NSW National Party backs down after koala stand-off

Surprise Surprise The NSW Nationals Have Caved In Like An Undercooked Cake

Two political parties in New South Wales - the Nationals and Liberals - have been partners for nearly a century, and run the state in a coalition.

Federal Nationals leader Michael McCormack has criticised NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro's handling of a policy dispute which threatened to split the state coalition government.

Police Minister David Elliott said Mr Barilaro's position was no longer tenable and appealed to the Nationals party room to "consider their leader". "Don't make threats that you can't follow through".

Mr McCormack said the ugly dispute should never have become public.

A Liberal source said Mr Barilaro has also agreed that his MPs will support all government positions.

"I think the fact he's gone to ground at the moment is weak and he probably needs to consider his own position", Mr Elliott said.

The move would render Premier Gladys Berejiklian's Liberal administration a minority government.

This morning, after Barilaro told Sky News last night that he would not blow the Government up - a virtual land speed record for backpedaling - the Nationals leader reportedly went into Berejiklian's office for a meeting that lasted somewhere around 10 minutes.

Mr Barilaro's threats to move to the crossbench during a global pandemic particularly angered her.

"She usually deletes them", one source said.

He denied National Party MPs would sit on the crossbench, saying this had been "misinterpreted" and he was "not here to bring down the government".

The Koala Habitat Protection State Environment Planning Policy has a A$44.7million (£25.03 million) budget, including A$20 million (£11.2 million) for purchasing and permanently conserving land in the national park system that contains priority koala habitat.

Mr Constance said he was angry over a text message sent by the National Party to farmers on Friday after "they'd reached agreement that morning to be good Coalition partners".

The Premier is understood to have replied, declaring that the issue was not about the SEPP but "the provision of stability to govern" and agreeing to "being in Coalition until the election" as well as for National MPs to "support all Cabinet decisions".

Planning Minister Rob Stokes.

"Whoever leads the Nationals is a matter for the National Party - that's always been the case", she said.

However, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet described the government as a "very healthy coalition".

Another Liberal source said Mr Barilaro had told MPs that there had been concessions on both sides.

While The Sunday Telegraph flagged last week how Ms Berejiklian would bring the SEPP back to Cabinet, the Nationals argued there was now a commitment that this would occur "at the earliest possible date".

"Koalas live in and eat trees - you don't need a university degree to predict what will happen when you continue to destroy their already highly degraded habitats", Bradshaw said in an emailed statement.

The policy is expected to be discussed at the October 5 cabinet meeting.



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