It’s full steam ahead as Member for Euroa Steph Ryan prepares for the fight to retain her seat at this year’s state election.
Since romping to victory in the 2014 election with a margin of 13.6 per cent, Ms Ryan has worked feverishly — despite being in opposition — to ensure residents in her electorate aren’t forgotten.
Ms Ryan, who was also propelled to deputy leader of The Nationals after her 2014 election triumph, said she was proud of what she had been able to achieve in the past four years.
‘‘Look, it’s always tough in opposition, but I’ve tried to work as hard as I can,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve worked with each of the communities to run key campaigns that have got outcomes. The funding for Broadford CFA was a real priority, I lobbied until the government came good on that, and also the Nagambie Ambulance service, which Labor weren’t having a bar of until we made it such a problem for them that it just couldn’t go away.’’
But there’s one thing Ms Ryan says is still glaringly deficient in the area — public transport. While Seymour and its surrounding towns are humming along, Ms Ryan said the area won’t grow and prosper without a reliable public transport service at its feet.
‘‘There’s a real sense of frustration in the community with regards to public transport,’’ she said.
‘‘Seymour has so much potential, we can support population growth because we have the facilities and the infrastructure and the access to water, but if people are going to move to town they want to know they have a train service they can rely on.
‘‘The Nationals have made a $240million commitment to replace all long-haul stock on the line to increase reliability, and that’s a big commitment to make early on, but we know that is one of the key things that need to be done in the region.’’
The district has not had a Labor representative in parliament since Ben Hardman, who held the seat of Seymour, which was abolished before the 2014 election, from 1996 to 2010.
And while many deem Euroa a ‘‘safe seat’’, Ms Ryan certainly doesn’t see it that way.
‘‘It’s not a safe seat and it never has been,’’ she said.
‘‘Country seats are often subject to huge swings, but at the end of the day I put my hand up to do this job, I love the communities that I represent and I have and will continue to work as hard as I can to deliver for the community.’’