There had been plenty of chatter in the parliamentary ranks when Shelley Hancock announced on Saturday that she would retire at the next state election.
But Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman was not fully expecting to step into the outgoing Local Government ministerial role.
"I was quite surprised," she said on Monday as Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the first-term MP's ascension to Cabinet.
"I'm very honoured and humbled to be recognised and really chuffed. The Premier made it clear he wanted passionate people in the Cabinet and he believed I had the experience."
Ms Tuckerman, a former AFP detective, served 17 years in local government. She was elected to Boorowa Council in 2004 and served as its first female mayor from 2007 to 2016. Ms Tuckerman was appointed administrator of the amalgamated Hilltops Council in 2016 and served up until March this year.
The MP said she was excited by the challenge, given that local government had been a big part of her life.
"I'm excited to be a position to support (the sector) because local government and the way it delivers services are so important across NSW," she said.
"...Shelley has done a great job and I have big shoes to fill but I'll be doing my utmost to achieve great things."
Councils in the electorate have beat a path to the MP's door over a vast array of issues, including state government cost shifting to infrastructure funding and controversial developments. She said servicing growing regions with appropriate infrastructure would be a key challenge but believed the state had supported this with funding.
"There are lots of pressures in local government so that is very important," Ms Tuckerman said.
She will be briefed by the department's secretariat in coming days. The MP said she intended to visit as many council areas as possible to introduce herself and understand their issues.
Asked whether she could balance the role with electorate duties, Ms Tuckerman said "absolutely" had the time.
"I'm very focused on my electorate and I like to work hard," she said.
"It's an opportunity to sit around the table when decisions are made because it's important that regions have a voice. I'm looking forward to it."
Ms Tuckerman is one of seven women and one of nine first-time ministers in the reshuffled cabinet announced on Monday. Both she and Ms Hancock have called for more females in council ranks. Earlier this year, they attended a Women for Election Australia workshop in Goulburn.
"One important thing is that men and women think differently so it's good to have that (varied) input) around the table," Ms Tuckerman said.
In a statement on Saturday, Ms Hancock said it was often difficult being the only woman in the room, "or one of a handful."
"Therefore it is essential that women make up a larger part of the cabinet to provide our views and perspectives. We do after all make up more than 50 per cent of the population," she said.
Ms Hancock said she was stepping down due to family circumstances.
Ms Tuckerman will be sworn in on Tuesday at a Government House function which her husband, Michael, will attend.
The cabinet is:
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