NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has announced he will step down as Nationals leader and resign from parliament.
“I have decided now is the right time for me to hand the reins over to new leadership, and resign as Deputy Premier of NSW,” he said in a media statement.
His announcement means there will be a by-election in the seat of Monaro.
It comes one day after Transport Minister Andrew Constance resigned, triggering a by-election for his seat of Bega.
On Friday Gladys Berejiklian resigned as Premier and from parliament, which will trigger another by-election in her seat of Willoughby.
Mr Barilaro says he will call a party room meeting for this Wednesday where he will formally resign as the NSW Nationals Leader and call for a ballot to find a replacement.
In 2016 Mr Barilaro was elected leader of the NSW Nationals and Deputy Premier of NSW.
He is currently Minister for Regional NSW, Industry and Trade.
He says he has worked with three of the Liberals’ “hardest working Premiers”; Barry O’Farrell, Mike Baird and Ms Berejiklian.
Last year Mr Barilaro took a month of mental health leave and admitted he thought he was “never coming back”.
He announced his leave amid an explosive public row with Liberal colleagues over koala habitat policy which saw him threaten to tear apart the Coalition.
At the height of the conflict, he warned he would take Nationals MPs to the crossbench, but Ms Berejiklian stared him down and the government stayed together.
Mr Barilaro, who was born in Queanbeyan to Italian migrant parents, said his number one focus was to make regional NSW a better place to live and work.
He championed the $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro legacy fund and the $2 billion Regional Growth Fund which was introduced to help those in the bush recover from fires, floods and the pandemic.
Mr Barilaro was part of the NSW crisis cabinet and worked on the roadmap out of lockdown last year and this year.