She has big plans

Af­ter clear ma­jor­ity in elec­tion Steph Ryan is ready for bat­tle

Seymour Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Si­mon Rup­pert

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.

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