REMEMBERED as a champion of Ballarat business, Murray Byrne helped bring major companies like McCain and Mars to the region.
Local car dealer and business identity Peter Stevens remembered Mr Byrne as a friend and mentor to him and many others.
“In my time on this earth, he has probably been the greatest politician Ballarat has ever seen,” Mr Stevens said.
“It wasn’t because he was a good communicator, it was because he actually walked the talk. He created a lot of employment in Ballarat and had a very creative style about doing things.”
He said Mr Byrne had encouraged and supported many small businesses with practical advice.
“He was so outgoing and just loved people of all walks of life. I am very sad today,” Mr Stevens said.
Australian Industry Group Ballarat regional manager Kay Macaulay said Mr Byrne’s contribution to business in Ballarat would live on.
“He had a significant impact in shaping the business community in Ballarat and from our point of view he is one of the great stalwarts in bringing large-scale business to the region,” she said.