Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley has welcomed the preselection of "formidable woman" Maria Kovacic who will replace the late senator for NSW Jim Molan after winning a Liberal Party vote on Saturday. The ex-NSW Liberal party president beat the state's former transport minister Andrew Constance for the spot. "Maria is not just a community leader in Western Sydney, she is an accomplished businesswoman with more than 20 years of experience across the commercial, public and not-for-profit sectors," Ms Ley said in a statement on Saturday afternoon. "As Deputy Leader of the Liberal party, one of my key priorities has been to get more women elected into our party room as quickly as possible. READ MORE: "The only way we can address - and rectify - the gender imbalance in our parliamentary ranks is by preselecting more women and I am thrilled that my home division, the New South Wales branch, has chosen to do that today. Ms Kovacic runs a financial services business in Western Sydney, co-founded Western Sydney Women and Western Sydney Executive Women, and was a part of the Parramatta Eels' NRLW Advisory Committee and steering committee for Women@Eels. "By bringing this real-world experience in small business and community service to Canberra, Maria will be a strong addition to our federal Liberal team," Ms Ley said. Mourners farewelled the late senator and soldier Jim Molan in a service at the Royal Military College at Duntroon in January, after he passed away aged 72.