Darren Chester was elected to Federal Parliament as the Member for Gippsland on June 26, 2008, in a by-election following the retirement of the Hon Peter McGauran.
Born and educated in Sale, Darren lives in Lakes Entrance with his wife Julie and their four children.
Darren was first elected to Federal Parliament on June 26, 2008. He was re-elected in 2010 and served as the Opposition’s Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Roads and Regional Transport as well as being an active member of various Parliamentary Committees during that first term.
Darren served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence under the Abbott Government and then Assistant Minister for Defence under the Turnbull Government. In February 2016, Darren was appointed to Cabinet as the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Following a Cabinet reshuffle, he served three months on the backbench from December 2017 to February 2018. Darren served as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac on March 5, 2018 and served until June 2021.
Prior to entering Federal Parliament, Darren worked as a newspaper and television journalist throughout Gippsland and then became Chief of Staff to the Leader of The Nationals in Victoria, Peter Ryan.
Darren is a former Chief Executive Officer of regional lobby group Champions of the Bush and served two terms as President of the Lakes Entrance Business Tourism Association (LEBTA), where he was heavily involved in tourism marketing and organising major events. He has led various community campaigns and has been actively involved in projects to improve the environment of the world-renowned Gippsland Lakes.
Darren is a keen sportsman who enjoys boating, camping and running marathons. He also assists as a volunteer with his children’s junior sporting interests, including the Lakes Entrance Surf Lifesaving Club and Lakes Entrance Football Netball Club.