Paul Toole tipped to succeed John Barilaro as NSW Nationals leader

A day after Dominic Perrottet was installed as Premier, the NSW Nationals must now decide his deputy, with Regional Roads Minister Paul Toole shaping as the favourite to replace John Barilaro.

The Nationals will vote on Wednesday to decide the state’s Deputy Premier after Mr Barilaro’s snap resignation on Monday, with at least two candidates vying for the role.

NSW Regional Roads Minister Paul Toole.

NSW Regional Roads Minister Paul Toole.Credit:Rhett Wyman

Long-time MP and Water Minister Melinda Pavey was the first to put her hand up within hours of Mr Barilaro’s resignation.

While Ms Pavey attracted the vocal backing of Sydney shock jock Ray Hadley, party sources indicated that Mr Toole, who is Nationals deputy leader and the former mayor of Bathurst, has the majority of support within the party room.

“If anything, the numbers are firming for Paul, and they have been over the past 24 hours,” a Nationals MP said, adding that they expected him to win the vote “emphatically”.

The MP said the party wanted a smooth transition from Mr Barilaro, and Mr Toole’s experience as a minister and his time spent in the state’s crisis cabinet during the pandemic were likely to win him support.

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“He’s safe hands, he’s been deputy leader for the past five years, he’s been in the crisis cabinet. Of course you want to keep that stability when we’re still in the grips of a pandemic,” they said.

“He’s different to [Barilaro], he’ll try and build a consensus rather than barge his way through.”


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