Author: Ainslie Drewitt-Smith
New South Wales Liberal upper house MP Peter Poulos has been appointed the parliamentary secretary for Wollongong and the Illawarra.
The role has been vacant for two years after Kiama MP Gareth Ward won a position on cabinet in 2019.
Mr Poulos became a member of the Legislative Council in May this year and will now be responsible for advocating for the region.
“Pleasantly surprised; [I] had no expectations that I would be appointed,” he said, after being offered the position by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet prior to Christmas.
“I just had a realistic view that I’ve been there a very short time and I wouldn’t be in contention for any appointment.
“But having received the phone call, I’m very eager to do my very best in the role.”
Vocal and present
The Rockdale resident formerly worked as a staffer of Wollongong-based senator Concietta Fierravanti-Wells.
Mr Poulos said he was prepared to make frequent trips to the region to be both a vocal and present representative and vowed to work with local Labor MPs to attract government investment in the region.
“As someone who worked there and travelled back and forth to Sydney, for eight years continuously, I’m quite familiar with what it takes to travel down there,” he said.
“I intend to be a very vocal champion for the region and if I need to confront the government on things, I won’t hesitate to do so.”
“I’ll certainly go into bat for Wollongong and the Illawarra,” he said.
Spate of resignations
Since 2008, parliamentarians from across the political divide who have held the role have either resigned or been sacked, including Matt Brown, David Campbell, Paul McLeay, Eric Roozendaal and Greg Pearce.
But Mr Poulos said he was not concerned he has been handed a poisoned chalice.
“I welcome the challenge,” he said.
“I’ve only been in the parliament for six months, so I’m somewhat inoculated because I’m still very enthusiastic and very focused.”
“I have every expectation both the community and local media outlets will keep me honest, and I’ll do my best not to let anyone down,” Mr Poulos said.