LABOR candidates in Bendigo East and Bendigo West received significant swings in last weekend’s state election which saw the party swept back to power in a landslide.
While counting is still underway, late yesterday Bendigo East MP Jacinta Allan had received 62 per cent of votes in Bendigo East on a two-party preferred basis, while Maree Edwards had received approximately 69 per cent in Bendigo West.
Ms Allan increased her vote by 6.86 per cent, and Ms Edwards’ vote soared by 6.45 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.
In Daniel Andrews’ newly announced second cabinet, Ms Allan’s position has changed from the portfolio of Public Transport to Transport Infrastructure, becoming responsible for the government’s Level Crossing Removal Program, as well as the North East Link, West Gate Tunnel,
Metro Tunnel and Suburban Rail Loop projects. She retains the position of Leader of the House.
Ms Edwards said she was humbled to be elected for a third term, now with a margin of 19 per cent.
“We campaigned on an agenda for the future, not just for an election campaign, and I think the electorate responded to that,” she said.
“It was not a campaign of fear and division.”
During the campaign Labor promised $152.4 million for new law courts at the former site of Bendigo TAFE in the CBD, and $60 million for a new Bendigo Hospital day rehabilitation centre at the site of the old Bendigo Hospital.
Works on the new court, which Ms Edwards marked as a top priority, are due to start next year.
Upgrades to Epsom, White Hills and East Loddon schools, a station upgrade for Junortoun CFA, and $2 million towards improvements to Harry Trott Oval were also pledged.
In Bendigo West, new synthetic courts were promised for the Kangaroo Flat Bowls Club, and funding for a solar farm in Newstead.
For her third term in office, Ms Edwards said she would focus on a master plan for Maiden Gully Primary School, as well as looking at works for Marong and Winters Flat primary schools.
In Bendigo East, The Nationals’ candidate Gaelle Broad increased the party’s first preference vote share in the electorate, to capture almost 17 per cent of the primary vote, compared to just six per cent when the party last ran a candidate in 2010.
While proud of the result and increase, Ms Broad said Labor had put a significant amount of money behind its Bendigo campaign.
She didn’t rule out further tilts at local or federal elections.
“People who know me know that I don’t stand around for too long.”
The Liberals’ Ian Ellis in Bendigo East received just 38 per cent of the vote on a two-party preferred basis, while Kevin Finn in Bendigo West received 31 per cent.
The Greens saw marginal improvements on their result from last election, with Nakita Thomson in Bendigo East taking eight per cent of first preference votes, up from seven per cent in 2014, and 12.5 per cent for Laurie Whelan in Bendigo West, increasing from 11.75 per cent.
Across the state as of yesterday, Labor had won 53 seats in the Legislative Assembly to the Coalition’s 24, with one seat to the Greens, two to independents, and eight still in doubt.