POLICE officer and former Macedon Ranges Shire councillor Ian Ellis was following the party campaign script on crime and congestion when he introduced himself today as Liberal’s endorsed candidate for Bendigo East.
Mr Ellis, who was born and schooled in Bendigo, will seek to defeat Labor incumbent Jacinta Allan, who this term has held down the public transport minister portfolio and served as deputy premier.
Ms Allan has about a 5 per cent margin that will need to be reined in by opponents, including Nationals candidate Gaelle Broad, but Mr Ellis said the Liberals regarded the seat as winnable.
“It is a winnable seat, from voters (I have heard they are) dissatisfied with the amount of attention we are getting locally, crime is a big issue statewide, infrastructure is a big issue statewide, public transport is a big issue statewide,” Mr Ellis said.
“I just see her as a member of the (Daniel) Andrews government that we need to remove,” he said, referring to Ms Allan.
Specific to Bendigo, Mr Ellis identified roads as a major point of friction for voters.
“There are a lot of roads that aren’t keeping up with the development that is going on,” he said.
“Out at Epsom, there is the Howard Street intersection which doesn’t really cater for the traffic that is there now and doesn’t cater for the traffic that comes over from Eaglehawk and goes past the Epsom Primary School.”
Mr Ellis lists as a credential time spent advising the City of Greater Bendigo as a community member on a Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy reference group.
He said his 29-year career in the Victorian police force, most recently as a Police Academy instructor based in Melbourne before he and his family returned to Bendigo, had made him tough on crime.
“I am concerned about the way things are going, we have got a lot of youth problems that need to be addressed and the best way to do that is rather than sit back and talk about it, stand up and try and do something about it,” Mr Ellis said.
“One of the things I would like to see and it has been announced by (opposition leader) Matthew Guy is they are going to reintroduce the school’s involvement program.
“To get the respect of youth, they need to be involved at a young age and I hope we are able to be elected and put that in place.”
To get elected, Mr Ellis is self funding his own campaign.
“We get assistance from Melbourne, at this moment I don’t know how much, we will wait and see,” he said.
He said he would campaign with Coalition colleague Ms Broad.
“I intend to contact Gaelle now I have been pre-selected,” Mr Ellis said.
He also intends to talk to the Carter family whose land at Marong is the support of a compulsory acquisition application by the council.
Ms Gaelle is planning to take up the cause potentially making it a key state election issue.