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Nats heeding warning after Orange loss

AAP logoAAP 21/11/2016 By Rebekah Ison

The NSW Nationals are heeding the message after Orange voters elected away from the party for the first time in almost 70 years.

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party's Philip Donato won the state seat by 50 votes on Monday night following a by-election recount.

Mr Donato, who edged out the Nationals' Scott Barrett, says his community had used their vote to send a statement to government.

"The people within the Orange electorate were clearly not happy about the manner in which they'd been governed .... and they used their position and the opportunity to really make a statement," he told reporters in Orange.

"I think governments need to take that on notice that they need to listen and represent their constituents."

The November 12 poll prompted deputy premier Troy Grant to step down as Nationals leader last week amid an initial 34 per cent primary vote swing in the seat, which the party previously held by a 21.7 per cent margin.

His replacement, John Barilaro, says lessons are to be learnt by the "tough" result.

Mr Barrett, who met with Mr Donato to concede on Monday, said the Nationals need to re-engage with the people of Orange.

"A clear message was sent from the people of the Central West at this by-election, and it's a message that must be heeded," he said.

"The Nationals must remain focused on improving lives of the people who live in the great communities of regional NSW."

Mr Donato will become his party's first lower house MP in any jurisdiction.

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