Member for Euroa Steph Ryan has a new feather in her cap, and will now oversee all things water in Victoria.
The Nationals’ deputy leader has taken on the position of Shadow Water Minister, taking over from The Nationals’ leader Peter Walsh, who had the portfolio for the past 15 years.
Ms Ryan grew up on irrigated dairy farms at Murchison and Wyuna, and said she had seen first-hand the impact bad water policies could have on country communities.
‘‘I was motivated to enter politics after I watched the Brumby Government devastate northern Victorian communities with the unbundling of water rights and its decision to take water from drought-stricken farmers in northern Victoria to supply Melbourne,’’ she said.
‘‘The Liberals and Nationals understand that water security is just as important for our country communities as it is for urban households and businesses.’’
She described the Victorian Government’s desalination plant as a ‘‘white elephant’’ that had drained millions of dollars from Melburnians.
‘‘Labor has made such a mess that it now has to order 15Gl every year just to keep its desalination plant working,’’ Ms Ryan said. ‘‘Our state is growing by more than 100000 people every year and to support this growth, Victoria must have a secure water supply.
‘‘Despite this, the Premier for Melbourne has no plan to manage our population growth and regional Victoria is missing out as a direct result of Labor’s incompetence.
‘‘Only the Liberals and Nationals are developing a whole-of-government plan to manage the growth of our whole state — not just Melbourne.’’
Ms Ryan picked up her new task in a reshuffle announced last week. It’s busy times ahead for the local MP, who is also the Shadow Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Minister and the Shadow Young Victorians Minister.