Peter Ryan resigned from State Parliament yesterday after more than 22 years as the Member for Gippsland South.
AFTER more than 22 years as Gippsland South MP, Peter Ryan resigned yesterday, on his own terms.
He said it had been an honour to represent the electors of Gippsland South, but now was the right time for the electorate, his family and The Nationals for him to step aside.
His decision will mean a by-election for Gippsland South.
“With the Liberal National Coalition Government having lost office at the November 2014 State Election, I believe it is timely and in the best interests of the people of Gippsland South that I now stand aside and enable my successor to be elected,” Mr Ryan said.
“I have reached this decision after very careful consideration over Christmas and the New Year of all relevant factors and having discussed the matter with my wife Trish and our children.
“I wish to thank those many people from the communities of the electorate who have supported me over the years.
“Together we have been able to achieve wonderful outcomes in a variety of spheres, especially during the four years of the Coalition Government.”
He thanked members of the party for their support, particularly during his 15 years as a leader of The Nationals.
“I express my sincere thanks to my wife Trish and to our children Sarah, James and Julian for the magnificent support they have provided me since I was first elected in 1992.
“My subsequent Parliamentary involvement would simply not have been possible without them.
“Gippsland South is a wonderful electorate with many glorious natural attributes as well as a diverse and dynamic economic base.
“It is the people of the region who are its heartbeat. I have come to know them well over more than two decades of representing them in the Parliament and I wish them well for the future.”
Mr Ryan, 64, was a qualified barrister and solicitor prior to his election in 1992.
He was re-elected in 1996, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 and elected unopposed as the Parliamentary Leader of The Nationals in 1999.
In February 2008, he established the Liberal National Coalition in conjunction with Ted Baillieu MP, Leader of the Liberal Party.
The Liberal National Coalition formed government in 2010 after winning the election.
He was appointed Deputy Premier, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Minister for State Development.
Mr Ryan implemented numerous policy initiatives including establishing and administering the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund and established the highly successful and strongly supported Protective Services Officers.
When the Coalition lost last year’s re-election, he chose not to re-nominate as Parliamentary Leader of The Nationals.
Ryan backs O’Brien
“It’s also in the interests of succession planning that I’ve taken this decision,” said Mr Ryan, who will support Eastern Victoria MP Danny O’Brien as his successor in Gippsland South.
“Personally, I think Danny is doing an outstanding job in the Upper House.
“I believe he will nominate and be a fine local representative.
“He’s a Gippslander through and through and knows the region very well. He’s already had 10 months in the job after replacing Peter Hall.”
Mr Ryan said he has not yet made plans about his own future.
“I’m not leaving this for something else. There’s no specific job or occupation. I’ll take the opportunity to pause and consider.
“It could possibly be a return to law, but more likely a commercial role. We’ll see.”
Mr Ryan wanted to thank the South Gippsland Shire Council for its support throughout his time as the local MP.
“The council and councillors have been wonderful to work with in my time. We’ve achieved a lot together with the community at large.
“It is a great region – an extremely important contributor to the state of Victoria. The new government should recognise this and continue to support it.”
Mr Ryan said the highlights of his political career were often born out of adversity.
“Seeing people rise to the occasion after fire, flood or droughts, demonstrated their extreme resilience. It was nothing less than inspiring in times of need.”
He said he was also proud to support the growth of the agribusiness industry, and the opening up international markets for South Gippsland manufacturers.
Peter Walsh, who replaced Mr Ryan as the Leader of The Nationals, thanked him for his “dedication to his electorate of Gippsland South, to the people of Victoria and to The Nationals”.
“Peter’s passion and enthusiasm for rural and regional Victoria has been second to none. There is no doubt he has helped to make our local communities better places to live and raise a family.
“There is no doubt that Peter has made a significant impact on his electorate and our state. He has also been a role model and mentor to both new and more experienced MPs.
“I wish Peter, his wife Trish and children Julian, James and Sarah, all the best for the future.”
Liberal leader Matthew Guy described Mr Ryan as a giant of State politics.
“He has always been a huge advocate for rural and regional Victoria.
“Importantly, Peter will be remembered as playing a vital role in helping to secure victory in the 2010 state election and working with Ted Baillieu to restore the Victorian Coalition.
“As Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Peter was in charge of the Coalition’s successful $1 billion Regional Growth Fund that generated considerable investment, growth and jobs in rural and regional areas across the State.
“The Victorian Parliament is losing a man of extraordinary experience and wisdom. Spring Street will feel the loss of a fine elder statesman.”