THE Bendigo Sustainability Group (BSG) has joined forces with Bike Bendigo and the Commoners Co-op to give residents a comprehensive rundown of the local candidates' major policies.
The election 'scorecard' comes ahead of Monday's candidates forum at the Bendigo Club which will see the nominees face off against each other in a debate format.
At this stage it is unclear which candidates will be attending - Liberal candidate Darin Schade has not responded to several media requests from the Bendigo Advertiser and was absent from the election ballot draw last week.
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This year, the group typically concerned with the environment, transport and community wellbeing has broadened its coverage by including questions from a range of other organisations representing biodiversity, independent public broadcasting, refugees and aged care.
The clear winner for this election is Greens candidate Cate Sinclair who achieved a score of 'exceptional' on six of the 12 policy issues put forward by the community groups.
BSG president Colin Lambie said the candidates forum was responding to community wishes.
"We want voters to be able to think more deeply about how they vote," he said.
"Our organisations have been organising these forums for the past seven years and interest in them appears to be growing."
Bike Bendigo committee member Chris Corr echoed Mr Lambies sentiments and said the organisation had a clear wish list for the election.
"Bike Bendigo wants to see significant investment in better infrastructure, education and training to assist many more people be able to ride a bike for everyday transport and we want the community to be better informed on the views and directions of our local candidates," he said.
Commoners Co-op member Elsie L'Huillier said this election showed there was a changing sentiment throughout communities.
'The rise of independent candidates whose success has been based on 'listening to the voices' of their constituents' reinforces the need for all candidates to attend local forums and pay attention to what organised community groups are saying on behalf of their members," she said.
"People are tired of the spin churned out through paid political announcements and they are looking for information prepared by local sources that they trust and opportunities to engage directly with local candidates."
Independent James Laurie and One Nation candidate did not respond to the groups questions.
The full questions and candidate responses for the survey and the Scorecard can be found on the Bendigo Sustainability Group website.
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