A BORN and bred Bendigo man says he is throwing his hat into the ring at the upcoming local government election because he wants to be a “strong voice for the community”.
Matt Emond said he was making a bid to represent Lockwood ward on the City of Greater Bendigo council because he loved Bendigo, having grown up in Spring Gully, and he wanted to be able to listen to and respond to the community’s needs.
But he does have some particular issues he wants to prioritise if he is elected come October, boosting funding to the “vital community service” that is the SES being one of them.
“We don’t invest a lot of money in them, we could do a lot better,” Mr Emond said.
He said he would also like to focus on attracting more industry to the area to create more jobs, and guarantee local people were first in line for local job and contract opportunities.
Mr Emond said some community groups had been outpriced of using facilities that had been built up by the community, so he wanted to ensure the fair and sustainable use of cultural and sporting facilities.
He said he was also not happy about disharmony within the current council, and wanted to see that energy put towards moving Bendigo forward.
“Bendigo deserves better,” he said.
Mr Emond is a member of the Australian Labor Party, but is running for council as an independent.
He said that if he were to be elected, he wanted to ensure the decisions he made were in the best interests of the community.
“I don’t want to be bound by a political allegiance, I want to be an independent voice,” Mr Emond said.
While he will not be renouncing his party membership, Mr Emond has assured that he will be his “own person” and his political ties will not interfere with decision-making.
He said he would bring with him an array of experience if elected, with extensive experience in the creative industry, including as a government adviser.
He has also worked in health and in education, from primary school through to tertiary education.
Mr Emond currently sits on the Golden Dragon Museum Board, the Victorian Actors Benevolent Trust, and Catholic Education Sandhurst Council for the Arts, is a member of the City of Greater Bendigo Brass band, and is working on some productions.
While he has only just announced his candidacy, it is not the first time Mr Emond has considered a tilt at council.
“I was going to run last time but ruptured my Achilles tendon, so I was literally out of the race,” he said.