Troy Grant stands down as NSW Nationals leader
TROY Grant will stand down as NSW Nationals leader tomorrow as the party comes to grips with a disastrous result in the Orange by-election.
Mr Grant released a statement saying he would resign from the position at an internal party meeting as a result of Nationals candidate Scott Barrett's "uphill battle" to hold the former safe seat.
"It has been an incredible privilege to serve in that role and lead a team whose sole focus is to serve the people of regional NSW," Mr Grant said.
"At all times I have been guided by my principles of honesty, integrity and hard work but I accept the result in Orange is a clear message that we haven't always got it right, nor have we always taken the community with us.
"I hope that through my actions the NSW Government is given the opportunity to pause and reset the way it is seen to be governing and our record of delivery can once more be front and centre."
Did Nationals Leader Troy Grant have to step down?
This poll ended on 30 November 2016.
Absolutely, he had no support from the public or his party
No, he made tough choices. That should be respected
Who cares: No matter who the leader is, it's still the Nationals
It doesn't matter, the Nationals will always be the party for me
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Even before the announcement, members of Mr Grant's own party were publicly calling for his scalp.
A huge swing against the party has put Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Philip Donato within range of winning the seat, although a final result is not expected until later this week.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis, who was demoted from his parliamentary secretary position after voting against the NSW Government's greyhound ban in August, has called for Mr Grant to step down to make room for Skills Minister John Barilaro to take over the reins.
"Clearly we have to reconnect with our heartland. They feel totally disenfranchised with us," Mr Gulaptis said.
"The leadership needs to take responsibility for what has happened in Orange.
"Policies like the greyhounds (ban), council amalgamation... and really the leadership itself was on the nose.
"People felt we were arrogant and were not listening to them."
Mr Gulaptis likened the protest vote to the United Kingdom's Brexit decision and Donald Trump's looming presidency in the United States.
"It's a wake-up call. We have to support our rural communities," he said.
"I understand John Barilaro has put his hand up, and I've told both him and Troy I would be supporting John.
"He is politically savvy, comes from business and he gets regional New South Wales.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest was planning to decide whether to continue supporting Mr Grant after tomorrow's meeting.
That decision is now a moot point, although the members will be called to vote for a replacement leader.
Mr Provest earlier criticised fellow Nationals who were already speaking out against Mr Grant.
"I am amazed some colleagues are trying to play it out in the media," Mr Provest said.
"It's disappointing... the community doesn't want any of this crap; they want us to make their lives better.
"I was in Orange on Sunday and I saw the discontent in the wider community."