Health Minister Martin Foley among high-profile Victorian Labor ministers to retire before November election

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is set to lose decades of experience from his frontbench, with the mass resignation of four of his most senior government ministers just months from the November election.

Health Minister Martin Foley, Deputy Premier James Merlino, Sport Minister Martin Pakula and Police Minister Lisa Neville are expected to stand down from their portfolios as early as Friday.

They are set to join Planning and Housing Minister Richard Wynne, who announced last year he would not recontest his seat at the next election, with some in Labor also expecting him to stand down from his portfolio tomorrow.

It gives the Premier the opportunity to refresh his frontbench ahead of the November polls.

Minister Lisa Neville speaks at an outdoor press conference.
Lisa Neville was first elected in 2002.(ABC News: Peter Healy)

The ministers will remain in parliament until the November election, but a cabinet reshuffle is expected in the coming days, with Speaker Colin Brooks, Sonya Kilkenny and Lizzie Blandthorn already put forward as possible replacements.

The group joins the long list of ministers who have left the ministry since the last election, including Jill Hennessy, Jenny Mikakos, Gavin Jennings, Adem Somyurek, Marlene Kairouz, Luke Donnellan and Robin Scott.

As Health Minister, Mr Foley oversaw some of the biggest decisions regarding Victoria’s COVID-19 pandemic response, and was a frequent fixture at the daily press conference updates.

His expected retirement comes as Victoria’s healthcare system remains under severe strain, with critical staff shortages, ambulance ramping and triple-0 call delays plaguing the state’s hospitals.

Once touted as a future leader, James Merlino stood in as Acting Premier last year while Premier Daniel Andrews recovered from a serious back injury.

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