Ripon seat opens up as MP prepares to retire

RIPON is very much up for grabs at this year’s state election, with a redrawing of the boundaries bringing the seat into contention for both parties.

Barrister Daniel McGlone will represent Labor and will try to hold on to the seat retiring MP Joe Helper has held for 15 years. 

Louise Staley – a Willaura grain farmer, local health organisation board member and member of the Institute of Public Affairs – is set to try to win Ripon back for the Liberals for the first time since 1999.

A recent redrawing of the boundaries makes this very much a possibility, with significant boundary changes making the seat notionally Liberal, according to ABC analyst Antony Green.

Ms Staley said she was spending a lot of time getting around her electorate to speak to as many people as she could to discern the issues which mattered to them.

She said jobs would be one of the big issues at November’s election, as regional areas struggled to battle unemployment.

“The government’s announcements in this area have been strong. 

“I’m very supportive of the announcement to move VicRoads to Ballarat,” she said.

Ms Staley said the government’s commitments to the Western Highway duplication, funding for mobile blackspots and free Wi-Fi on regional trains were all winning policies in Ripon.

“I will be fighting very hard for every vote. I recognise that I am the underdog in this. It’s a very large seat,” she said. 

Mr McGlone did not return phone calls The Courier made yesterday afternoon. 

The Labor Party won the seat in the 2010 election by a 2.7 per cent margin, however the party did experience a negative swing of 1.6 per cent.

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