New South Wales Premier criticised over government structure

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Friday, April 8, 2011

The Coalition Premier Barry O'Farrell
Image: Bidgee.

The newly-installed leader of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, has come in for harsh criticism on the structure of his government and cabinet. Coalition Premier Barry O'Farell swore in his cabinet on Sunday, but it has already been criticised for not including Ministers for Youth, Climate Change, or Volunteering.

O'Farrell was also attacked by NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann for dismembering the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water. Ms Feahrmann told the Sydney Morning Herald the cuts were "laughable", and warned of "drastic cuts and a dramatic weakening of environmental protection standards and laws".

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson accused the new Premier of pandering to the Shooters and Fishers Party, telling the Sydney Morning Herald that the changes threatened environmental protection in NSW: "Former Labor premier Bob Carr established over 300 national parks in NSW and every one of those parks is now at risk," he said.

O'Farrell had earlier announced responsibility for National Parks and the Environmental Protection Agency would be absorbed by his Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The ABC reported Premier O'Farrell had denied the move would reduce his government's ability to manage environmental issues. The Premier is quoted as saying: "People need to reserve judgement until they see the way in which we operate rather than simply react to the hysterical claims".

O'Farrell's Liberal-led Coalition swept to power on March 26, 2011 after sixteen years of Labor rule in NSW. They have 66 seats in the NSW Legislative Assembly, to Labor's 20.