Premier Mike Baird says his new cabinet is ''all about balance'' but has been forced to defend the decision to dump several senior ministers and a lack of new female faces.
Attorney-general Greg Smith, hospitality minister George Souris and environment minister Robyn Parker are the high-profile casualties of Mr Baird's reshuffle announced on Tuesday.
Mr Baird said the decisions ''weren't easy, but I strongly think they were in the right, long-term interests of the state''.
Planning minister Brad Hazzard takes over the attorney-general's portfolio and a new entrant to cabinet, Dubbo MP Troy Grant, takes on hospitality, gaming and racing and arts.
Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner has taken the major events and tourism portfolios that were previously under Mr Souris.
Community services minister Pru Goward replaces Mr Hazzard in planning. The community services portfolio will be taken over by sports minister Gabrielle Upton. Fair Trading Minister Stuart Ayres adds sport and recreation to his responsibilities.
Pittwater MP Rob Stokes enters cabinet as Environment Minister.
Finance Minister Andrew Constance will become Treasurer shortly before the June 17 budget.
Working closely with Mr Constance will be another new face in cabinet, Castle Hill MP Dominic Perrottet, who has been given finance and services.
Bathurst MP Paul Toole will take on local government and Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell becomes Minister for Mental Health and Assistant Health Minister.
Mr Baird said his cabinet was ''a new team that balances experience with renewal and hunger''.
He denied Mr Smith's removal was to appease critics who felt he was not hard line enough on law-and-order issues.
Mr Stoner pointed out Mr Souris and former local government minister Don Page - also out of cabinet - have had ''a pretty good run'', having been in Parliament since 1988. Mr Page has indicated he will not recontest his seat of Ballina next year and Mr Stoner suggested Mr Souris ''might come to the same decision''.
The changes mean that of 22 ministers, five are women, one less than in the previous cabinet.
Mr Baird said two of the most significant portfolios were still held by deputy Liberal leader and Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Jillian Skinner, while Ms Goward and Ms Upton had been promoted.
Greens MP John Kaye said Mr Baird had assembled ''a pro-privatisation cabinet that will also lead the state into a no-holds-barred law-and-order auction election campaign''.