Economic reformer elected to lead Australia's most populous state New South Wales

Mr Dominic Perrottet, seen here during a press event in March, has been elected as the new state premier of New South Wales. PHOTO: DOMINIC PERROTTET/TWITTER

CANBERRA (REUTERS) - Mr Dominic Perrottet, a social conservative and economic reformer, was on Tuesday (Oct 5) elected as the new state premier of New South Wales, which will within weeks exit a months-long Covid-19 lockdown that has battered its economy.

Ms Gladys Berejiklian last week resigned as premier of Australia's most populous state after a corruption watchdog said it was investigating whether she was involved in conduct that "constituted or involved a breach of public trust".

In a vote of the ruling Liberal party, Mr Perrottet - the state's Treasurer - was elected as Ms Berejiklian's replacement, beating Planning Minister Rob Stokes by 39 votes to five.

"I really appreciate the trust my colleagues have put in me today," Mr Perrottet told reporters in Sydney.

The 39-year-old politician will now oversee the reopening of the state, which has been in a Covid-19 lockdown since June, following a Delta variant outbreak that has left many businesses reliant on government aid for survival.

Mr Perrottet is expected to push economic reform as he seeks to revive an economy that is larger than Singapore, Thailand or Malaysia.

While as Treasurer, Mr Perrottet proposed changing a one-off tax on the purchase of residential properties to an annual fee to improve housing affordability for first-time home buyers.

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