecourse.

LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said the move is necessary to equalise the balance between urban and regional areas.

"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.

"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."

Cr Rhoades said it is important to recognise the challenges and issues faced by people who live in all the regions of NSW.

"Our regional and rural areas have a wealth of issues which are directly impacting on the lives of families and voters, and we believe there should be someone at that Cabinet table specifically charged with representing them.

Cr Rhoades said although there is currently a Minister for Regional Development, this role has a different focus.