The desire to make a difference socially and environmentally for the people of Bendigo has inspired local GP Robert Holian to challenge for the federal seat of Bendigo.
With the election looming, Mr Holian discussed the enormity of the Bendigo electorate and its diversity as being one of the challenges of his campaign.
“Making the effort and listening to the smaller communities is important,” Mr Holian said as he was preparing to embark on a door knock in Woodend.
The Greens’ support in Bendigo peaked in the 2010 federal election when Kymberlie Dimozantos received more than 12 per cent of the primary vote.
Mr Holian is keen to build on that momentum and believes Bendigo is positioned to take advantage of the clean energy revolution.
“We have lots of sunshine and wind in the southern parts of this electorate, so there is a lot of interest for wind farms,” Mr Holian said.
“That is a great thing for our local economy and at some stage we will need to get out of fossil fuels,” he said.
The Greens’ climate policy is the most ambitious of any party, with a commitment to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
By contrast, the Labor Party is aiming for 50 per cent of the nation’s energy to be renewable by 2030.
Living in Long Gully with his wife, Mr Holian is advocating for free TAFE and undergraduate university in order to upskill future workforces.
“We need a workforce that is more highly educated and able to adapt to a changing economy and work environment,” he said.
“We are lucky to have La Trobe University and Bendigo TAFE in Bendigo. We are well serviced, but there is a cost barrier for a lot of people,” Mr Holian said.
He believes his experience as a doctor holds him in good stead for politics, with decision making a key attribute.
“There is a lack of compassion and being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes from those in Canberra. I have to do that every day in the clinic and hope that’s something that shines through,” Mr Holian said.
The federal election takes place on May 18, with incumbent Labor Party member Lisa Chesters set to be challenged by the Liberal Party’s Sam Gayed, Mr Holian and independents.