FORMER Bendigo councillor Helen Leach intends to challenge Jacinta Allan for the seat of Bendigo East at next month’s state election.
The Democratic Labour Party has announced Ms Leach among its candidates.
“By standing for the seat of Bendigo East I hope to offer the people of Bendigo a genuine choice from a genuine Labour Party,” the Flora Hill resident said.
She said the DLP’s policies and principles aligned with her own.
“Their life policies care for all people from conception to natural death; their energy policy is focused on supplying cheap, reliable and continuous power. We oppose subsidies for renewable energy projects. Like all industries, they need to pay their own way,” Ms Leach said.
She believed the party’s energy policies would resonate with voters in Bendigo East.
Education reforms also ranked highly among Ms Leach’s interests.
‘As a candidate for Labour DLP, Helen will oppose the government’s social engineering agenda such as the controversial Safe Schools gender fluid programs in schools,’ a statement released by the DLP said.
Ms Leach said the party also needed to ‘stop the lock out of the public from our forests’.
“The ALP’s ‘review’ of national forests in Victoria is a thinly disguised plan to lock out everyone. I will oppose this and support the rights of ordinary Victorians to have access to all these areas,” she said.
“Locally, we need to see a significant improvement in our rail system, including duplication of the lines where necessary.”
DLP Victoria state secretary Stephen Campbell said the party received a number of preselection applications for Bendigo East.
He said the commitment Ms Leach had demonstrated to families and the community through her representation in local government recommended her as a candidate.
The former Eppalock Ward councillor represented City of Greater Bendigo residents from 2012 – 2016.
Her campaign for re-election during the 2016 local government election was unsuccessful, garnering 8.64 per cent of the first preference votes.
Each of the ward’s three successful candidates – Yvonne Wrigglesworth, George Flack and Margaret O’Rourke – had first preference percentages over 14 per cent.
This won’t be Ms Leach’s first state election, having been among the Family First candidates vying to represent the Northern Victoria Region in 2006.
Seventy first preference votes were allocated to Ms Leach.
“Helen has been a supporter of the DLP, its policies and principles for some years and has recently taken up the opportunity to join and support those principles and policies as a candidate,” Mr Campbell said.
Mr Campbell said DLP’s final preferences for the upcoming election had yet to be determined.
“But the party has decided we cannot ally our preferences in any way that might support the return of the Andrews government,” he said.
Victorians go to the polls on November 24.
The ALP has held the seat of Bendigo East since 1999, when Ms Allan was elected.
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