News State NSW News Gladys Berejiklian poised to become NSW Premier

Gladys Berejiklian poised to become NSW Premier

Gladys Berejiklian
Incoming NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian is set to take office this week. Photo: AAP
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NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian is poised to emerge as the state’s second female premier when a leadership spill triggered by the retiring Mike Baird goes ahead on Monday.

Already the deputy Liberal Party leader has received some advice about where her priorities should lie, care of Opposition Leader Luke Foley.

But with two years until the next state election, Ms Berejiklian will find her own way forward at the helm of a new-look frontbench.

Two key issues that she has vowed to tackle are healthcare and education, areas that the Labor opposition says have been neglected under the Baird government.

“They love patting themselves on the back about their building projects, but really their focus has been on huge asset sales and building toll roads,” Mr Foley told reporters on Sunday.

“There’s a narrowness to the government’s agenda, and that’s why the key services in the state – first and foremost our hospital system – are not doing anywhere nearly as well as they should be doing on this government’s watch.”

Ms Berejiklian has said she wants to “go harder” with infrastructure, including upgrades to hospitals, schools and sports facilities.

“The community wants to see action on the ground so not only will I maintain the current pace, but I will go harder,” she told The Daily Telegraph on Saturday.

“I think we are smashing it as a government in terms of economic performance and infrastructure spend but not everybody feels part of that success story.”

She believes “100 per cent” she can win the next election as premier, and that people can expect her to get the job done.

“If there’s something to be done, something to be fixed, it’ll happen,” she told the newspaper.

Whether the Berejiklian government will retain Health Minister Jillian Skinner on its frontbench remains to be seen.

Ms Skinner held on to the portfolio in 2016 despite criticism over her handling of a chemotherapy under-dosing scandal, a deadly baby gassing tragedy and cremation mix-ups.

Labor has seized on new figures that show patients in NSW are waiting longer for elective surgery to again call for the health minister’s departure.

“Frankly, Ms Berejiklian should find no place in her cabinet at all for Jillian Skinner,” Mr Foley said.

He also questioned Local Government Minister Paul Toole’s position in the cabinet after he supported council mergers, and called for former Independent Commission Against Corruption head Megan Latham to be reinstated.