Lowan election: Katrina Rainsford runs as an Independent

SOUTHERN Grampians Shire councillor Katrina Rainsford will run as an Independent candidate in the contest for Lowan.

It will be her third political campaign in 10 years, and the second time she has contested the seat.

In 2010, Dr Rainsford ran as an Independent against Member for Wannon Dan Tehan.

She secured about five per cent of the vote, competing with nine other candidates for the seat, four of whom were also Independents.

Four years earlier, Dr Rainsford was the Liberal candidate for Lowan.

She came a close third, with 22.36 per cent of the vote to Labor candidate Paul Battista’s 22.37 per cent.

Now that the man who held the seat, The Nationals’ Hugh Delahunty, is retiring, she has decided to try again.

“I thought I had finished my political run – I had a couple of goes and had moved on,” she said.

“But as of a week ago, people started calling me, saying we need someone like you and would you consider standing.

“So I thought about it and spent the week talking to people, and yes, we’ll make it a competition and try to secure the best future for Lowan, which has been my home area since I was three.”

A former Liberal Party member of 13 years, Dr Rainsford said she was still sympathetic to the party.

But her support for another term of Coalition government will be conditional.

“They have to start listening to the grassroots people and looking after the far west, where we don’t have the population but need the infrastructure, innovation and investment,” she said.

“We need some game changers, particularly on rail, roads and foreign investment.”

“They have to start listening to the grassroots people and looking after the far west, where we don’t have the population but need the infrastructure, innovation and investment.” - Southern Grampians Shire councillor and Independent candidate Katrina Rainsford

A Victorian Coalition agreement preventing the Liberal Party from contesting the seat of Lowan did not sit well with her.

“I think it’s a shame the Liberals haven’t had an opportunity to field a candidate for the seat,” she said.

“The local member is retiring, so it’s unusual that they haven’t been able to. I just want there to be strong competition.”

Dr Rainsford terminated her membership with the Liberal Party about the same time as her unsuccessful bid for Wannon, disillusioned by two of the party’s decisions leading up to the election.

“One because they wouldn’t listen to locals and grassroots Liberals who knew the managed investment scheme was a bad policy,” she said.

“And also because we had nine candidates for Wannon and the only one of them who came from outside the electorate was the one chosen – Liberals candidate Dan Tehan.

“In rural and regional electorates I think there should be some respect for fielding candidates with a strong affinity for the electorate.

“But if I win Lowan, I will work and have worked very effectively with the Member for Wannon.”

Dr Rainsford has been a councillor for 13 years, in two municipalities: three years at West Wimmera Shire Council then at Southern Grampians Shire Council.

She has also worked as a veterinarian for more than 30 years, throughout western Victoria and South Australia. 

A married mother of four, her family works a sheep and cattle farm near Cavendish.

“I can hit the ground running,” she said.

Dr Rainsford stands against newly preselected Nationals candidate Emma Kealy of Edenhope and Labor candidate Bob Scates of Murtoa.

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