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Pavey replaces Gay as NSW roads minister

Berejiklian’s cabinet rejig leaves Duncan Gay contemplating retirement from politics


Long-serving New South Wales roads minister Duncan Gay is planning an early retirement from politics following a cabinet reshuffle that saw him lose his post to Melinda Pavey.

The change in what is one of the more pivotal state ministries in freight transport, is part of NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian’s attempt to “reset” the government ahead of 2019 state elections.

Berejiklian also announced the creation of a new portfolio – minister for WestConnex – to be held by current western Sydney minister Stuart Ayers, who will be responsible for the $16.8 billion road project.

Pavey thanks the government and pays tribute to her predecessor.

“It is an honour to be joining the NSW Liberals-Nationals Cabinet team as Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight,” she says.

“I am looking forward to doing my part as the NSW Government continues its record investment in roads, bridges, wharves and rail lines.

“I look forward to ensuring Oxley continues to receive its fair share in new and improved local roads and freight networks.

“I thank the leader of the NSW National, and deputy premier John Barilaro for the opportunity to serve the people of NSW as a minister and acknowledge and thank my parliamentary colleague, Duncan Gay, for his outstanding achievements during his time as the minister.”

 Gay says he is proud of his work in his portfolio over the past six years, adding that there is room for “more work” to be done.

“Whether it is sealing the Cobb and Silver City highways in the state’s Far West, completing upgrades on the Pacific, Princes, Newell, New England and Golden highways, or fixing notorious traffic bottle necks across Sydney,” he says.

“I am now considering the timing of my retirement from the NSW Legislative Council, sooner rather than later.”

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) have welcomed the new minister and thanked outgoing minister Gay for his “passion” and efforts to improve the freight industry.

NHVR chair Bruce Baird says the regulator will work with the new roads, maritime and freight minister to “reduce red tape for the heavy vehicle industry, deliver consistency across borders and boost road safety for all road users.

“Melinda has been a strong advocate for regional NSW and I look forward to her leadership as a shareholding minister of the NHVR.”

Thanking him for his contribution during the term Baird says Gay recognised that a more efficient and safer heavy vehicle industry was the pathway to a growing local economy.

“Duncan had a passion for the heavy vehicle industry and that showed with his support for a national regulator and the measures he delivered to improve freight and heavy vehicle transport across NSW,” he says.

“Under Duncan’s leadership RMS and the NHVR have worked closely together to give the heavy vehicle industry certainty whether they are using local, state or national roads across NSW.”

Congratulating Gay for leaving a “lasting legacy” in the industry ALC MD Michael Kilgariff says he is confident Berejiklian will work to support the freight sector.

“Duncan Gay was always highly approachable and industry welcomed his no-nonsense approach to dealing with issues that came across his desk, while appreciating his willingness to consult with industry on critical and sometimes difficult investment and policy matters,” Kilgariff says.

“Duncan Gay understood the critical role of freight efficiency in supporting the NSW economy, estimated at $58 billion a year.

“During his tenure, Duncan Gay was responsible for the development of the first ever NSW freight and ports strategy which represented an important milestone to ensure freight efficiency remains central to the state’s economy.

“Gladys Berejiklian was minister for transport when the government delivered this strategy and we are confident she will be a big advocate for freight as premier. 

“This strategy is now being updated and will be an important foundation in the development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, announced by the Prime Minister last year.

“Duncan Gay will also be remembered for his strong commitment to safety, particularly in the heavy vehicle sector, and his preparedness to work with industry to implement measures that make our roads safer for all users.”

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