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NSW minister Rob Stokes announces retirement from politics ahead of March elections

New South Wales Minister for Infrastructure Rob Stokes will retire from politics ahead of next year’s March state election.

Mr Stokes has served as the Member for Pittwater for 15 years and has confirmed he will not nominate for preselection in his Northern Beaches seat.

The retiring senior Liberal said it had been a privilege to serve his electorate and said it was time to give others the opportunity to represent the Liberal Party.

In a statement, the 47-year-old said "it's time to make room for a different perspective and a new voice for Pittwater."

"In the meantime, I will use all my energy, experience and enthusiasm to support the Liberals and Nationals team as we fight to return the Perrottet-Toole Government in 2023."

Mr Stokes nominated for party leadership in 2021, following the resignation of Gladys Berejiklian as premier, ultimately losing to current Premier Dominic Perrottet.

He is currently the minister for infrastructure, cities and active transport, and has held several portfolios during his time at Macquarie Street including education, planning and environment.

Dominic Perrottet thanked his "good friend" for his significant contributions, saying he had always been a fearless advocate for his electorate and NSW.

"Over the course of his ministerial career Rob has been a champion of reform, spearheading significant changes during his time as minister for environment, minister for planning and minister for education among others," he said.

"That will have a lasting and beneficial impact on the people of NSW, including embarking on the state's largest-ever school building program. 

"I wish him, his wife Sophie and their children all the very best for the future."

Following the announcement, the Minister for Families and Communities Natasha Maclaren-Jones, raised her hand to fill his seat.

"Pittwater has always been very special to me having been a part of this wonderfully diverse community," she said.

"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 and nominating for Liberal Party pre-selection to represent Pittwater."

Her nomination has been acknowledged by NSW Treasurer Matt Kean, who said the party is open to "young" and "dynamic" representatives.

"She is certainly a strong candidate," Mr Kean said.

"And I look forward to other strong candidates sticking up their hand to be part of our team."

Members of the opposition have also shared their views on Mr Stokes's decision. 

Labor MP John Graham and shadow treasurer Daniel Mookhey said Mr Stokes had made a positive contribution to public policy.

"He's a big loss to the government but a loss to the parliament as well," Mr Graham said.

"[His] departure heralds the end of an era. He really was one of the last few remaining members of the government whose integrity was beyond question," Mr Mookhey said.

The senior Liberal's announcement adds to a growing list of retiring MPs.

Last month, six coalition MPs — Corrections Minister Geoff Lee, Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello, Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly, Nationals MPs Melinda Pavey, Stephen Bromhead and Chris Gulaptis — announced they will resign from NSW Parliament.

Most recently, NSW Lower House Speaker Jonathan O'Dea tabled his retirement plans after serving in the role since 2019. 

Former attorney-general Gabrielle Upton also announced in July she will leave at the next election.

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