NSW Member for Monaro John Barilaro is back at work today after taking mental health leave but will reassess his future in politics as early as March next year.
The NSW Deputy Premier announced he was talking mental health leave on 18 September after surviving a vote of no confidence within his party.
Mr Barilaro addressed the media this morning, urging the wider public to look after their mental health.
“It is important you look after yourself, not just physically but emotionally,” he said.
“It’s been a good two weeks now, I have been getting better and stronger to the point my doctor said I was ready to come back to work and I was really comfortable with that.”
Mr Barilaro described hitting “rock bottom” in the lead-up to his leave and confessing he didn’t know if he would be returning to politics.
“I’m glad I chose to have the time off. I have always said in my life, you don’t make big career decisions when you are emotional or tired,” he said.
“It’s never easy to admit you have a mental health issue and that you’re struggling and suffering, but for me it was the right call.”
Mr Barilaro hit the ground running on his first day back, encouraging councils and community groups in his electorate to apply for Stream 2 of the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund.
Stream 1 is made up of $250,000 grants, available for short-term projects in the Snowy Monaro and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Councils.
When asked about his future career as both NSW Deputy Premier and an MP, Mr Barilaro said he was yet to make a decision.
“You don’t make these decisions while you’re recovering from a breakdown; you don’t make these decisions while you just return,” he said.
“I have always said by March next year I will make a decision about the long-term future of my job, of my role as an MP and Member for Monaro and I will wait until early next year.”