Former teacher and Bathurst mayor Paul Toole has been elected the new NSW Nationals leader to replace John Barilaro, who resigned on Monday.
Mr Toole was the deputy Nats leader, replacing Niall Blair two years ago. He is currently the NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads.
Oxley Nats MP Melinda Pavey challenged him for the top position. The numbers were very evenly split leading up to the party room meeting at 10am on Wednesday at NSW Parliament.
Mr Toole came out as the winner though by a narrow margin. He has though some electoral baggage having overseen the unpopular council amalgamation process in 2017 when he was Local Government Minister.
He is married with three children. He was elected for Bathurst in 2011. He now becomes the Deputy NSW Premier.
Bronnie Taylor is the new deputy Nats leader.
NSW Farmers says the new Premier and Deputy Premier have an opportunity to secure a better deal for agriculture.
NSW Farmers President James Jackson congratulated NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Deputy Premier Paul Toole on winning their leadership ballots this week and welcomed the chance to build the agricultural sector.
"We have made some good progress under the outgoing leadership team, and we have found Mr Perrottet and Mr Toole to be good listeners on issues that matter to farmers," Mr Jackson said.
"However, there are a number of issues that require urgent attention, and we will be seeking meetings with them as soon as possible.
"The harvest worker shortage is top of mind not only for farmers but many in our regional and rural communities, and if it's not resolved it will cost everyone dearly."
Retired Deputy Premier John Barilaro was thanked for his contribution to pushing forward on pro-farming issues, and Mr Jackson said Mr Toole needed to continue those efforts.
"Land use conflict and the proposed property tax reforms are two big issues that need to be addressed sooner rather than later," Mr Jackson said.
"We also need to look to any barriers that will hold back the agricultural sector as we pursue our growth target of $30 billion in farmgate output by 2030.
"NSW Farmers stands ready to work with our elected representatives to ensure a better deal for farmers, which will in turn deliver a better deal for rural and regional communities."
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