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Jack Gramenz

NSW Lib MP adds name to retirement list

Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly will retire from politics ahead of the March 2023 NSW state election. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

The list of long-serving NSW government members heading for the departure gate is growing as another veteran Liberal MP announces his retirement.

Riverstone member Kevin Conolly will call time on his political career at the next election, Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced.

The premier, whose minority government is facing multiple crises, recently called on the party to preselect more women and culturally diverse candidates as the party attempts to win a fourth term of government in March 2023.

Mr Conolly was the first Liberal elected to the traditionally Labor northwestern Sydney seat in 2011, part of a landslide win for the coalition government that has ruled the state since.

Mr Conolly's retirement comes amid turmoil for the government, with the scandal surrounding former deputy premier John Barilaro's appointment to an overseas trade role already costing Penrith MP Stuart Ayres his positions in cabinet and as deputy Liberal leader.

Allegations of bullying and harassment in the office of former fair trading minister Eleni Petinos led to her being dumped from cabinet last month.

Since her departure it has been revealed she met twice with a property group that had employed Mr Barilaro.

NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler referred to concerns about the relationship between Ms Petinos and the property group in his July resignation letter, which has since been sent to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Following Mr Ayres' departure, Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott was appointed Western Sydney Minister, an important portfolio covering what is expected to be the election's main battleground.

Mr Elliott's seat is being abolished and he is yet to be pre-selected anywhere else, however he has indicated he will stay if the party wants him.

The outspoken conservative MP, also elected in 2011, branded treasurer and newly elected deputy Liberal leader Matt Kean a "traitor" during the federal election.

Earlier this month he announced he would contest the deputy leadership in a bid to stop Mr Kean, who was eventually elected unopposed, and most recently branded the moderate faction leader a "boy".

The government has lost several members since the 2019 election.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward and Drummoyne member John Sidoti were booted from the Liberals and are now independents, following sexual and indecent assault charges and a corruption finding by the state's integrity watchdog respectively.

At a February by-election, the seat of Bega was lost to Labor for the first time.

Vaucluse MP Gabrielle Upton and Pittwater member Rob Stokes are both leaving in March, while Health Minister Brad Hazzard is also believed to be heading for the exit, although he has not yet confirmed either way.

In the upper house, Catherine Cusack left earlier this month, while Don Harwin retired earlier this year.

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