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Parramatta MP Geoff Lee, right, is congratulated by his father William. Parramatta MP Geoff Lee, right, is congratulated by his father William. Featured


Jobs and education focus for new team
WESTERN Sydney has scored a third NSW government minister following the March election, with Parramatta MP Geoff Lee announced as Skills and Tertiary Training Minister, his first portfolio.

He joins Penrith MP Stuart Ayres and Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott in portfolios set to have a strong impact on the Western Sydney business community.
Perhaps Ayres will be the one most influenced by the powerhouse West, as Minister for Jobs, Investment and Tourism Minister and Minister for Western Sydney.
Ayres, who narrowly retained his seat of Penrith, was previously Minister for Sport, Stadiums and Westconnex, controversial areas that saw much community backlash.
Stadium campaign

Ultimately, Labor’s strong anti-stadiums campaign did not win them government, though it has contributed to a swing of about 4 per cent against the Berejiklian government.
Ayres has always had a strong relationship with the Western Sydney business community and will no doubt be focussed more on the needs of employers and workers in this region and all over the state.
Geoff Lee could not be better suited in his new role, given his strong academic background.
As well as managing a large plant nursery, Lee has been a TAFE teacher and Western Sydney University lecturer in business. He has a doctorate in business administration and his last job before entering politics was Associate Dean (Engagement) at UWS.
Education always been important in the Lee family, with his father William a former TAFE teacher and his mother Nancy a former schoolteacher.
He has been Parramatta MP since 2011, when he wrested the seat from Labor.
When Access spoke to Lee just hours after his new appointment was announced, he was excited about the challenges ahead.
He is a firm believer in TAFE complementing higher education in choices for school-leavers as well as older people wanting to upskill or change trades.
Staff outcry
“Not everyone can go to university, or even wants to,” he said.
In recent years, the Coalition government sliced through TAFE, leading to an outcry among staff and students.
But Lee said that made TAFE stronger as it cast off “courses that could be done in community colleges” and with a stronger emphasis on trades and other courses the led to employment.
“TAFE cannot be all things to all people and has to be linked to taking care of our skills shortage,” he told Access.
The third minister in the West is Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott who moves from Counter Terrorism and Corrections to Police and Emergency Services.
The three are set to be a mighty force in the West - keeping the peace and aiming to provide or encourage people of all ages with education and jobs.


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

Access News is a print and digital media publisher established over 15 years and based in Western Sydney, Australia. Our newspaper titles include the flagship publication, Western Sydney Express, which is a trusted source of information and for hundreds of thousands of decision makers, businesspeople and residents looking for insights into the people, projects, opportunities and networks that shape Australia's fastest growing region - Greater Western Sydney.