NSW Premier Chris Minns announced his new State Ministry on April 4, revealing that Courtney Houssos will become the state’s minister responsible for forest industries, through her appointment as Minister for Natural Resources.
Tara Moriarty is the new Minister for Agriculture, Regional NSW and Western NSW portfolios.
The new cabinet will have a 50/50 gender balance
Reported in the Guardian, the NSW government’s cabinet will be made up of 50% women (excluding the Premier).
The new cabinet features female ministers for finance, police, energy, natural resources, and regional transport.
It includes Deputy Premier Prue Car as Education Minister, Jo Haylen as Transport Minister and Penny Sharpe as Environment and Energy Minister.
This represents a substantial shift in gender balance compared to former Premier Dominic Perrottet’s cabinet, which had only seven women serving as ministers according to the ABC.
Minns: A streamlined cabinet focused on delivering for NSW
The new ministry will be cut to 22 members, down from 26 in the previous government, with the premier saying he wanted a “trim, focused government that’s delivering for the people of NSW”.
Mr Minns led his party to an election win after 12 years in opposition.
Labor will hold at least 47 seats in the 93-member lower house and is only the third time since World War 2 that the party has gone from opposition into government in NSW.
Minor parties One Nation and the Greens failed to substantially increase their vote after predictions of a minority government failed to materialise on election night.
About Courtney Houssos: The Minister responsible for Forestry
Courtney Houssos has been a Labor member of the NSW Legislative Council since the 2015 state election.
She was promoted to the NSW front bench for the first time by Mr Minns in June 2021, along with fellow Greek-Australian politician and Member for Rockdale, Steve Kamper.
She was previously the Shadow Minister for Better Regulation and Innovations in the NSW shadow cabinet.
Minns said of Houssos:
“She is an outstanding member of the Labor team holding the previous government to account on important issues including building and construction in NSW, as well as taking up the case of the Mascot Towers residents who were forced to leave the damaged building.”
Wood Central has covered the Mascot Towers, with an exclusive looking at the future of the towers.
Houssos was born in Forster, NSW, and studied for a Bachelor of Arts in international relations at the University of NSW where she met her future husband prominent Labor figure George Houssos.
“It is a tremendous privilege to be part of this energetic new team and to be entrusted with the portfolios of finance and natural resources. I will give my all and work with diligence and purpose in both.”
Houssos is one of three cabinet members with a strong Greek connection, the others being Steve Kamper (Small Business, Property and Multiculturalism) and Sophie Cotsis (Industrial Relations and Work Health and Safety).
“I would like to thank the many members of our Greek community who have shown me such great support in my eight years as a member of the NSW Legislative Council.”
At university, she entered student politics as a member of the student representative council protesting against university fee reform and continued in politics as the first female Labor Party organiser for country New South Wales.
Tara Moriarty grew up in Queanbeyan and worked in hospitality while putting herself through university, “learning the importance of protecting working rights.
The industry-related portfolio housing goes to Rose Jackson and who also takes on the Water Ministry.