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Ex-premier says tributes and messages of support an 'enormous comfort'

Politics

Ex-NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has thanked the community for their support and urged them to get behind her successor Dominic Perrottet in her first public appearance since her shock resignation last week.

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Speaking outside her northern Sydney electorate office in Northbridge, which has been covered in floral tributes and messages of support, the outgoing MP extended “a big thank you” to the community.

 

“I’m going to read every single message and card,” she said on Wednesday.

“It’s been an enormous comfort to know people care.”

Flanked by her federal counterpart, North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman, Berejiklian kept her remarks short, but urged the people of NSW to show the same support for her successor.

“I want the community to get behind Premier Perrottet as I know they will,” she said.

“He will be an outstanding leader and at this time we need everyone to follow the premier’s words to make sure we come out of this lockdown as safely as possible.”

Berejiklian announced her resignation on Friday after the state’s corruption watchdog disclosed she was under investigation for potential breaches of public trust.

Her appearance came shortly after junior coalition partners, The Nationals, voted in a new leader to replace Monaro MP John Barilaro, who resigned on Monday.

Bathurst MP Paul Toole’s appointment as party leader and deputy premier marks a complete refresh of the NSW government’s leadership team.

The Perrottet-Toole government’s first challenge will be navigating the state out of lockdown, which will have lasted more than 15 weeks in Greater Sydney.

One of the first things the new premier did was announce the state’s roadmap out of lockdown would be reviewed by crisis cabinet, with Perrottet hinting some requirements could be tweaked after meeting on Wednesday.

“There’s a number of areas within the roadmap that can be looked at,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.

NSW is due to start throwing off the shackles of lockdown on Monday after it hits the 70 per cent double COVID-19 vaccination milestone for those 16 years and over.

Key to the transition will be an economic recovery plan, which the premier will begin to unveil this week, and the ability of the state’s health system to cope with an expected spike in COVID-19 cases when restrictions ease.

Perrottet said while the economy had taken a significant beating during the lockdown, which began in June, he expected the state to “bounce back very quickly”.

“As we head into December and over the summer period as businesses open … we’re going to have a very bright summer,” he said.

“What we’ll see is a stronger economy on the other side.”

As of midnight Monday, 88.6 per cent of people aged 16 and over have had at least one dose and 67.7 per cent were fully vaccinated.

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