STANDING DOWN: Nationals Leader Troy Grant will step down from his position after the Orange byelection result. TROY Grant will stand down as leader of the Nationals following the party’s disastrous result at the Orange byelection.
Mr Grant released a statement on Monday admitting that party was “facing an uphill battle” to hang onto the seat, and stating that he would step down at Tuesday’s party room meeting.
“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,” he 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.”
The NSW Nationals had held Orangeby more than 21 per cent, but with more than 50 per cent of votes counted led by a margin of just 3.5 per cent.
The Shooters and Fishers and Farmers Party is picked to have the inside running to win the seat, thanks to preference flows from the Labor Party.
The backlash was widely interpreted as punishing the government for its unpopular council amalgamation laws, and the now-abandoned decision to impose a ban on greyhound racing.
Mr Grant said the government should “reset the way it is seen to be governing”.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Earlier on Monday Premier Mike Baird admitted the byelection was a “terrible” result for the government.
“It’s a terrible result, that’s the truth of it,”Mr Baird told reporters in Sydney.
“The community there has sent a very loud message and it’s something that we need to consider over coming weeks, no doubt about it.”
Later on Monday he issued a statement saying Mr Grant had “made an enormous contribution to regional NSW”.
“During the 2015 election, Troy and I campaigned shoulder-to-shoulder in support of the Rebuilding NSW program,” he said.
“As a result, regional NSW will benefit through a once-in-a-generation investment in the state’s roads, schools, hospitals and water infrastructure.
As Deputy Premier and leader of the Nationals, Troy has been a courageous and passionate advocate for regional NSW.
“Troy is a man of great integrity and it has been an honour to lead this government together.”