Jaclyn Symes waits on final count before becoming new agricultural minister

By Country News

Upper house MP Jaclyn Symes has been announced as Victoria’s new Agriculture, Regional Development and Resources Minister in Daniel Andrew’s new gender-equal ministry.

But Ms Symes will have to wait for confirmation of her election to the Legislative Council before she can step into the role.

With 72.6 per cent of the vote counted as Country News went to press, Ms Symes is sitting fifth on the five-person representation for Northern Victoria.

In front of her is Liberal Wendy Lovell, her Labor colleague Mark Gepp, Tim Quilty (Liberal Democrats) and Tania Maree Maxwell (Derryn Hinch Justice Party).

While the final votes are being counted, Jaala Pulford will retain her role as Agriculture and Regional Development Minister.

Ms Pulford will become Minister for Roads, Road Safety and Fishing and Boating following the reshuffle.

Lisa Neville will keep the water ministry in the new cabinet.

In the lower house, Bendigo East incumbent Jacinta Allen has increased her lead by 7.1 per cent after 89.7 per cent of the vote counted.

Despite Labor picking up some ground, Eildon’s Liberal candidate Cindy McLeish is set to hold on, while in Euroa National’s candidate Steph Ryan is one per cent better off compared to the 2014 ballot.

Ms Ryan wasn’t the only Nationals candidate likely to have success, with Peter Walsh (Murray Plains) and Tim McCurdy (Ovens Valley) likely to join Ms Ryan in the Victorian Parliament.

While in Shepparton, independent Suzanna Sheed looks likely to retain her seat ahead of Liberal candidate Cheryl Hammer, who is one of her party’s better performing candidates.