Nationals Senator Matt Canavan says he was not surprised outgoing NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro decided to resign from his position – given his “battles” have taken a toll on him.

“He has been a fearless fighter for the bush for many years,” Mr Canavan told Sky News Australia.

“I wasn’t surprised … because we’ve seen, publicly, John reveal that those bruises, those battles have taken a mental toll on him.

He said the COVID pandemic has presumably been a difficult time for any leader to see through, however he does not think it was “principally” the issue for Mr Barilaro.

“With the premier going last week, I suppose it makes some sense to change the bath water all at once.

“And if John was going to or contemplating this soon it was probably best to go right now so a new leadership team could be installed and … chart a new path for New South Wales.

“I do think John deserves credit for his leadership through some very tough times.”

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