LOCAL politician Peter Walsh has been returned as the parliamentary leader of The Nationals in Victoria.
His deputy is again the Member for Euroa, Steph Ryan. Both were elected by the party room uncontested for their respective positions.
The Nationals' party room met this week in the wake of the Victorian election, which gave Labor a huge majority and decimated the Liberals.
The Nationals' leadership team defied the trend and increased their vote. Their only loss was the defeat of Peter Crisp in Mildura to independent candidate, Ali Cupper.
Mr Walsh, a former Boort district farmer, has previously served as the Victorian Farmers Federation president, a board ,member of the National Farmers Federation and director of SPC Limited.
Peter was the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Water under the former Coalition Government and is now Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation and Shadow Minister for Agriculture.
Mr Walsh said The Nationals will continue to work with our communities to give them a strong voice in the Parliament and put regional issues onto the government's agenda.
"I'm very grateful for the endorsement from my colleagues and am looking forward to getting back to work for Victoria's rural and regional communities," Mr Walsh said.
He congratulated Ms Ryan on her re-election.
"Steph's dedication and hard work over the past four years, both as a first term MP and as Deputy Leader, is reflected in the increased support from her community and the ongoing support from her parliamentary colleagues," he said.
"With Daniel Andrews' Labor Government now even more dominated by city-based MPs, The Nationals will be working even harder to make sure the interests of country Victorians, who have put their faith in us to represent them, are heard in the State Parliament."
Shortly after being elected to Parliament on November 29, 2014, Ms Ryan was chosen as Deputy Leader of The Nationals and is Shadow Minister for Water, Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships and Shadow Minister for Young Victorians.
Ms Ryan said she was looking forward to getting on with the job of delivering a better deal for people living in country Victoria.
"We will fight every day for our communities to ensure that country people get the services, infrastructure and investment we need and deserve," Ms Ryan said.
"Peter is a relentless champion for regional communities across Victoria and I'm honoured to once again be part of the leadership team with him.
"The Nationals will continue to be a united and dedicated voice for rural and regional Victoria in the State Parliament, fighting for a better deal for country communities including on education, health, rail, roads and jobs."
The Member for Malvern, Michael O'Brien was yesterday elected the Liberals' parliamentary leader. The new deputy leader is Cindy McLeish.