submitted by Herald Sun, Melbourne on 28.09.2014
SEptember 28, 2014
FORMER NSW minister George Souris will not recontest the 2015 state election after being dumped from the front bench earlier this year.
THE announcement was widely expected after Mr Souris was demoted from the ministry by Premier Mike Baird in his April cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Souris, who served in the Greiner, Fahey and O'Farrell cabinets, will end his 27-year parliamentary career at the March general election.
"I am thankful to have had a very substantial period in parliament and to have been at the forefront of many policy decisions that have benefited my electorate and the people of NSW," he said in a statement on Saturday.
"I have nearly seen and been through all that is to offer including the drama of premiership changes, hung parliaments, economic recession and boom, droughts and bushfires."
As hospitality minister, Mr Souris oversaw controversial O'Farrell government laws targeting alcohol-fuelled violence.
The Nationals MP for Upper Hunter acknowledged that this was the most difficult policy area he has dealt with in his long career.
"The government decided upon a series of measures over a three year period, including lock-outs, that I believe have contributed to the very substantial reduction in violence state-wide," he said.
Acting Premier Gladys Berejiklian thanked Mr Souris for his service to NSW.
"George is a dedicated local member and advocate for the Hunter region, where I have no doubt his legacy will be felt for many years to come," she said.
Mr Souris said he would be interested in a role somewhere in the corporate or business sector.
Nationals Leader in the Upper House, Duncan Gay, said Mr Souris was a pioneer "as the first Greek Australian MP in NSW at a time when our parliament was less diverse than it is today".
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