'Not what we hoped for': Nationals concede Ballina
UPDATE, 2.35pm: GREENS MP Tamara Smith has thanked Ballina voters for trusting her to represent them for another four years in the NSW Government.
Earlier today, her last remaining opponent Nationals candidate Ben Franklin conceded the election after Ms Smith pushed ahead in the counting results.
Posting on social media, Ms Smith congratulated the hard work her fellow candidates put in throughout the campaign.
"Thank you to the people of the Ballina electorate, I am proud to continue to represent you for the next four-years," Ms Smith said.
"Congratulations to all the candidates and volunteers who worked extremely hard throughout the campaign.
"I'm incredibly grateful to the community for their trust in me for a second term and I think it's a very clear referendum on the environment, more amenity and public services."
Original story: GREENS MP Tamara Smith has been retained the seat of Ballina for another four years, after Nationals candidate Ben Franklin conceded the election on Monday morning.
As the counting continues to determine the final result, Ms Smith has received 18,562 votes (60.83 per cent) of the two candidate preferred count, while Mr Franklin follows with 11,953 votes (39.17 per cent).
However, Mr Franklin did receive the highest number of first preference votes with 17,029 votes (37.48 per cent), while incumbent Greens MP Tamara Smith got 14,244 votes (31.35 per cent) and Country Labor's candidate ended up with 11,439 votes (25.17 per cent).
But the preference deal between the Greens and Labor resulted in Ms Smith getting the highest number of combined votes.
Posting on social media, Mr Franklin said while he was "delighted" the Berejiklian Government has been returned to power, he was disappointed he was not selected to represent the seat of Ballina.
"Unfortunately at a local level the result was not what we had hoped for," Mr Franklin said.
"However that was not to be. The community selected Tamara Smith and I congratulate her on her win. I also congratulate Asren Pugh on his campaign. He is a good and decent man.
"I am so grateful to all of the party members, friends, supporters and volunteers who have assisted me over the past weeks and months. It is an incredibly humbling thing for people to gift you their time and their labour day after day. I will never forget it."
In the 2015 election Mr Franklin was elected to the NSW Legislative Council and in 2017 became the Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW and Renewable Energy before running for the seat of Ballina.
"I'm incredibly proud of what I have been able to achieve over the past four years alongside our community," Mr Franklin said
"I have met some extraordinary people and worked with wonderful organisations in this electorate. To help them, advocate for them and deliver for them has been the privilege of my life. They are the true heart of our community."
This will be the second term of government for Ms Smith, who caused a massive upset in the 2015 when she beat the Nationals candidate Kris Beavis and became the first Greens MP from a regional area.