Malcolm Pethybridge

A CAMPAIGNER against higher density living has been selected to fill the City of Greater Bendigo seat that Julie Hoskin held until she resigned after being declared bankrupt by the Federal Court.

Malcolm Pethybridge ran for local government in 2016 in the Whipstick ward, and was the third to be eliminated in that election out of a field of 10 candidates after preferences were distributed.

But on Tuesday, Mr Pethybridge was elected after Ms Hoskin’s preferences were redistributed.

This followed her resignation which she also attributed to a protocol applied to her, limiting her contact with councillors and employees after she admitted secretly taping conversations.

Mr Pethybridge campaigned against the uncapping of the limit on housing on land in East Bendigo which is set to become the first large-scale medium density housing development under the council’s residential strategy.

He submitted comment to an independent panel that later recommended the development should go ahead.

Mr Pethybridge said after his surprise election on Tuesday that the issues he campaigned on in 2016 were still relevant two years later.

“I would like Bendigo to move ahead, I think we badly need more industry because some of the industry I worked in, it has disappeared,” he said.

“It was good during my lifetime but between (my wife) and myself, we have nine grandkids and they are all going to grow up around Bendigo we need more industry.”

He said he would like to apply subsidies to encourage businesses to come to Bendigo.

“I would like the showgrounds to go ahead because I think the showgrounds bring more tourism to Bendigo than nearly anything else,” he said.

“It needs more there if we possibly could but I am just one, and I can just do what I can.”

Mr Pethybridge said he was one voice among nine councillors, but it is likely he will have plenty of opportunity to express his views on residential development given the council has just started its CBD strategy that will include future infill development, as well as a planning scheme review beyond 2018.

He won election after preferences that voted in Ms Hoskin were redistributed.

Ms Hoskin ran on the platform of a change from previous council which had been beset with tension between councillors.

Mr Pethyridge conceded to a similar motivation.

“I threw my hat into the ring because I think some of the councillors weren’t doing their job properly, not doing the right thing for Bendigo,” he said.

“I imagine I will be a little bit lost for a while before I catch up, I will be asking a lot of questions, but I will be out and looking around at things, I will take a lot more interest in some of the things that are around Bendigo so I can make decisions on what is happending, but I like being fair.”