Election starting to heat up
THE battle for the state seat of Ovens Valley has begun in earnest, with early voting centres in Bright, Wangaratta, and Yarrawonga being well patronised since opening on Monday morning.
Voters are faced with a choice of six candidates: Nationals incumbent Tim McCurdy, Labor’s Kate Doyle, Australian Country Party’s Julian Fidge, Green’s Vicki Berry, and independents Tammy Atkins and Ray Dyer.
Mr Dyer, who won just under three per cent of the primary vote as an independent in 2014, gained top billing on the ballot paper (see right) at Friday’s draw in Wangaratta.
“Who knows, it may help my vote,” said the father of four and former council worker from Ovens, who was joined by Mr McCurdy, Ms Atkins and Mr Fidge at the ballot draw.
All four candidates had the night before, engaged with around 60 members of the public during a candidates’ forum at the Wangaratta CWA hall, organised by the Victorian Farmers Federation Wangaratta branch.
Everything from privatisation of public assets, council rates, a ‘broken justice system’, climate change policies, feral animals, the Yarrawonga bridge, catchment management concerns, recognition of the Bpangerang people, and candidates’ credibility, were quizzed by audience members.
Candidates were busy on the hustings over the weekend, engaging with the public at Wangaratta Farmers Market and Nature Day in Apex Park, Remembrance Day services, as well as the Bright Hot Rod and Yarrawonga Hot Rod events.
Nationals party leader Peter Walsh joined Mr McCurdy in Wangaratta on Saturday morning, attending the Wangaratta Basketball Association’s annual tournament, involving more than 1000 athletes.
Mr McCurdy and Mr Walsh reconfirmed their election commitment of $5 million to complete Stage 4 of the Wangaratta High School’s masterplan to build a new stadium, including double basketball courts, for use by the school and the community.
SEEKINg YOUR VOTE: candidates (from left) Ray Dyer, Tammy Atkins, Tim Mccurdy and Julian Fidge were at the ballot draw at the Wangaratta early voting centre on Friday. Absent were Kate Doyle and Vicki Berry.