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Phoebe Loomes

Third NSW minister to retire at election

NSW Infrastructure Minister Rob Stokes will not contest his seat at the upcoming state election, becoming the latest of a number of high-profile Liberals to bow out ahead of the poll.

"It's time to make room for a different perspective and a new voice," the member for Pittwater said in a statement on Friday.

"We now need a contest to elect a new representative to serve the Pittwater community in the parliament of NSW."

Mr Stokes, who also holds the cities and active transport portfolios, was elected in 2007.

He's held numerous portfolios along the way including education, planning, heritage, Central Coast and environment as well as a short stint as transport and roads minister.

Mr Stokes' retirement has been rumoured since the moderate Liberal was easily beaten by Dominic Perrottet in a leadership ballot in 2021 prompted by Gladys Berejiklian's resignation.

Almost immediately after his announcement, upper house MP and Pittwater resident Natasha Maclaren-Jones announced she would contest Liberal preselection for Mr Stokes' seat.

"It is from my love for Pittwater and my commitment to continuing to serve our community that today I announce I will be putting myself forward," she said in a statement.

The Liberals will have to nominate candidates for at least seven other seats before the March election due to a series of retirements and two separate scandals.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello, Corrections Minister Geoff Lee, lower house Speaker Jonathan O'Dea, Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly and Vaucluse MP Gabrielle Upton have called time on their political careers.

Preselection polls will also be held in the seats of Kiama and Drummoyne, which are currently held by Liberal-turned-independents Gareth Ward and John Sidoti.

Ward, the member for Kiama, was removed from the party after he was charged with sexual and indecent assault.

He remains before the courts.

Mr Sidoti was booted from the Liberal Party and temporarily suspended from parliament after the Independent Commission Against Corruption found he engaged in serious corruption in August.

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