Jaclyn Symes was born in Benalla in North East Victoria. She attended Benalla College where she completed her VCE. She moved to Melbourne in 1997 to undertake a Bachelor of Laws from Deakin University and was admitted to practice as an Australian lawyer in 2006.
Jaclyn has a passion for social justice and hard work which she attributes to her parents. This led her to her to working with people with disabilities as a carer at Alkira Residential Services. Her time at Alkira made her acutely aware of the struggles, that those with a disability experience on a daily basis and the importance of Government putting in place the right policy settings to address their challenges.
Following her time at Alkira Jaclyn was drawn to the union movement and took up a role with the Australian Services Union as an Industrial Officer. It was a natural step for her to further her legal training and aligned with her values of ensuring a fair go, equity and justice.
Jaclyn realised that to make a real difference she would need to influence policy, this led her to a role as an Adviser to the former Bracks/Brumby Labor Government working for the then Deputy Premier & Attorney General Rob Hulls.
After the change in Government in 2010 Jaclyn became Senior Legal and Justice Adviser to the Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Andrews. At the November 2014 election Jaclyn was elected to Parliament as a Member for Northern Victoria. Following her re-election at the 2018 Victorian State Election, Jaclyn was appointed as Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Resources and Deputy Leader of the Legislative Council.
She became Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council in 2019, the Attorney-General in December 2020 and most recently the Minister for Emergency Services in August 2021.
Jaclyn lives with her husband Gerard their 2 children and dog in Broadford.