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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 03:03 GMT 04:03 UK
New South Wales head steps down
Bob Carr
Carr won the first of three election victories in 1995
The premier of New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, has made a shock resignation announcement.

Bob Carr, 57, who has led the state for the past 10 years, had been due to serve until 2007 but will now step down next Wednesday.

He gave no reason for the sudden move, saying only that he and his wife Helena considered it was the right time.

Mr Carr had been tipped as a possible prime minister, but has always denied any national political ambitions.

When asked on Wednesday if he could exclude a move to federal Australian politics, he said: "Yes, I can."

Mr Carr has not endorsed any member of his Labor party to replace him.

The new state premier will be chosen by the New South Wales Cabinet.

Four wins

Mr Carr first led the Labor party to victory in New South Wales in 1995, and went on to win two more elections, the most recent in 2003.

I've no plans, no job offers
Bob Carr

He has been the state Labor leader for 17 years.

During his time in office, the state capital Sydney hosted the 2000 Olympic Games, hailed as the best ever, and Mr Carr was widely praised for their success.

With an annual GDP of $215bn, New South Wales accounts for 35% of Australia's economy.

But the success of Mr Carr's centre-left Labor party has not been repeated at national level, where Labor has lost four elections in a row to John Howard's conservative coalition.

Some have seen Mr Carr as a potential winner nationwide for Labor, but he said he was not interested in such a move.

"I am very keen to help but... I think there is a lot of wisdom in the federal parliamentary Labor party and they would resent anyone from outside taking that upon themselves," he said.

As for his own ambitions, Mr Carr gave no clue about what he might be doing next.

"I've no plans, no job offers," he said, adding that he just wanted to enjoy life in Sydney and spend more time with his wife.

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