Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack addressing questions over the Nationals koala stance.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack addressing questions over the Nationals koala stance.

How koalas upstaged Casino meatworks' $6M announcement

DEPUTY Prime Minister Michael McCormack has moved to dismiss fears of disunity between the NSW Nationals and Liberals.

The Deputy Prime Minister was speaking at a new funding announcement for the Northern Co-Operative Meat Company in Casino.

Earlier, the state Nationals backed down from their threat to leave the state coalition should their demands over new koala protection rules not be met.

Mr McCormack said he was "unsure" of whether the Nationals' move could be considered as a backdown.

"Well I am not quite sure whether it's such a backdown, I know there hasn't been a statement by Mr Barilaro or indeed Premier Berejiklian as yet and we'll wait to see what comes of that," he said.

When pressed over the stoush, Mr McCormack indicated he would prefer future discussions over the matter be held privately.

"For those discussions about koalas and farmers' rights, let's see those resolved behind closed doors amicably and let's get on with the job doing what they were elected to do," Mr McCormack said.

"People don't want to see politicians squabbling, they want to - particularly at this time which is very difficult with COVID-19 - what they want to do is know that their politicians are getting along and sorting the sort of things that they need to be sorting out behind closed doors and I think that is so important."

Mr McCormack did reiterate the Nationals' stance for farmers receiving greater controls over their land.

"Whilst I appreciate this has been a difficult time of negotiations, the fact is it's important for people to understand that farmers need to have the rights to do on their property to do what they need to be able to do," Mr McCormack said.

"We need our farmers to have their rights and be able to protect their rights too."


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