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McKay reshuffles Shadow Cabinet


Opposition leader Jodi McKay has made wholesale changes to the NSW Labor frontbench.

The former NBN newsreader, appointed more than three months after Labor’s heavy defeat in the state election, announced her reshuffled Shadow Cabinet last week.

It features eight new faces, with another four MPs promoted to senior portfolios.

Ms McKay said the changes marked a major rejuvenation as Labor targets a win over the Berejiklian government at the 2023 election.

“We have a fresh new team with responsibilities that really give us a chance to reconnect with NSW communities, whether that is in the regions or suburbs of Western Sydney,” she said.

“I am incredibly proud of the Shadow Cabinet because it brings on some of the real talent within our caucus and signals to people exactly where Labor’s priorities lie, which is putting people first.”

Swansea MP Yasmin Catley has stepped up as deputy leader – the first time since the 1960s that a regional member of the Legislative Assembly will serve in a Labor leadership team.

Ms Catley is also shadow minister for rural and regional jobs, as well as building reform and property.

Fellow Hunter MPs Clayton Barr, Kate Washington, Jodie Harrison and Jenny Aitchison have all been handed portfolios.

Cessnock-based Mr Barr will be responsible for water; innovation, science and tertiary education; and is the new shadow minister for the Hunter, taking over from Port Stephens MP Kate Washington.

Ms Washington will now oversee environment and heritage, and rural health.

Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison, who makes her debut in the McKay Shadow Cabinet, is responsible for early childhood learning, while Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison has the roles of primary industries; investment and tourism; and medical research.

Following her election, Ms McKay signalled her intention to embark on a tour of NSW to better understand how a future Labor government could serve them.

In her maiden speech, the Gloucester-born opposition leader spoke of how “country values” still guided “everything I do”.

“But Gloucester is a town that traditionally has not voted Labor,” Ms McKay said.

“The Labor Party I lead will reach out to those in the community who have not voted for us in recent years.
“It will be a big tent – and it will have a big heart.

“And that means reaching out to rural towns, our multicultural communities, our small businesses and tradies, and those living in our outer suburbs.”

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