As NSW state political custom dictates, following a leadership change, there is the obligatory cabinet reshuffle with loyalists rewarded and protagonists banished to the local equivalent of Outer Mongolia.

Following the elevation of Dominic Perrottet as the NSW Premier in October, the question is what will happen to NSW Planning Minister and one-time losing contender to the top job Rob Stokes.

Stokes, who has a PhD in Planning from Macquarie University has proven to be a somewhat  popular planning minister, all the while simultaneously holding the massive portfolios of Transport and Planning, a feat matched by few in the past.

“I’ve got the holy grail of planning and transport in the one place, so what can I do right now? Every day matters because I know, at some point, one or both will come to an end,” Stokes told the Sydney Morning Herald.

At the same time, he has garnered a loyal following within the design and planning community for his no-nonsense and common-sense approach to urban planning and sustainability, attributes usually not synonymous with NSW planning ministers, especially of years gone by.

After unsuccessfully contesting the leadership ballot against Perrottet in October, Stokes says the Premier asked him to take on the portfolio ‘at least until the reshuffle’.

Asked what he believed the future had in store for him, Stokes quotes US president, Theodore Roosevelt: “Do what you can with what you have where you are.’ That’s very much my thinking at the moment because I honestly don’t know what the future is.”

And on the issue of Stokes’s future, the lack of clarity there is starting to resemble the recent spate of overcast Sydney weather. This is not being helped by the ongoing issues with Sydney Ferries and the cracked Light Rail carriages.

More to the point, sources from within the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment point to Stokes being dumped as NSW Planning Minister and being replaced by

Perrottet loyalist Anthony Roberts, the New South Wales Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections and a one-time Minister for Housing.

Asked for a comment on the matter, a spokesperson for the Department for the Premier and Cabinet dutifully noted that: “The new cabinet has not yet been announced.”

However, that still does not answer the question as to whether Robe Stokes will remain as NSW Planning Minister in 2022, with comments were also being sought from Rob Stoke’s office.

Until there is an official statement, the words of US President Roosevelt may have to suffice: “…I honestly don’t know what the future is”.