New NSW leaders plan regional tour

NSW Nationals leader Paul Toole say he wants the government to get back to business.
NSW Nationals leader Paul Toole say he wants the government to get back to business.

After a complete refresh of the NSW leadership team, one of the first things on the agenda of the newly minted Perrottet-Toole government is a visit to the state's regions.

Bathurst MP and former school teacher Paul Toole was sworn in as deputy premier on Wednesday after beating Water Minister Melinda Pavey 15-3 in a ballot for the NSW Nationals leadership.

Bronnie Taylor, an upper house MP and minister for mental health, was chosen as the new Nationals deputy leader - the first woman to hold the position.

Before the ceremony at Government House in Sydney, Mr Toole said he was keen to get on with the job.

"I want to make sure we get back to work and it's business as usual because the people of this state have been doing it tough now for a number of years," Mr Toole told reporters, referencing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as drought, bushfires and floods.

A day earlier, former treasurer Dominic Perrottet became the youngest premier in the state's history after defeating Planning Minister Rob Stokes in a Liberal party-room vote.

Both Mr Toole and Mr Perrottet were their predecessor's deputies.

Former premier Gladys Berejiklian resigned her leadership suddenly on Friday under a cloud of corruption allegations, and on Monday former deputy premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro announced he'd follow her out the door.

Mr Perrottet congratulated Mr Toole for his appointment, labelling him a fighter and pragmatist who "knows what it takes to lead".

The pair had already made loose plans to conduct a regional tour in the coming weeks, he said.

Now the junior coalition leader, Mr Toole has big shoes to fill, with Mr Barilaro lauded as a fierce advocate for the bush.

Labor regional NSW and agriculture spokesman Paul Veitch was far less complementary of Mr Toole's appointment, saying was "tin-eared" and a "lapdog for city liberals".

His career had been marked by "successive failures", including on council amalgamations and regional road management, Mr Veitch said.

Australian Associated Press