Australia

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro takes one month of mental health leave

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro. Source: AAP

The NSW Nationals leader will miss next week's sitting of parliament, with his deputy Paul Toole installed acting leader.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro is taking mental health leave for up to four weeks after a tumultuous fortnight dominated by koala protection policy.

The outspoken NSW Nationals leader will miss next week's sitting of parliament, with his deputy Paul Toole installed acting leader.

Mr Barilaro's office confirmed the break was for his wellbeing and mental health.

In a statement, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Mr Barilaro had told her of his decision on Friday afternoon.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has agreed to address the Nationals' concerns over koala policy at an upcoming cabinet meeting.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian
AAP

"I have offered him any support he may need," she said.

"I wish John and his family all the best during this time."

It means he'll likely miss a 6 October cabinet meeting in which the state's vexed koala protection policy was expected to be debated.

Mr Barilaro put himself in the firing line last week after threatening to implode the coalition government if concessions were not made over the policy, which he described as a "nail in the coffin for farmers".

He backed down when the premier gave him an ultimatum that Nationals MPs support the government or its ministers be sacked from cabinet.

Mr Barilaro was unrepentant for his actions after he survived a no-confidence motion in parliament on Wednesday, angering Liberal colleagues when he refused to rule out threatening the coalition again.

However, he later committed to honouring the coalition until the 2023 state election. 

Despite Liberal Police Minister David Elliott labelling his position untenable, Mr Barilaro said he would not resign and that he and the premier remained "tight".

The Nationals are concerned changes to the Koala Habitat Protection State Environmental Planning Policy limit land use on farms and the ability to rezone areas for development.

Federal Senator Matt Canavan said Mr Barilaro had come under "intense scrutiny" for advocating on behalf of farmers.

"He has had a fairly tumultuous couple of weeks," the Liberal National Party senator told Sky News.

"He's been doing his best to fight on behalf of his constituents against some pretty mad planning laws in NSW that take away people's property rights."

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