NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader John Barilaro to take mental health leave
NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader John Barilaro is temporarily stepping down from the role to take care of his mental health.
His deputy Paul Toole will take over the position in his absence.
In a statement, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Mr Barilaro this afternoon advised her he would be taking four weeks of personal leave.
“I have offered him any support he may need,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I wish John and his family all the best during this time.”
Mr Barilaro’s time off comes after political turmoil for the NSW Coalition which erupted last week when Mr Barilaro threatened to take his Nationals team to the crossbench.
Ms Berejiklian called their bluff, and said they had to resign from their ministerial positions if they were to sit on the crossbench.
The stoush was over the Government’s koala protection policy, which Mr Barilaro described as a “nail in the coffin for farmers”.
Under the policy landowners will be required to jump through more hoops to ensure koalas were not at risk if the land were to be cleared for development.
There have been six months of closed-door negotiations between Mr Barilaro, Ms Berejiklian and Planning Minister Rob Stokes over the policy.
But it wasn’t until earlier this month that the Nationals expressed their dissent.
More to come.