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Luke Costin

NSW premier dodges preselection debate

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says Natalie Ward, centre, is a great metropolitan roads minister. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

The NSW premier has baulked at questions over an internal Liberal Party preselection battle that snubbed senior minister Natalie Ward in her bid for a plum Sydney seat.

Ms Ward's bid to switch from the upper house to the ultra-safe seat of Davidson on Sydney's North Shore failed this week after preselectors voted for former Liberal staffer Matt Cross.

That led Treasurer Matt Kean, aware of the threat "teal'' independents pose in northern Sydney, to claim Liberal branch membership was "not reflecting the community".

But Premier Dominic Perrottet has fobbed off the question of whether the membership was appropriately representing the community.

"That's a matter for the Liberal Party," he told reporters on Thursday.

"The party goes through those processes, but ultimately I sit back.

"From my perspective as premier, I look at the team we have in cabinet - we have a very strong team."

Mr Perrottet said Ms Ward was a "phenomenal" metropolitan roads minister and he relied on her advice and support.

"She's a very strong political minister in the NSW government and she's doing a phenomenal job every single day, serving the people of our great state," he said.

Asked what she thought her snubbing said about the Liberal Party, Ms Ward said her focus was on the roads portfolio.

"I'm obviously disappointed by the result, but the fact is it's a democratic process," she said.

"My focus is this amazing work that I get to do every single day thanks to the Liberal Party."

The preselection loss puts a dent in Ms Ward's leadership ambitions.

The party currently prevents upper house MPs from contesting the leadership and deputy leadership - something Mr Kean says needs reviewing.

Ms Ward's eight-year upper house term expires at the 2027 election.

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