Loss of North Coast portfolio a 'kick in the guts'

THE abandonment of a dedicated North Coast ministerial portfolio has been labelled a "kick in the guts" in the NSW Parliament.

Shadow North Coast Minister Walt Secord said the cut represented the "complete demotion" of Member for Tweed Geoff Provest.

"He lost his parliamentary secretary position on police and emergency services and was completely overlooked in favour of the member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, who has become the Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast," Mr Secord said.

"In an extraordinary round of interviews, the (Nationals) member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries, blamed the Premier Mike Baird, and the Deputy Premier Troy Grant, and backed Labor's arguments to keep the regions' influence at the Cabinet table.

"He described it as a kick in the guts - strong words, but fair and very true."

Ministerial positions were also cut for Western NSW, the Hunter, Illawarra and the Central Coast.

Mr Gulaptis shrugged off the comments, saying regional communities would be better off under the new structure.

"It's an improvement because there is a dedicated role now," he said.

"The parliamentary secretaries have that role as their only responsibility, on top of the electorate responsibilities.

"It gives them far more opportunity to discuss regional issues with all of the membership."

-APN NEWSDESK



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