Ousted Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman believes the “tsunami” of support for Labor off the back of the coronavirus pandemic led to his “deeply disappointing” loss at the State Election. The stalwart of regional WA politics lost his seat after 16 years in what he called the “McGowan tsunami” during this year’s State election, with Labor’s Jane Kelsbie officially set to take his place. While gutted, he said his time in Parliament — including more than eight years as a minister for several portfolios including agriculture and regional development — had been a “massive privilege”. He said given the pandemic, the election almost had a “wartime footing”, with the primary importance being protection from COVID, leading to Labor’s popularity. A uniform rise in Labor votes throughout the electorate, coupled with him missing out on much-needed preferences due to Liberal votes taking a hit resulted in a “sufficient swing” to take his seat, he said. He does not believe his support for the Southern Forest Irrigation Scheme — which has sparked protests and been the source of much contention in the Manjimup-Pemberton region — was a causal factor. “There may well have been some protest votes,” Mr Redman said. “But I don’t see it as a significant factor, it might have been on the fringes.” Mr Redman said there were many “acute issues” he had hoped to shine a light on — including horticultural labour shortages and affordable accommodation for workers — during his election campaign, but they were “overshadowed by COVID.” “There were a lot of issues which were very difficult to get front and centre due to the COVID veil,” Mr Redman said. With The Nationals looking set to become the Opposition for the first time in the party’s more than 100-year history, the loss was particularly tough for the former party leader. “I would’ve loved to have been a part of the team going forward,” he said. “It would’ve been a great challenge.” But Mr Redman he said he had “no regrets” from his political career and was proud to have been a member during the “heyday” of Royalties for Regions. “We made a lot of investment and that has come to fruition,” he said. Mr Redman said improvements to regional infrastructure including roads, health services and townscaping were proving their value as more people opted to live regionally. The Augusta marina, Manjimup town centre and Margaret River main street upgrades, construction of independent living units in Pemberton and Walpole, as well as pensioner fuel cards were among projects he was proud of. He said he was also proud of his work in remote Aboriginal communities.