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Maureen Dettre

Kean pushing for renewed policy focus

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean says there's an issue when governments stop talking about the community. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Newly-anointed NSW deputy Liberal leader Matt Kean says the government needs to shift focus back to the community after weeks of damaging back-to-back scandals.

"What we have got to do is get back to talking about the issues that matter to people across NSW," he told ABC TV on Wednesday.

"Because it's not about us, it's about the people of NSW.

"When governments stop talking about the community, there's an issue and what we need to do is get back to talking about the community."

Mr Kean was elevated to deputy leader at a partyroom meeting on Tuesday, replacing Stuart Ayres who bowed to pressure to resign last week over his role in the controversial appointment of former deputy premier John Barilaro to a lucrative US trade job.

Mr Ayres quit just days after former fair trading minister Eleni Petinos was forced from cabinet over alleged bullying in her office.

Labor is now asking questions about Ms Petinos' attendance at meetings with a property group linked to Mr Barilaro, revealed in ministerial diaries published on Monday night.

Meanwhile former Liberal sports minister John Sidoti was suspended from parliament on Tuesday, after the Independent Commission Against Corruption last month found he engaged in serious misconduct, while Kiama MP Gareth Ward is facing sexual assault charges.

Questions remain about how Mr Barilaro got the US trade commissioner job, after he appeared before a parliamentary inquiry on Monday and is scheduled to return on Friday to be grilled again.

Mr Kean is trying to shift the spotlight onto policies he announced as treasurer in the June budget, which has been largely overshadowed by the "jobs for the boys" crisis which has dominated headlines since.

He bemoaned the recent bout of "distractions about internal party matters".

"We're in politics to make a difference to real people, to improve their lives, to grow our economy and to make NSW a stronger place," he said.

"That's certainly what I'm going to be focused on as treasurer, as the deputy leader - supporting the premier, who has a laser-like focus on those issues every day of the week."

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