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Friday, 23 October 2015 15:20

Roads and education under spotlight in election race

The poor state of our region's roads and our below par education outcomes are shaping up to be the hot issues in the forthcoming South West Coast and Polwarth by-elections.

The region's peak advocacy body has challenged candidates for by-elections to declare where they each stand on identified regional priorities.

The Great South Coast Group has contacted all candidates, asking them to rank its regional priorities.

Chair Cr Colin Ryan said roads and education attainment were singled out as the key areas of focus for most candidates.

Current Great South Coast Group's priorities include:

  • The 12 Apostles Trail (nature-based tourism)
  • Beyond the Bell education attainment
  • Regional roads
  • Improved passenger rail – 5 daily services between Geelong and Warrnambool
  • A new regional library service
  • South West Healthcare redevelopment Stage II
  • Regional placemaking
  • Great South Coast Food and Fibre Action Plan.

"Our Board has challenged all by-election candidates to tell us where they stand on each of these issues, and to single out the projects or issues they would focus on if they were elected," Cr Ryan said.

"Their responses will help us to make voting decisions based upon who we think will do the best job for our region."

Cr Ryan said the region had collectively identified and agreed upon its current priorities.

Some of the projects had been identified by local government, whilst others had been fed up to the Great South Coast Board via its four Pillars, membership of which is drawn from government, community and industry across the region.

The Great South Coast Group Board is comprised of the Mayors and CEOs of all six Great South Coast Councils, along with four non-municipal Directors.

"Each year, we go through an intensive decision-making process during which we agree upon the things that are going to be most important to us for that year," Cr Ryan said.

"As a region, we then advocate for those issues and projects to State and Federal Governments."

Cr Ryan said the responses from by-election candidates would be distributed to Great South Coast stakeholders via an electronic database and would also be published on social media.

"Our aim was to get a sense of where the individual candidates stood in relation to our regional priorities.

"We will look forward to working with the successful candidates in both South West Coast and Polwarth."

The top issues as identified by candidates were:

  • Regional roads (four candidates nominated this as their top priority)
  • Beyond the Bell educational attainment (four candidates)
  • Passenger rail improvements (one candidate)
  • South West Healthcare Stage II (one candidate)
  • Food and Fibre Action Plan (one candidate)

Media information:

Please refer to a summary of candidate responses in the accompanying table. Full responses can be supplied upon request – please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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