Premier Gladys Berejiklian has appointed Liberal upper house MP Taylor Martin as parliamentary secretary for the Hunter, filling a post left vacant since 2019.
Mr Martin, 30, replaces Scot MacDonald, a popular advocate for the Hunter who was ousted from Parliament in 2019 when he was rolled in a preselection ballot by Berejiklian ally Catherine Cusack.
Ms Cusack has been acting in the role without being formally appointed. Ms Berejiklian removed Ms Cusack from parliamentary secretary duties, including her responsibility for cost of living, in November after she voted against a controversial land management bill.
Mr Martin, a University of Newcastle graduate who lives at Terrigal, has also elevated his profile in the Hunter since 2019.
He was 26 when he was elected four years ago and remains the youngest MP in Macquarie Street.
"Since entering Parliament in 2017 as the Liberal Party's provincial MLC for the Hunter and Central Coast, I have spoken up on behalf of the Hunter region and I will continue to work with locals to ensure their unique issues and challenges are heard," Mr Martin said on Tuesday.
"The role provides additional opportunities for the Hunter to be represented within the NSW government."
Mr Martin was also appointed parliamentary secretary for the cost of living on Tuesday.
The Liberals do not have a lower house member among the nine state and four federal electorates in the Hunter, though Coalition partners the Nationals have Michael Johnsen in Upper Hunter at state level.
Cessnock MP Clayton Barr said the news that the Premier never formally appointed Ms Cusack to the role shows "complete disregard for the Hunter region".
"It's obvious Gladys Berejiklian really doesn't care about the Hunter or its people. Not only did the Premier forget the Hunter, she also forgot about poor old Michael Johnsen," said Mr Barr, who is also Labor's shadow minister for the Hunter.
"It is clear that the Premier does not consider the only Coalition MP in the area, Michael Johnsen MP capable enough to represent his own community in this role.
"Labor is committed to having a Minister for the Hunter, not just a Parliamentary Secretary, which means that under Labor, the Hunter would have a seat at the Cabinet table."
Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Bob Hawes welcomed the reappointment of a parliamentary secretary for the region.
Mr Hawes said the chamber had written to the Premier in December requesting the reinstatement of the then-vacant role.
"The Hunter region has enjoyed the representation of a dedicated minister or parliamentary secretary for approximately 30 years and the role has been an important conduit to government and advocate on regional issues," he said.
"The chamber places high value on the role and believes both government and the region have benefited from the assistance these representatives have been able to provide.
"The chamber already has a good working relationship with Mr Martin and we welcome his appointment."