By James Atkinson

New South Wales Hospitality Minister George Souris has been shown the door by incoming Premier Mike Baird, who has handed the equivalent portfolio to Dubbo MP Troy Grant (pictured), a former police officer of 22 years.

In the latest fallout from Premier Barry O’Farrell’s resignation over the forgotten Penfolds Grange affair, his successor Baird this week installed the NSW Nationals’ Grant as Minister for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing, and Minister for the Arts, a portfolio stripped back from that of Grant’s predecessor George Souris, who also had responsibility for Tourism and Major Events.

Little is known about Grant’s stance on liquor and hospitality matters, but his appointment may be cautiously welcomed by the industry, given the job has been hard-earned off the back of real world experience, rather than a cushy advisory background.

The former cop received two Commissioner’s Commendations for Courage in his long policing career, in which he reached the rank of Inspector of Police before resigning when elected to NSW Parliament in March 2011.

In his inaugural speech to Parliament in June 2011, Grant said he “did not take a carpet ride to the rank of inspector of police during my service”. 

“I am proud to say that I have walked and worked some of the toughest streets in our state. In that time I witnessed the very best and the very worst in people,” he said.

“I owe my life to Senior Constable Jason Williams. His courage when we were attacked and I was stabbed early one December morning in 1993, risking his safety to give me the chance to fight for my life, without fear of further harm to himself, bonds us for life and is a debt I cannot properly repay.”

The streamlined portfolio better places Grant to take a more active role on liquor and hospitality concerns than that of his predecessor Souris, who alongside his broader ministerial responsibilities also oversaw one of the biggest electorates in the state as Upper Hunter MP.

Grant’s appointment follows the recent announcement that former NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing director of compliance, Paul Newson, had become its new executive director.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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