Peter Ryan was the leader of the National party in Victoria from 1999–2014.
During his time as an MP, he served as Deputy Premier for four years and Member for Gippsland South for 22 years, overseeing ministerial portfolios including Regional and Rural Development, Police and Emergency Services and Bushfire Response and State Development.
Following the experiences of the Black Saturday Fires in 2009, and the severe floods of 2010–11, Ryan identified the need to develop a consistent and collaborative approach to emergency management in Victoria. He initiated a process of bringing together a range of agencies including the Country Fire Authority, the State Emergency Services, and the Melbourne Fire Brigade to provide an integrated approach to the management of hazardous and emergency events – the first time such an approach had been developed in Australia. The ‘all hazards/all agencies’ approach is now fully embedded in the Victorian system, and provides a much-improved management of events, such as was seen in the response to the Hazelwood Mine fire in 2014. This process led to the development of Emergency Management Victoria.
Ryan also drove the design and introduction of the new public transport Protective Services Officer (PSOs) program enabling the recruitment, training and deployment of 940 PSOs in less than four years. As Minister of Police and Emergency Services, he led the recruitment of 1700 additional sworn police officers – the largest single police recruitment effort in Victoria’s history.