Liberal senator Peter Poulos appointed to vacant parliamentary secretary role covering Wollongong and the Illawarra

27 December 2021

Author: Shannon Tonkin

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has appointed new Liberal upper house MP Peter Poulos to the position of parliamentary secretary for Wollongong and the Illawarra – a post that has been vacant for almost two years.

Oversight: State Liberal MP Peter Poulos has been announced as the new parliamentary secretary for the Illawarra. Picture: Supplied

As part of the role, Mr Poulos will be responsible for liaising with NSW Government ministers on Illawarra-specific issues, as well as advocating for the region as a whole.

Despite hailing from Rockdale, Mr Poulos is no stranger to the Illawarra, having spent almost a decade working as a staffer in the Wollongong office of federal Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, and says he is keen to hit the ground running.

“I see the Illawarra as a gigantic think tank that drives ideas, and my role is to help nurture those ideas and bring them to the government,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to getting down to the Illawarra and meeting up with as many people as I can.”

Mr Poulos said the premier phoned him before Christmas to give him the good news and a brief run down of the expectations that came with the new role.

“He [Mr Perrottet] would like me to primarily coordinate all the ministers, ensuring they remain focused on the Illawarra region,” Mr Poulos said.

I see the Illawarra as a gigantic think tank that drives ideas, and my role is to help nurture those ideas and bring them to the government

Peter Poulos

“He was very clear on me making sure I’m liaising clearly with them. He’s appointing a number of parliamentary secretaries in the regions but he consider the Illawarra a focal area on interest.”

When asked what his priorities were for the region – and which ministers might be among the first to soon visit – Mr Poulos cited the premier’s announcement earlier this month that his government would establish a new cities ministry, focused on bringing to life the expanded vision of the 2017 Greater Sydney Commission to include Wollongong, Newcastle and the Central Coast.

Former transport minister Rob Stokes has been appointed to oversee the new portfolio, which Mr Poulos said gave taxpayers a clear indication that Wollongong was a priority area for the new premier.

“My role will be to do everything I can to engage with the new minster for cities and get him to connect with the region to unlock its potential.,” Mr Poulos said.

The last parliamentary secretary for the Illawarra was former Liberal Kiama MP turned independent Gareth Ward, who held the position from April 2015 to March 2019.

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