Symes’ region view
NEW Labor Minister Jaclyn Symes (pictured) says job creation and retention are her biggest priorities for the North East.
Ms Symes retained her seat in the Victorian Upper House as one of five members for Northern Victoria and will also have added responsibilities as the Minister for Regional Development, Agriculture and Resources.
She said she’s looking forward to using her newly acquired portfolios to help the region grow.
“The best thing about my portfolios is that they’re country focused so for someone who likes getting out and talking to communities and working with them on their priorities it’s great,” Ms Symes said.
“It means I can continue my work from the past four years and continue to be accessible to country people.
“We’ve got one of the most beautiful regions in the state and we’ve got different opportunities for growing industries particularly in food and fibre and the wine industry which is kicking goals.
“I’m excited to be able to work in these areas in a ministerial capacity and also in relation to renewables and job creation.
“We’ve got a very ambitious region when it comes to lowering emissions and it’s something that has really been embraced in places like Milawa and Yackandandah.
“In my view there are a lot of synergies between renewables, agriculture and regional development so they’re areas that I’m pretty keen to explore.”
After only having her seat confirmed last Tuesday, Ms Symes was the last minister to be sworn in at a ceremony that took place on Thursday night.
She was the fifth person elected for Northern Victoria after fellow Labor member Mark Gepp, Wendy Lovell (Liberal), Tim Quilty (Liberial Democrats) and Wangaratta’s own Tania Maxwell (Justice Party).
“My husband was particularly anxious for the two and a half weeks (while votes were counted) but I was reasonably relaxed, only because I went through this four years ago, it was actually a little closer last time,” Ms Symes said.
“I was also in the fortunate position of being provisionally appointed as a minister so I was absorbing information on my new portfolios in an unofficial capacity, so that was a nice distraction.
“I was a little bit nervous on Tuesday, being the button pushing day, but now that it’s over I’m really grateful the people of Northern Victoria are happy to put their trust in me again.”
Ms Symes confirmed shortly after the November’s election that Labor would keep its $10 million funding promise for a third stage of development at North East Health in Wangaratta.
She said she would follow through on her other pledges.
“I’m proud of my election commitments, they are what I will be delivering and I’m always happy to work with any community on their priorities,” Ms Symes said.