CANBERRA -- The overturned greyhound racing ban and council amalgamations have claimed a major political scalp in New South Wales with Deputy Premier, Troy Grant, standing down as state Nationals leader after a massive backlash against his party in a weekend by-election.
The count in NSW regional seat of Orange is not complete, but the Nationals are expected to lose it to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party in the face of intense voter anger.
The Nats had been in control of the "safe" seat for 69 years.
— Nine News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) November 14, 2016
A short time ago, Grant released a statement saying he will be resigning at Tuesday's Nationals party room meeting as a "result of The Nationals candidate for Orange, Scott Barrett, facing an uphill battle to hold the seat".
Grant was already facing a leadership spill at the party room meeting.
— Luke Foley (@Luke_FoleyNSW) November 14, 2016
Premier Mike Baird paid tribute to his deputy, saying Grant had made an "enormous contribution" and had been a "courageous and passionate advocate" for regional NSW.
"Troy is a man of great integrity and it has been an honour to lead this Government together," Baird said in a statement.
— Sandra Sully (@Sandra_Sully) November 14, 2016
The Deputy Premier said he accepted the result in Orange was a "clear message that we haven't always got it right, nor have we always taken the community with us".
Grant said it has been an "incredible privilege" to serve as Deputy Premier but added "I hope that through my actions the NSW Government is given the opportunity to pause and reset the way it is seen to be governing and our record of delivery can once more be front and centre".
ABC election analyst Antony Green said preferences are likely to push the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party over the line in Orange.