Strong field for Benambra
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.”