TROY Grant has announced he will stand down as leader of the NSW Nationals Party following the shock result from the Orange by-election.
With votes still being counted, it appears the seat may be lost to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party candidate Phillip Donato, a devastating result for the National Party which has held the seat comfortably since 1947.
The Nationals held the seat by a 21.7 per cent margin at the last state election, however polls are predicting a swing of – 22 per cent once preferences are taken into consideration.
The swing against the Nationals is believed to have been a result of both the greyhound racing ban, which was overturned last month, as well as the proposed council mergers, with both issues having a major affect on the rural electorate.
In a statement released on Monday, Grant said he had advised the NSW Nationals leadership team of his decision to stand down at a party room meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
“It has been an incredible privilege to serve in that tole and lead a team whose sole focus is to serve the people of regional NSW,” the statement read.
“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.
“Regional NSW is full of hard-working, decent people that want to see their government supporting them and otherwise let them live their lives as they see fit.”
Grant also said he hopes the Government can learn from his resignation and reassess its future direction.
“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.
“I am proud of the results the NSW Liberals & Nationals have been able to achieve for regional NSW and the state since coming to power and it vital that this continues.
“I thank those in the party, our branches and our communities for the trust and support they have shown me during my time as leader.”
The announcement from Grant that he would be stepping down come as rumours had been circulating he would face a leadership spill at Tuesday’s party room meeting, with several leading news sources claiming fellow Nationals MP Andrew Fraser would put forward the motion.
As yet it is unknown who will fill the leadership position, with the likely frontrunner for the top spot looking to be Monaro MP John Barilaro.
It is also unclear if Grant will stand down as NSW Racing Minister.