August 4, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

The enterprise, investment and trade portfolio has been split from the tourism portfolio in the NSW cabinet shuffle following the sudden resignation of Stuart Ayres from the ministry.

Ayres, who held the trade, tourism, sport and Western Sydney portfolios, has departed the NSW front bench in relation to a review of how former deputy premier John Barilaro was appointed to a senior international commissioner position by a state government agency. A draft excerpt of the review shows there is a concern about whether Ayres breached the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

The enterprise, investment and trade and sport portfolios will now be held by Alister Henskens, who is already minister for skills and training and science, innovation and technology.

Henskens holds undergraduate degrees in economics and law from the University of Sydney and has a Masters in Law, from the University of Toronto. Prior to joining state parliament in 2015 for the Liberal Party, he worked as a solicitor, then a barrister and finally as senior counsel. He is the state member for Ku-ring-gai and took on his first ministerial positions last year.

The current state minister for the arts, National Party member Ben Franklin, has taken on the tourism portfolio. He also holds the Aboriginal affairs portfolio and the regional youth portfolio.

A member of the upper house, Franklin grew up on the Murray River and is the former communications director for UNICEF Australia. He was also state director for the National Party for seven years before being elected to parliament.

The NSW Transport Minister David Elliott is picking up the Western Sydney portfolio. He is also responsible for veterans affairs.

A Liberal Party member, Elliott has an undergraduate arts degree from the University of Western Sydney and Masters from Charles Sturt University. He is a former deputy CEO of the Australian Hotels Association and a former media officer for the NSW Police media unit. He is the most experienced minister of the three.

“These Ministers have a proven track record of serving the people of NSW and I have full confidence that they have the experience to take on these additional responsibilities,” said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet of their appointments.

Given the importance of tourism and trade to the business events industry, advocacy stakeholders will want to get to know and educate both Henskens and Franklin on the importance of the industry. And with the development of the Western Sydney International Airport and Sydney’s associated third metropolis, Elliott’s responsibility for the Western Sydney portfolio puts him amongst the NSW politicians with whom our industry should also seek to cultivate a relationship.