Northern Victoria candidates come forward

MARCHING ON: Australian Cyclists Party candidate for Northern Victoria Mark Horner, of Woodend.
MARCHING ON: Australian Cyclists Party candidate for Northern Victoria Mark Horner, of Woodend.

VOTERS in Bendigo will have a number of new parties to choose from when they fill out their upper house ballot on November 29.

At the close of business on Thursday, 37 candidates had been nominated for Northern Victoria region - an increase from the 25 in the 2010 election.

The 16 parties are among a record number enrolled in Victorian electoral history, riding on the back of the success of Victorian minor parties in last year's Federal Election.

Among them are some new parties registered in the last few months, including the Australian Cyclists Party, the Animal Justice Party and the People Power Victoria - No Smart Meters Party.

The Australian Cyclists Party announced two candidates for Northern Victoria region on Thursday, including Mark Horner, of Woodend.

The party, which was formed just a few months ago, plans to make cycling a focus in Victoria's regional cities including Bendigo.

Mr Horner said while Bendigo's quiet streets circling the CBD provided strong cycling opportunities, the city could still do more to encourage cycling.

"Bendigo is obviously growing quite quickly, and you're seeing new estates established. Unfortunately a lot of these are not designed in the most cyclist-friendly ways," he said.

"Bike tracks are built almost as a gesture only. They are designed by urban planners who often aren't great at looking at examples from other countries."

The party will push to "enhance" Victoria's rail trail networks and funding to help bike shops offer more bikes for hire.

Mr Horner said the party was not "anti-car" but wanted to shift the balance back towards a middle ground between all transport forms.

Registered just four months ago, the People Power Victoria - No Smart Meters party stridently opposes the mandatory installation of Smart Meters in Victorian homes.

Candidate for Northern Victoria region Liz Crooks, from near Kinglake, said the meters could be responsible for health concerns ranging from headaches and migraines to the onset of chronic conditions.

"There's one place in Australia where they won't be installed - Canberra. It's because the politicians know," she said.

"Someone in Singapore could switch off your washing machine just by flicking a switch."

The retiree plans to take her self-funded message to Mildura in the next two weeks, and visited Castlemaine last week.

The parties in the upper house region of Northern Victoria have their eyes on the fifth seat, currently held by Liberal Party MLC Amanda Millar.


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