She has big plans
After clear majority in election Steph Ryan is ready for battle
While Labor got across the line with a landslide victory in Saturday’s state election, the seat of Euroa bucked the trend by returning incumbent Nationals candidate Steph Ryan in emphatic fashion.
Ms Ryan won the seat with more than 66 per cent of the vote, and now plans to become a thorn in Labor’s side with a number of community-backed campaigns.
Ms Ryan said she had some big plans for Seymour which she will push the Labor Government to deliver.
‘‘For Seymour, I really want to make sure that we’re properly funding Kings Park,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘It’s a fantastic asset and it’s often the first thing that people see when they come to town.
‘‘It leaves people with an impression of Seymour and that’s one of the reasons we need to keep pushing for funding to make sure facilities there are upgraded.
‘‘Train services, perhaps unsurprisingly, are probably the most pressing thing in Seymour.
‘‘We need a train service that’s reliable and, at the moment, we don’t have that.
‘‘So I’ll be campaigning very hard on that and asking the community to back my effort to make sure that it’s on Labor’s radar to improve the train service.’’
Ms Ryan said it was very humbling that the people of the Euroa electorate had put their confidence in her for the next four years.
While the coalition was soundly beaten in the election, Ms Ryan pointed out that the statewide swing against the Nationals was only 0.2 per cent.
‘‘Ultimately I think most of the Nationals MPs are community people who come from their community and fight for community issues,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘There is a really good saying that all politics is local and people want to know that the person representing them is fighting for the issues that matter to them, whether it’s about Kings Park or a better train service, they’re the things that actually matter to people.
‘‘So I think that is probably the reason the Nationals vote held up throughout most of our seats, because we champion those community voices.’’
With the make-up of the Victorian Parliament changing to an even bigger Labor majority, Ms Ryan is aware her task of delivering for Euroa will be bigger than ever.
‘‘I think it’s definitely going to be tough going back into Parliament with a much smaller number of seats on the opposition side,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘I think we’re going to have to run, as a community, some really strong campaigns to make sure that we become a thorn in the side for Labor.
‘‘The thing that has always concerned me is that they’re spending billions of dollars in Melbourne but not all of that is reaching beyond the city borders.
‘‘If we want to do things like get the train service fixed I think we’re going to need to start running some really strong community-backed campaigns.
‘‘That’s what I’ll be focusing on next year, to make sure that our voices are clearly heard.
‘‘And that the government understands that this is not about politics. This is about the needs of our communities and what our communities want.
‘‘I need to make the argument for why those things should be funded.’’
In the end, it was barely even a contest.
Incumbent member Steph Ryan romped to victory in Saturday’s state election, claiming more than 60 per cent of first preference votes to extend her majority and return as the Member for Euroa for another four years.
Her closest opponent, Labor’s Fionna Deppeler-Morton, received just over 27 per cent of the votes, while independent Don Firth and Greens candidate Keppel Cassidy shared the remaining votes.
The electorate win was bitter-sweet for Ms Ryan.
While community members clearly endorsed her hard work in the past four years by voting for her in record numbers, on a bigger level, the election was a bloodbath for her Coalition counterparts.
Labor will lead the 59th Victorian parliament with an overwhelming majority after the Liberals lost a host of key seats to the opposition.
Ms Ryan said while it was going to be difficult in such a one-sided parliament, she’s ready for the challenge.
‘‘That’s the thing I’ve learned from opposition, you can get results if you work hard,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve done that successfully in the last four years with funding for Nagambie Ambulance, Euroa Saleyards and for Rushworth and Benalla colleges, Kings Park’s second netball court and Broadford CFA, so it can be done with a lot of determination and community backing.
‘‘The really disappointing thing for me being in opposition is, had we been elected to government, we had committed almost $2 billion across the region, things like the upgrades to the track to replace the trains, the Goulburn Corridor Growth Authority, projects I’d pushed very hard to get funding commitments for which Labor didn’t make, so I’ll be looking to run strong, community campaigns to ensure we are put on Labor’s radar.
‘‘I just want to see more investment coming back in to our region, and I want to see Labor caring about people beyond Melbourne.’’
Ms Ryan said she was humbled by the overwhelming support her electorate had shown by returning her as the Member for Euroa for a second term, and hoped the next four years were equally as successful.
‘‘All local people want is an MP who is working on behalf of the community, and is taking the community’s issues to Spring St,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘There’s a great saying that ‘God gave us two ears and one mouth, and they should be used in that proportion’, and I think it’s important to listen to what issues people are facing and work on those things together.
‘‘I was very focused on running a positive campaign and really focused on what I wanted to do for our region and our communities, and I think the voters related to that.’’
Ready for action: Steph Ryan was back in to the swing of things on Monday after being re-elected on Saturday.
Having her say: Steph Ryan places her vote for the state election, where she was returned as the Member for Euroa for a second term.