STEPH RE­TURNED

Euroa Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BYGRACE EVANS [email protected] ne­me­dia.com.au

STEPH Ryan (MLA, Europa) has claimed vic­tory in the Euroa elec­torate at the state elec­tion, well ahead of other can­di­dates. The Na­tion­als Party in­cum­bent - at the time of go­ing to press - had 60.82 per cent of the pri­mary vote, ahead of La­bor's Fiona Dep­per­ler-Mor­tan (27.62 per cent).

THE Na­tion­als have re­tained the seat of Euroa, with Steph Ryan fin­ish­ing well ahead of her coun­ter­parts in last week­end’s state elec­tion, in what she de­scribed as “bit­ter sweet”.

The Na­tion­als deputy leader had recorded 60 per cent of the first pref­er­ence votes with 72.2 per cent of the vote counted, when The Euroa Gazette went to print.

With a re­sound­ing La­bor Gov­ern­ment win across the state, the Na­tion­als still ap­pear over­whelm­ingly dom­i­nate in the main ar­eas of the Euroa elec­torate.

Ryan recorded 1624 pri­mary first pref­er­ence votes in the Euroa town­ship, with La­bor pre­ferred can­di­date Fionna Dep­peler-Morton, com­ing in with just 100 pri­mary first pref­er­ence votes.

Strong polling in both Sey­mour and Be­nalla proved ben­e­fi­cial for Ryan, with closer calls in Heath­cote and Clon­bi­nane where La­bor fin­ished strong.

As vot­ing pref­er­ences be­came ap­par­ent on Satur­day night, Ryan de­clared her win at Euroa’s Tem­ple and Co, sur­rounded by sup­port­ers, lo­cal com­mu­nity mem­bers and staff.

Ms Ryan said she felt priv­i­leged to rep­re­sent the re­gion and the fierce and pas­sion­ate peo­ple who call it home.

“I’ve al­ways been a very strong be­liever that my job as a lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive is to cam­paign for the things that mat­ter to us in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties,” Ms Ryan said.

“I think most peo­ple want to see some­one who is fight­ing for lo­cal is­sues and un­der­stands lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

“Pol­i­tics to me is about com­mu­nity not ide­ol­ogy.”

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that she has a chal­lenge ahead of her, with­out her gov­ern­ment in power, Ms Ryan said her ini­tial goals will be much harder to achieve.

“La­bor’s re-elec­tion means the $2 bil­lion the Lib­er­als and Na­tion­als com­mit­ted to the Euroa will be harder to at­tain, but I look for­ward to work­ing hard for the com­mu­nity to achieve our goals,” she said.

“I’m go­ing to look to run a re­ally strong cam­paign, par­tic­u­larly around the train ser­vice next year to make sure it is firmly on the gov­ern­ment’s radar.

“Im­prove­ments to trains ser­vices are re­ally key.”

Tak­ing from her last four years in the role, Ms Ryan has re­alised she doesn’t al­ways have the ca­pac­ity to fight ev­ery­thing at once, par­tic­u­larly from op­po­si­tion.

“I’ve re­alised that some­times you need to work sys­tem­at­i­cally through a list of pri­or­i­ties, “she said.

Feel­ing gra­cious and hum­ble for her win, Ms Ryan looks for­ward to the next four years rep­re­sent­ing the com­mu­nity.

Mean­while, the topsy turvy of the Up­per House vote con­tin­ued this week with the top five or­der for North­ern Vic­to­ria chang­ing fre­quently.

With al­most 60 per cent of votes counted Wendy Lovell (Lib­eral) is in first place fol­lowed by Mark Gepp (ALP), Tim Quilty (Lib­eral Democrats), Ta­nia Maxwell (Der­ryn Hinch Jus­tice Party) and Luke O’Sul­li­van (Na­tion­als).

The fi­nal or­der may not be known un­til next week.

PHOTO: Dale Mann

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