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Serving and aspiring councillors took the opportunity to make their pitch to Bendigo’s ratepayers as council election ballots were drawn yesterday afternoon, outlining their visions for a more prosperous city.

First-timer Samuel Tshisekedi, who secured fourth spot on the Lockwood ward ballot, said he wanted to be part of a council that listened to its constituents, with his priorities including public transport and employment.

“Now and then you get a situation where people have been into something for so long that those who are governing start to think they actually simply know better than the community,” he said.

“What can we do to make sure that Bendigo is to become the most livable regional city in Victoria, and why not across the country, so the more we economically work on that the better we’ll all be.”

Former councillor Wayne Gregson, who picked up number three spot in the Whipstick ward behind young gun Thomas Prince, said a vote for him would be a vote for “good governance and good administration”.

“I have a track record of being logical, being committed to the community, and being committed to making Bendigo greater, and that commitment goes back at least four decades in this city,” he said.

“I think we have yet to tackle some of the really big picture traffic issues in this city and we have to work hard to maintain the gains that we’ve had in arts and culture in the last decade.”

Lockwood ward councillor Elise Chapman was in lockstep with a number of her fellow incumbents in citing “unfinished business” as reason to return to the town hall.

“There’s a number of different issues I’d like to address, I’d like to see a united council this time,” she said.

“When I stood last time I wanted to deal with the long-term permanent waste issue, the rubbish issue that Bendigo’s facing long-term, and I still want to do that, we’ve made some inroads but there’s a long way to go.”

Another newcomer, Jennifer Alden, said if elected she would be “a progressive and fresh voice for the community”, citing health, responding to climate change and diversity as priorities.

“I think it’s a critically important time for council and for our community to be able to avail itself of some really good opportunities for our community to be healthier in the future,” she said.

How to vote

Residents enroled to vote in the City of Greater Bendigo council elections by August 26 this year will receive a ballot pack in the days following October 4.

Voters must choose candidates in their ward in order of preference, numbering all the boxes, and post the ballot paper to returning officer John Bain by 6pm on October 21 to be counted on election day on October 22.

Voters can also chose to hand-deliver their ballots to the council offices at 195-229 Lyttleton Terrace between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday up until October 21.

Voting is compulsory for anyone enroled with the Victorian Electoral Commission and residents may be fined if they fail to meet the deadline.

People aged 70 and over or who live outside the municipality are encouraged to vote, but will not be fined if they chose not to.

For more information or to check your enrolment status or nominate an alternative mailing address for ballot packs visit www.vec.vic.gov.au/BendigoElection

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