A 27-YEAR-OLD Bendigo doctor will challenge Labor's Lisa Chesters for the seat of Bendigo, on behalf of the Greens.
Dr Robert Holian received the green light from the party's members on Monday.
He has about two months of campaigning ahead, with Australians expected to go to the polls in May.
"I'm aware not all of Bendigo knows me yet," Dr Holian said.
He said he did not want to waste a single day.
It was never part of his plan to pursue politics. But Dr Holian said he was moved to act by the issues he was encountering in both his personal and professional life.
He said consultations with patients made it clear how government policies could influence a person's health and wellbeing.
Dr Holian was equally passionate about acting on climate change, an issue he believes will affect Bendigo to a heightened degree because of the electorate's agricultural industry, its natural attractions and access to resources like water.
"I'm so sick of nothing getting done about it," he said.
He realised he would regret not doing everything in his power to make a change and decided to 'get into the fray'.
This campaign will be his first for a seat in any level of government.
Dr Holian intends to continue practicing at Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative throughout.
He was previously a junior doctor at Bendigo Health and practiced in Melbourne.
If elected, Dr Holian would pursue environmental policies such as transitioning Australia to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
He would also advocate for investment in people's health and wellbeing, highlighting mental health issues among those being keenly felt in the community.
"Geography really does change the type of services you get," Dr Holian said.
Examples included a greater range of options available in metropolitan areas compared with rural and regional areas, and the consequent impact on waiting times.
Dr Holian said recruitment was still an issue in some aspects of regional medical practices.
"It's a real challenge, so we really need to invest in it," he said.
He was keen to learn the community's election priorities.
Dr Holian and his wife moved to Bendigo in late 2016, seeking to practice as GPs in rural and regional communities. He is originally from Melbourne.
Though Dr Holian said he had long been aligned with Greens values, he became a party member in Bendigo.
He is believed to be the first candidate this year to challenge Ms Chesters for the seat, which she has held since 2013.
Both the Liberals and the Nationals are seeking to contest Bendigo.
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