The Shell Policy Update 3: Premier Mike Baird resigns
This morning NSW Premier Mike Baird announced his resignation as Premier and his retirement from politics. Premier Baird will resign from Parliament following a leadership ballot on Monday to replace him as Premier.
His resignation marks the end of a 10 year career in NSW politics in which he served as Treasurer in the O’Farrell government from 2011-14 and as Premier from 2014.
Premier Baird stated the need for a refresh in the Government as one of the central reasons behind his decision.
He said that he came in to politics to “make a difference, and then move on” and that while he was proud his achievements in government he could not be part of that process of renewal.
Premier Baird also indicated that health issues with a number of his immediate family members was a major factor in his decision to retire.
While there was speculation surrounding Premier Baird’s future as leader towards the end of last year following a politically tough period, his decision to retire at this time has come as a shock to many who had expected him to contest the 2019 election.
Mr Baird who once enjoyed high popularity had in recent months come under fire following his failed attempt to completely ban greyhound racing, a backlash over council amalgamations and his strong support for the controversial measures on pubs, bars and nightclubs, popularly known as the ‘lockout laws’, designed to reduce inner-city violence.
Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian, is currently the firm favourite to take over from Mr Baird as Premier.
This afternoon she released a statement declaring she is running for the leadership of the Liberal Party at the leadership ballot this coming Monday.
Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet is currently considered favourite to replace Ms Berejiklian as Treasurer and Deputy Leader.
Other contenders for the top job include Transport Minister Andrew Constance and Planning Minister Rob Stokes.
BAIRD'S ACHIEVEMENTS in his own words
Economy: Premier Baird stated he was proud of NSW’s position as the State with the “strongest economic growth, strongest jobs growth and lowest unemployment rate”.
Budget: He also noted the Government’s achievement of creating “billions of dollars in surpluses”, bringing “net debt down close to zero”, having the State’s “AAA (credit rating) confirmed” and boosting the NSW’s net worth by $60 billion.
Health: He noted his Government’s record on health having “achieved an unprecedented investment in new hospitals and health facilities…almost $11 billion in increased investment”.
Infrastructure: He stated Infrastructure investment was the “hallmark of the Government”, noting “poles and wires lease will set up this State for the next generation”. He listed the Sydney Metro, Sydney Light Rail, Western Metro, Westconnex and Northconnex project as signature achievements as well as increased investments in regional roads including Pacific highway and Princes highway.
Environment: In the area of environment he stated that NSW’s new “Container Deposit Scheme” will make a “huge difference” and that the buyback of the coal licence from BHP Billiton at Caroona in the Liverpool plains was a “hallmark achievement”.
Social Policy: Premier Baird highlighted his Government’s focus on “making sure no one is left behind” and listed investments in key social policy areas such as the “NDIS – where 60 000 people will have the support they need”, supporting “case workers on the front line” and “increased investments in domestic violence and social housing” as key achievements.
Education: On education Premier Baird stated his government was the “first State to sign up to Gonski” and had supported a “needs based funding” model that focused on “getting money to disadvantaged students and schools.” He also said he was proud of his Government’s “reforms on teacher quality” that gave “more autonomy to local schools”.