Sydney (Tribune International, Premier Office Release, 5 Oct 2021); I want to start by acknowledging the events of the last few days have been difficult for a lot of people – and I think we all understand why.
Unexpected change can bring uncertainty and sometimes that can feel unsettling.
But as hard as it may be, we all have a duty to keep going.
Today begins a new chapter in the story of NSW. One that we will all write together.
I am honoured that my colleagues have asked me to help write that chapter as Premier – and I thank them for the confidence that they have put in me.
The first thing I want to do is acknowledge and pay tribute to my predecessor Gladys Berejiklian, whose strong and steady leadership has seen us through so many challenges.
Everyone would agree that her hard work, tireless dedication and total commitment is second to none.
She’s been an inspiring role model for many – especially women and migrant communities and – that’s just one of the reasons why there’s been such an outpouring of support over the last few days.
It is my hope that I will continue to live up to the strong leadership Gladys has shown throughout this pandemic.
Secondly, I’d like to acknowledge and congratulate my Deputy, Stuart Ayres, who’s long been a fighter for Western Sydney – and that’s where the heart of this government will be.
Thirdly, to my wife Helen and our kids: without your love and support I simply would not be here today.
Being Premier is a great honour – but I want to be clear that the job I have committed to today is not just to lead NSW, but to serve the people of our State.
Today is not about us, sitting in Macquarie Street, it’s about the 8 million people who call our great State home.
For the past 18 months together we have been battling the storm that is COVID-19.
Some have lost their lives. Many have lost their livelihoods. So many sacrifices – big and small – have been made by so many for so long.
Not being able to leave our homes, not being able to go to work, not being able to see our loved ones.
Parents having to work and homeschool at the same time. Many have missed weddings, many have missed funerals, and the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones.
These sacrifices are never easy and we know they have taken a huge toll – physical, financial and psychological.
In our regional communities, this has also come on the back of droughts, floods and fires.
You don’t get to choose the times in which you live – and this is one of the most challenging times the people of our state have ever faced.
But NSW has never shied away from a challenge. And we’re rising to this one as well.
For long months, we have fought the good fight – helped by the quality of our health care, and our strong economic foundations that have kept people in jobs and business in business.
And now, while there are still more challenging days to come, there is light at the end of the tunnel – thanks to the way our community has responded.
We want NSW to bounce back, stronger, safer and more successful than ever before.
To get back to the life we love and the freedoms that we hold dear. As a former Treasurer, I know that a strong society needs a strong economy.
That’s why our first priority will be to continue the plan we have started – keeping people safe, opening up the economy and securing our recovery.
Up until now, all of our Liberal leaders have been infrastructure premiers – building roads, rail, schools and hospitals for communities right across our State.
That won’t change with me.
But I’ll also be a family premier – focusing on how we can make life better for working families – living the Liberal values of opportunity, aspiration and hard work.
The true strength of NSW is in its people. Our tradies, working mums and dads, small business owners, community groups, and frontline workers – our teachers, nurses, doctors, paramedics, firies and police.
Our state is a rich tapestry with a rich heritage – from our proud First Nations people, to those who have come here from every corner of the globe.
No matter who you are, where you’ve come from or what you believe, it is the greatest privilege of my life to represent and serve all of you.
I know how big the challenge ahead is – but I love NSW – and that is the passion that will fuel me and my team.
A stable, united government is vital to getting on with the work we have begun, so there will be no cabinet reshuffle until we are through this challenge.
Our team will bring the energy and the experience to get our safely open state, and then take it to the next level.
We live in the best State in the best country in the world, and together, we will make it even better.