Minister for Police, Minister for Water and Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville has advised me she will not seek re-election later this year. She will also step down from Cabinet.
It was a privilege to be elected to the Victorian Parliament in the same year as Lisa. She’s been a trusted colleague, a dear friend – and held in the highest regard by all.
Lisa has been a tireless champion for every portfolio she’s held.
As Victoria’s first female Minister for Police, she earned the respect of Victoria Police members and their families, force command and the Police Association.
In 2016, Lisa drove profound change in the way Victoria Police was resourced, delivering 3,135 new frontline and specialist police – a 20 per cent boost.
At the time, former Police Commissioner Graham Ashton called it unprecedented. And it was.
It was the single biggest investment in Victoria Police in the history of the force, and it was delivered alongside our state’s first Community Safety Statement and Staff Allocation Model – both unique, and both critical, to how police work to keep Victorians safe.
No Minister in the country has been better across the detail and complexity of the water portfolio.
She’s been a fierce advocate for Victoria’s irrigators, striving to give them the certainty they need.
She’s worked sensitively and respectfully with Traditional Owners to recognise their deep and ongoing connection to land, water and resources.
And she’s worked tirelessly to secure our state’s long-term water supplies and protect the jobs, farmers, families and communities that rely on them.
Her work protecting vulnerable Victorians across the Community Services, Children and Aged Care portfolios in the Bracks and Brumby Governments also won’t be forgotten. During that time, she also became Victoria’s first Minister for Mental Health.
I’ve long admired Lisa’s openness about her battle with Crohn’s disease, and how she’s encouraged frank conversations about it. Lisa has always tried to make things easier for others.
She’s also always put her responsibility to the people of Bellarine and Victoria first. She’s put her job ahead of her health for a very long time – and now it’s time for Lisa to put herself first.
I thank Lisa for her many years of friendship, as well as her many years of service to Victorians, the Government and the Labor Party. I wish her and her family well for the future.