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Phoebe Loomes

Liberal faction backs NSW gender quota

Treasurer Matt Kean says he wants to see as many Liberal women as possible running for seats in NSW. (Flavio Brancaleone/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

The moderate faction of the NSW Liberals has committed to gender parity quotas ahead of the state election, breaking with party rules in a bid to appeal to modern voters.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean says the commitment means at least 50 per cent of candidates selected for vacant seats would be female.

It comes as at least eight seats are up for grabs, with three cabinet ministers and five other MPs bowing out ahead of the March poll.

Mr Kean on Friday said he wanted to see as many Liberal women as possible running in NSW.

"I want to see more talented females coming into parliament and I'll be doing everything I can to make sure that happens," he said.

A slew of Liberals have signalled they will not contest the March vote, including Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello, Corrections Minister Geoff Lee, Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly, Vaucluse MP Gabrielle Upton and lower house speaker Jonathan O'Dea.

Infrastructure Minister Rob Stokes on Friday also announced he would retire.

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

About an hour after Mr Stokes' announcement, Disability Services Minister Natasha Maclaren-Jones - an upper house MP - said she intended to make a run for his seat.

There is a suggestion Women's Safety Minister Natalie Ward is considering a run for Mr O'Dea's seat of Davidson.

The treasurer said he would support both MPs, and had been encouraging Ms Ward to throw her hat in the ring.

"I think (Ms Ward is) not only someone who would make a great member for Davidson - she could be a potential leader of the Liberal party," he said.

Both parties could benefit from greater engagement with female voters, Ms Ward told AAP.

"There is still some way to go to boost the number of women in our parliament, both on Macquarie Street and in Canberra," she said.

When asked about Liberal party quotas, Ms Ward said finding opportunities for women was a collective responsibility.

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