The outgoing treasurer was elected unanimously after formally nominating for the position at a party room meeting at NSW Parliament this morning.
Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet was elected as deputy leader of the Liberal Party, the party whip Chris Patterson told a large media scrum outside the meeting.
Berejiklian, a moderate who hails from the left of the party, was the only person to put her hand up to take over the top job after Mike Baird made his shock retirement announcement last week.
She will become the first Liberal female NSW premier and second woman to hold the office when she is sworn in at a ceremony this afternoon.
Elected to the seat of Willoughby on Sydney’s lower north shore in 2003, the current Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations has risen steadily through the political ranks in her 14-year career.
With two years until the next state election, Berejiklian has time to impress voters and will seek to find her own way forward with other possible changes to freshen up the cabinet.
A significant cabinet reshuffle is expected, with Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard tipped to be moved out to make way for new blood.
She’s also likely to reconsider a number of unpopular Baird government initiatives, including forced council amalgamations, as she moves to quell pressure from Coalition partner, the Nationals.
Baird revealed his surprise exit from politics last Thursday citing the serious health challenges his parents and sister were facing.
His tenure ends today after being in the top job for two years and nine months.
As he left the party room following the short 10-minute meeting, Baird said it had been a privilege serving as premier.
“Words can’t describe my gratitude. I will always reflect on it as a special time,” Baird said.
The state of NSW should be very pleased and delighted with Berejiklian’s appointment, he said.
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