Triple treat with Q&A from Eil­don can­di­dates

Mansfield Courier - - News - By PAM ZIERK-MA­HONEY

RES­I­DENTS who at­tended last Thurs­day night’s open fo­rum with Eil­don Elec­torate can­di­dates cer­tainly had their ques­tions an­swered.

An apol­ogy was re­ceived from La­bor can­di­date Sally Bren­nan who was ill, but the re­main­ing three - Ken Dea­con, Michelle Dun­scombe and Cindy McLeish - all gave ex­cel­lent an­swers to the many ques­tions thrown at them.

Among the top­ics asked were cli­mate change, schools fund­ing, roads and waste man­age­ment, men­tal health ser­vices (in par­tic­u­lar youth men­tal health), CFA and emer­gency ser­vices fa­cil­i­ties, hom­ing for refugees, fu­ture drought mea­sures, pest con­trol in­clud­ing black­berry and wild dogs, and for­est man­age­ment.

Ms Dun­scombe out­lined her ex­pe­ri­ences as a com­mu­nity worker and hav­ing em­pa­thy for those who have lived in cri­sis.

She ex­plained how she has surYLYHG VHYHUDO PDMRU EXVK¿UHV LQ FOXGLQJ WKH %ODFN 6DWXUGD\ ¿UHV RI Kinglake where she lost her home and all her pos­ses­sions but has lived to re­gain a home, and along with her fam­ily of two chil­dren, are very much in­volved in their com­mu­nity DQG KHU VXPPHUV LQ 0DQV¿HOG

Cindy McLeish gave an ex­ten­sive out­line of where she stands in pol­i­tics, and said al­though at present she is in op­po­si­tion to the govern­ment, has in the past been in the rul­ing govern­ment when a mem­ber at Sey­mour.

She also told the au­di­ence of about 50 how she had grown up in Yea on a farm and her par­ents ran the farm as well as the Pep­per­corn Ho­tel in Yea it­self, giv­ing her great knowl­edge of both small busi­ness and farming.

She made prom­ises to con­tinue to work for this com­mu­nity and con­tinue to im­prove sporting, ed­u­ca­tion and health ser­vices.

Ken Dea­con, al­though new to pol­i­tics as such, ex­pressed his in­ter­ests in cli­mate change, for­est man­age­ment (in par­tic­u­lar stop­ping clear felling of large com­po­nents of bush­lands), look­ing af­ter farming in­ter­ests and sup­port­ing com­mu­ni­ties within the elec­torate with fund­ing for ed­u­ca­tion, sports and tourism.

He ex­plained that he has been a farmer and tourist op­er­a­tor in the Ru­bi­con Val­ley for more than 40 years and is very much in­volved in com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties and tourism.

On one point, Tom Thoburne of WKH 0DQV¿HOG 6(6 DVNHG IRU FDQ di­dates’ sup­port in the govern­ment buy­ing the old sa­le­yards site and leav­ing the SES build­ing where it is now, and look­ing to the fu­ture of cre­at­ing an ‘emer­gency ser­vices hub’ on that site.

*URXS R൶FHU 0DQV¿HOG )LUH Bri­gades Group, Fred For­rest, also spoke on this topic agree­ing that it is crit­i­cal that emer­gency ser­vices were fully sup­ported.

He pointed out that cur­rently the num­ber of CFA vol­un­teers was at its low­est in the his­tory of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

All three can­di­dates were in agreeance and which­ever one wins the elec­tion promised to ‘bang heads to­gether’ in Mel­bourne to see if ne­go­ti­a­tions could be held with 0DQV¿HOG 6KLUH RQ WKLV LVVXH

At the con­clu­sion of the ques­tion time Mary Anne Egan asked all can­di­dates if they had re­ceived a VFBV let­ter ask­ing for them to pledge furWKHU VXSSRUW IRU ¿UH¿JKWHUV DJDLQVW the pre­sump­tive leg­is­la­tion – a pro­posed leg­is­la­tion in re­la­tion to FDQFHU DPRQJ ¿UH¿JKWHUV ZKHWKHU SHUPDQHQW VWD൵ RU YROXQWHHUV

Ms Dun­scombe and Ms McLeish both said they had re­ceived the let­ter, had signed their pledge and were in full sup­port of the VFBV’s ¿JKW DJDLQVW WKH OHJLVODWLR­Q

Mr Dea­con said al­though he had not re­ceived the emailed let­ter, he would be happy to sign it fol­low­ing the meet­ing.

Ms Bren­nan was to be emailed and asked if she had in fact re­ceived the let­ter and would pledge her sup­port also.

QUES­TION TIME: At last Thurs­day’s open fo­rum for Eil­don can­di­dates were (from left) Paul Sladdin (mod­er­a­tor), Michelle Dun­scombe (In­de­pen­dent), Ken Dea­con (Greens) and Cindy McLeish (Lib­eral – In­cum­bent).

CHAT: In­de­pen­dent can­di­date Michelle Dun­scombe chats with lo­cal res­i­dent Don Law­son fol­low­ing the open fo­rum last Thurs­day night.

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