NSW Nationals' new leader promises to restore reputation
UPDATE: The NSW Nationals' new leader John Barilaro has vowed rebuild the party's damaged reputation after a humiliating result in the Orange by-election.
The Monaro MP and Minister for Regional Development, Skills and Small Business John Barilaro paid tribute to predecessor Troy Grant, who announced his resignation from the position yesterday.
Mr Barilaro was elected unopposed at a party meeting this morning along with Niall Blair, who beat Coffs MP Andrew Fraser in a vote for the deputy leadership.
"I thank the NSW Nationals for this privilege of representing them and the people of NSW," Mr Barilaro said.
"I thank Troy for his tireless work for the party as leader, for his professional and caring approach to the role and his friendship along the way.
"I promise to bring the same passion, drive and work ethic to this role just as I have done so working for my electorate, the Monaro, and Cabinet portfolios.
"I am proud of what the NSW Nationals have achieved so far, building the hospitals, roads and schools our communities need to keep them strong, but I know there is much more work to do to regain the trust and rebuild the reputation of the NSW Nationals as proud representatives of regional NSW in Australia's oldest Parliament."
Mr Blair said he was honoured to become deputy leader of "the only political party which truly represents the core values of regional NSW".
"We need to reflect on the outcome of the by-election in Orange but we also need to get on with the job of delivering for our communities, for example by repealing Labor's hated Native Vegetation Act this week," he said.
Counting is still underway in the Orange by-election, with Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Philip Donato looking possible to win the once-safe Nationals seat.
8.07AM: NSW Nationals elect John Barilaro as new leader
JOHN Barilaro has been elected unopposed as leader of the NSW Nationals, taking the reins following Troy Grant's resignation.
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair also won a vote against Andrew Fraser to take over the deputy leader position from Adrian Piccoli, who also stepped down yesterday afternoon.
The spill followed an upset in the Orange by-election, with a huge swing against the Nationals putting Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Philip Donato within reach of winning the once-safe seat.
More to follow.