Richard Wynne to step aside at next election

Senior government minister and veteran Richmond MP Richard Wynne has confirmed he will not contest the 2022 election for his inner-Melbourne seat, the fourth Labor MP to announce their exit.

He will stay on as Minister for Planning, Housing and Child Protection until the Victorian state election in 12 months’ time.

Senior government minister Richard Wynne.Credit:Simon Schluter

Mr Wynne has held the seat of Richmond – which also covers Abbotsford, Collingwood, Fitzroy and Clifton Hill – since 1999 and his exit will pave the way for an intense campaign that could see Labor lose its grip on the seat.

Although Labor has long been under threat from the Greens in Richmond, Mr Wynne extended his majority in the seat at the 2018 state election.

Mr Wynne made the announcement on Thursday, a day after former attorney-general Jill Hennessy confirmed she would not contest next year’s election. Yan Yean MP Danielle Green and Ringwood MP Dustin Halse also confirmed they would stand aside in 12 months’ time.

Before his move to the Victorian Parliament, Mr Wynne served as Melbourne’s lord mayor in 1990 and 1991 and was previously an advisor to former deputy prime minister Brian Howe.

“Public life is a privilege – and I have been privileged threefold,” Mr Wynne said.

“And I have been privileged to serve the people of Abbotsford, Burnley, Clifton Hill, Collingwood, Cremorne, Fitzroy, Fitzroy North and Richmond as the member for Richmond.

“I’m proud to be part of this socially progressive, reforming government – but I am focusing on the next 12 months.”

Some of the Andrews government’s biggest ticket policies fall under Mr Wynne’s portfolios, having last year announced the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build and opening the state’s first but controversial safe injecting room in his seat after a spate of heroin-related deaths in North Richmond.

Earlier this week, The Age detailed the power Mr Wynne had amassed under his planning portfolio to override local authorities on significant projects such as the housing build and Suburban Rail Loop.

Mr Wynne was housing, local government and Aboriginal affairs minister in the Bracks and Brumby governments.

The 66-year-old father-of-two took temporary leave in 2014, soon after his appointment to the planning portfolio, after a heart attack.

Premier Daniel Andrews said Mr Wynne had always worked with integrity and decency.

“In his inaugural speech in 1999, Richard described public housing as one of Melbourne’s most valuable social assets – something to be preserved, expanded, replenished,” Mr Andrews said on Thursday.

“I’m sure he would have pinched himself then if you’d have told him that years later, he’d be at the helm of delivering the biggest social housing build Australia has ever seen.

“He also ensured integrity and transparency are central to planning decisions.

“In his own words: ‘investing not just in bricks and mortar, but the lives of Victorians for decades to come’.”

Mr Andrews described Mr Wynne as “a stalwart of the Melbourne community” who had a “quintessentially Labor upbringing” which instilled in him the value of education, the security of housing, and empathy for others.

Mr Wynne thanked Mr Andrews, his family and his wife Svetlana Karovich for their support.

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