LIBERAL MP Simon Ramsay has expressed surprise at the departure of Ted Baillieu but also remains positive about Ballarat's future under new Premier Denis Napthine.
The Member for Western Victoria said he was blindsided by the sudden turn of events which saw Mr Baillieu resign from the party leadership last night.
He lauded his former leader as an "excellent leader in a tough environment".
"I was as shocked as many were in the room that he made that decision. I have a great respect for Ted Baillieu," he said.
Mr Ramsay said the change in leadership would not affect funding announcements already promised to Ballarat.
Mr Ramsay also expressed his hope that Ballarat would get a better deal under the incoming Premier.
"I am hopeful that in the May budget we will see more invested into Ballarat and the region," he said.
Dr Napthine was aware of how important initiatives such as the Western Link road were to the region, according to Mr Ramsay.
"He knows that it's an important linkage to the western growth corridor and the industrial and employment zone," he said.
Mr Ramsay said Dr Napthine's current role as Minister for Regional Cities was a positive for the city.
"Denis Napthine is very professional, very committed and very smart," he said.
"I think the transition will be seamless in that we will continue as we have done in providing good government for Victoria.
LAST NIGHT, other Ballarat politicians were stunned by the sudden exit of Premier Ted Baillieu and the rise of Denis Napthine to the top job.
Ballarat East Labor MP Geoff Howard said the move came as a shock. He said the change of leadership meant a period of uncertainty for the region.
“We might expect that Denis Napthine has an apreciation of regional issues but it’s still a matter of whether he can make a difference in delivering the things the region expects,” he said.
Fellow Labor MP Sharon Knight from Ballarat West called on Dr Napthine to better acknowledge the Ballarat region.
“I don’t believe that he has helped the regions, we still have job losses. We still see a lack of infrastructure in our regions,” she said.
Liberal MP for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay could not be reached by The Courier by deadline.
Dr Napthine said he was proud to serve under the Baillieu government and would deliver stable goverment. He also paid tribute to Mr Baillieu.
“Ted has put his heart and soul into the Victorian Liberal Party ... for the best part of three decades,” Dr Napthine said.
“He is an outstanding individual. He is not just a colleague, he is a great friend.”
Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott congratulated Denis Napthine and praised outgoing leader Ted Baillieu as a man of integrity and honour.