Embattled Melton MP Don Nardella will retire from politics at the next state election.
Speaking with Star Weekly on Tuesday, Mr Nardella said the recent backlash over claims he made for a second residence allowance had taken a significant toll on his emotional wellbeing and influenced his decision to call it quits.
“I think it’s probably time that Melton had somebody new,” he said. “But the difficult time that I’ve had has influenced that decision.
“Every term you think about these things, but these circumstances [brought] this up as a catalyst.”
The long-time parliamentarian has come under fire this week for claiming $113,000 in second residence allowance for about three years while living in Ocean Grove. The allowance was designed for regional MPs who required a second residence while attending Parliament.
Mr Nardella quit his deputy speaker role at the weekend, hours after Tarneit MP and speaker Telmo Languiller apologised for also claiming $40,000 in second residence allowance. Mr Languiller promised to pay back the money and announced he’ll be moving to the backbench.
Mr Nardella says he won’t be apologising or paying back the money because either implies he had done something illegal, rorted the system or lied to the public about his claims.
Mr Nardella has represented the seat of Melton since 1999. He says he’s very proud of his achievements for the “good people of Melton”.
When asked what his proudest achievements of his political career had so far been, Mr Nardella said: “Virtually every street, every major street, every community centre, community health centre, youth centre, the roundabout at the front of my office, the Western BACE.
“There’s been a number of [changes to my] electoral boundaries, [but] I’ve been trying to do my best to look after the good people of Melton.”
MORE TO COME.