The state government remained tight-lipped on Friday about the appointment of a new Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter following the sacking of Catherine Cusack.
Ms Cusack, who has been a member of the NSW Legislative Council since 2003, voted to have the Local Land Services Bill amendments sent to a committee, sparking an angry response from Ms Berejiklian, who had hoped to end tension within the government over koala planning policy.
Several sources told the Newcastle Herald they expected Central Coast MLC Taylor Martin would have his brief expanded to include the Hunter.
Mr Martin could not be contacted for comment on Friday and the Premier's office did not respond to questions.
Ms Cusack said she did not wish to comment further about her dismissal.
She told Parliament on Thursday that the proposed legislation was not supported in the wider community.
"Our koalas are in so much trouble. The plight of koalas is really well understood by my community, and indeed by the whole world, which donated tens of millions of dollars in a stunning act of generosity to funds established specifically help koalas," she said.
"My community is incredibly distressed by this legislation."Catherine Cusack
"My community is incredibly distressed by this legislation. In all of the communications sent to me on this issue, I have not had a single person ask me to vote for this bill-not one. I cannot find a constituency for this legislation. All I can find is enormous distress and mistrust."
She also apologised "to the Premier, my party and our coalition partners" for voting against the coalition, adding her "faith in the processes has been shattered".
Thursday's dramatic events mean the controversial bill is now unlikely to get the green light until well into next year.
Ms Cusack's dissent was not the first flashpoint over the proposed changes to planning rules designed to protect koala habitats.
A previously private Coalition policy difference exploded into a public debate in September when Deputy Premier John Barilaro threatened to move his MPs to the crossbench over the policy.
He claimed the new protections went "too far" in favour of koalas, and, despite his bombshell move angering senior Liberals, the Coalition remained intact.
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