VETERAN Federal Member for Mallee John Forrest will not contest the coming federal election.
Mr Forrest announced his pending retirement to colleagues and supporters in the National Party tent at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days in Horsham yesterday.
He said that after 20 years in national politics he wanted to make his health his priority.
"Being the Member for Mallee has been one of the greatest privileges of my life," Mr Forrest said. "It's the best job in the world, even when you put up with all the things you do in politics.
"In this part of the world we punch above our weight with our contribution to the gross domestic product."
Nationals leader Warren Truss said Mr Forrest was a visionary who always looked for solutions. He said the Wimmera Mallee pipeline was among Mr Forrest's greatest achievements.
"This is a decision which John is making himself, which is a privilege," Mr Truss said.
"He knows it's the right time for him. John could have stayed for as long as he wanted to."
Deputy Premier and leader of the Nationals in Victoria Peter Ryan and deputy leader of the Nationals in Victoria Peter Walsh congratulated Mr Forrest on his outstanding political career.
"John has been an exceptional Nationals representative for the people of Mallee for 20 years, strongly advocating for a number of significant projects in his electorate," Mr Ryan said.