Barilaro on a break after NSW koala threat

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro is taking mental health leave for up to four weeks.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro is taking mental health leave for up to four weeks.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro is on mental health leave after a torrid fortnight dealing with the political fallout from his koala protection policy threat.

The outspoken NSW Nationals leader will miss next week's sitting of parliament and won't return to his role for up to four weeks.

Mr Barilaro's office confirmed he was temporarily stepping down to take time off for his wellbeing and mental health.

In a statement, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Mr Barilaro had told her of his decision on Friday afternoon.

"I have offered him any support he may need," she said.

"I wish John and his family all the best during this time."

His deputy Paul Toole has been installed acting deputy premier and state party leader.

Mr Toole praised his colleague for putting his hand up to take a break and said he looked forward to his return.

"People need to know it's ok to say when you are having a tough time - and that's exactly what John has done," the acting deputy premier said in a statement

"The NSW Nationals support each other and stick together."

It means Mr Barilaro will likely miss an October 6 cabinet meeting in which the state's vexed koala protection policy was expected to be debated.

He put himself in the firing line last week after threatening to implode the coalition government if concessions were not made over the policy, which he described as a "nail in the coffin for farmers".

He backed down when the premier gave him an ultimatum that Nationals MPs support the government or its ministers be sacked from cabinet.

Mr Barilaro was unrepentant for his actions after surviving a no-confidence motion in parliament on Wednesday, angering Liberal colleagues when he refused to rule out threatening the coalition again.

However, he later committed to honouring the coalition until the next state election in 2023.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance, Police Minister David Elliott and Planning Minister Rob Stokes have all made disparaging public comments about Mr Barilaro over the debacle.

Mr Elliott previously labelled his position untenable but Mr Barilaro was adamant on Wednesday he would not resign and that he and the premier remained "tight".

The Nationals are concerned changes to the Koala Habitat Protection State Environmental Planning Policy limit land use on farms and the ability to rezone areas for development.

Federal Senator Matt Canavan said Mr Barilaro had come under "intense scrutiny" after going into bat for farmers.

"He has had a fairly tumultuous couple of weeks," the Liberal National Party senator told Sky News.

"He's been doing his best to fight on behalf of his constituents against some pretty mad planning laws in NSW that take away people's property rights."

Australian Associated Press