NEW Liberal candidate Darin Shade says a safe Labor member says more support for small businesses will be vital to Bendigo as it rebuilds from the pandemic.
The Bendigo-born candidate says the for lease signs on many commercial properties were very different from his childhood memories.
"[The signs] were there well before the pandemic too," he said in some of the first public comments in his campaign to win back the seat for the Liberal party.
Mr Schade nominated tourism and a lower unemployment rate as priorities.
"And we need to support the people of the Bendigo electorate because a safe Labor member has provided too little to the region for too long," he said.
Mr Schade has spent much of his career in Melbourne, where he has run for state political office and been president of the Toorak Liberal party branch.
He wants to help Bendigo make the most of a huge shift in Melbourne residents' thinking about life in regional areas.
More people are realising their life does not have to revolve around Melbourne and they are looking for alternatives, Mr Schade said.
"It is my goal to help Bendigo make the most of this huge opportunity," he said.
Mr Schade's Bendigo family links go back to the Gold Rush.
His father was an apprentice at the old Ordinance Factory before building up a transport business. His mother moved from Castlemaine and worked as a teacher.
"Small business and education. Hard work and creating opportunity. These are the values I saw growing up and the values that brought me to the Liberal Party," he said.
THE LIBERAL Party has selected banking specialist Darin Schade for the federal seat of Bendigo.
Mr Schade is based in Melbourne but was born and raised in Bendigo.
He previously campaigned for the inner-city district of Melbourne during the 2018 state election.
He came third behind the Greens' Ellen Sandell and Labor's Jennifer Kanis. The Greens won the deeply progressive lower house seat.
Mr Schade has built his career in banking and finance, according to his LinkedIn profile.
"With technology having a greater impact on this area than ever before, it is an exciting time to be working in this field," he wrote in the LinkedIn profile.
He has worked with a range of financial institutions including the NAB and the Bendigo Bank and served as the president of the Liberals' Toorak branch.
Mr Schade founded Littlest Leaf in 2018 to provide environmental sustainability education experiences to people in the early learning and primary school sector.
It has a footprint in both Melbourne and Bendigo, he said on LinkedIn.
Mr Shade frequently comments on political issues on Twitter, where he introduces himself with the bio "clowns to the left of me, jokers to to the right ... Worried whether we will be the first generation in ages to leave a worse home for the next one".
He will face off against a growing field of political candidates.
They include Labor incumbent Lisa Chesters, who is campaigning in her fourth election for Bendigo.
Prime minister Scott Morrison is yet to confirm an election date.
It is widely expected to take place no later than May 21.
That leaves Mr Schade with one of the shortest campaigning periods of any Bendigo Liberal candidate in the past decade.
He might have as little as a month and a half to campaign, depending on the weekend the election is held.
That contrasts sharply with 2013, when then-candidate Greg Bickley had a year.
Liberal state director Sam McQuestin recently said people should not read anything into a tighter campaigning period.
"I have worked successful campaigns where people have been in the field for six weeks and unsuccessful ones where people have been there for two years," he said.
Mr McQuestin said the length of a campaign came down to many factors, including what would work for a candidate and their political party.
"There's no one-size fits all approach," he said.
More to come.
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