Strong field for Be­nam­bra

Alpine Observer - - News -

BY TATE SPITERI

WITH the Vic­to­rian state elec­tion just three days away Be­nam­bra can­di­dates have given their fi­nal pitch to their elec­torate.

“As your lo­cal in­de­pen­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive I will fo­cus my en­ergy on the unique chal­lenges that face the com­mu­ni­ties of Be­nam­bra,” the in­de­pen­dent, Jac­qui Hawkins, who is a fifth gen­er­a­tion Be­nam­bra lo­cal, said.

“For too long Be­nam­bra has been ig­nored and our health, ed­u­ca­tion and trans­port ser­vices have suf­fered.

“I will work hard, ad­vo­cat­ing for Be­nam­bra to en­sure we are heard in Vic­to­rian State Par­lia­ment. My vi­sion for Be­nam­bra is of a vi­brant and con­nected com­mu­nity which at­tracts, re­tains and sup­ports our young peo­ple and their fam­i­lies.”

Cur­rent seat holder, Bill Til­ley, said he was proud of his record in Be­nam­bra.

“(We spent) more than $160 mil­lion worth of projects be­yond the nor­mal gov­ern­ment spend be­tween 2010 and 2014,” Mr Til­ley said.

“But in the past four years La­bor has ne­glected our elec­torate and that’s why I’ve got $20 mil­lion in projects in our first bud­get for schools, sport­ing clubs, com­mu­nity halls and tourism.

“I know that peo­ple are hurt­ing in the hip pocket – a Lib­eral Na­tion­als Gov­ern­ment will cut power bills and pro­vide free text books for sec­ondary stu­dents as just some of our cost sav­ing mea­sures.”

Shoot­ers, Fish­ers and Farm­ers party rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Josh Knight, said he was fight­ing for the fu­ture of ru­ral and farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties’ out­door way of life.

“The shoot­ers, fish­ers and farm­ers party rep­re­sents all out­door users in­clud­ing, prospec­tors, campers, 4wd own­ers, shoot­ers and all out­door lovers,” he said.

“We also rep­re­sent the un­der­dogs, in­clud­ing do­mes­tic dog breed­ers and greyhound breed­ers.”

An­other that is fight­ing for the lesser-lights is for­mer Mayor of the In­digo Shire, Jenny O’Con­nor, who is run­ning as an in­de­pen­dent.

“(As Mayor) I fought every day for my com­mu­nity. I stood up for small towns against big com­pa­nies tak­ing their wa­ter; I fought to get fund­ing to up­grade our lo­cal schools and give our kids a bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion,” she said.

Ms O’Con­nor says if elected she will work hard for a re­gional deal for Be­nam­bra that in­cludes fund­ing and in­cen­tives to help winer­ies and small busi­nesses grow, a hub for jobs and train­ing, re­new­able en­ergy jobs and bet­ter sup­port ser­vices for men­tal health, fam­ily vi­o­lence vic­tims and the el­derly.

La­bor can­di­date, Mark Tait, says he knows that his party will de­liver what mat­ters for the Mt Beauty and Alpine area.

“We’ve fixed the am­bu­lance cri­sis and re­duced re­sponse times by around 3 min­utes in Alpine Shire,” he said.

“We’ve started work on the Kiewa Val­ley High­way up­grade to im­prove travel times and safety. We’ve de­liv­ered $200,000 for the Big Hill Moun­tain Bike Park and Kiewa River walk­ing trail to im­prove tourism and amenity.

“Around town, we’ve also backed the skate park. These are the things that will keep our com­mu­ni­ties strong for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

Greens can­di­date John Bard­s­ley said the poli­cies of the Vic­to­rian Greens will pro­vide a bet­ter fu­ture for re­gional Vic­to­ri­ans.

“Whilst the Greens may not form gov­ern­ment (yet), their poli­cies are of­ten adopted by the other par­ties, and their ded­i­ca­tion and abil­ity to in­flu­ence de­bate and out­comes in the par­lia­ment is undis­puted.”

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