NSW Nationals threaten split over koalas

NSW Nationals threaten split over koalas

Politics
John Barilaro said four Nationals MPs intended to move to the cross bench over koala guidelines.

John Barilaro said four Nationals MPs intended to move to the cross bench over koala guidelines.

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Trouble is brewing in the NSW Coalition.

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NSW Liberal Catherine Cusack has blasted National Party leader John Barilaro over threats that some of his MPs were willing to quit the government and sit on the cross bench over koala guidelines.

Ms Cusack says he is disloyal to the government and is calling for his resignation.

Mr Barilaro said on Wednesday that four Nationals MPs intended to move to the cross bench - a move that would force the Berejiklian government into minority government - over recent changes to protect koala habitat.

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Ms Cusack told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday the move would "tear the government down".

"This is an excellent government ... but we can't continue on this track that he's put us on," she said.

"I don't believe that he is reflecting the views of country people on this issue."

The Nationals were due to hold a virtual meeting on Thursday morning to decide what to do after recent changes were made to the state's koala protection policy.

National MPs are concerned it will limit land use on farms and the ability to rezone areas for development as more trees are classed as koala habitat, which will restrict the clearing of land.

Even ministers - Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall and Education Minister Sarah Mitchell - have spoken out over the issue.

Meanwhile, Ms Cusack admitted she had sent angry texts to key rebels Wes Fang and Sam Farraway on Wednesday night telling the pair to "enjoy your short careers" and "the show will go on and be better without you".

"I just feel that if these National Party MPs don't wish to sit with the government they should return their seats to the Liberal Party," she told 2GB.

"It's so disappointing that these people could even think about using their position to move to the cross bench."

Australian Associated Press

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