A FIFTH person will contest the seat of Mallee at the upcoming federal election.
Mildura Rural City councillor Jason Modica announced his run as an Independent candidate on Saturday. The announcement comes after The Nationals selected Dr Anne Wesbter as its nominee last month.
Cr Modica follows in the footsteps of former Yarriambiack Mayor Ray Kingston, who announced in December he would contest as an Independent for the seat.
Citizens Electoral Council’s Chris Lahy and the Science Party’s Leigh Firman have also nominated.
Current Member for Mallee Andrew Broad announced in December he would not recontest at the next federal election in the wake of a scandal.
Cr Modica is Mildura’s Deputy Mayor and works as a tradesman. He said his main election focuses would be “people, power and water”.
“It is time that the Mallee is acknowledged as leading the way on issues such as climate change, and that regional areas need to be better appreciated for their resilience and innovation,” he said.
Cr Modica also said climate change was a major issue for people living in regional Australia.
“While other areas of the country are still debating and denying, we in the Mallee have just gotten on with the job of adapting to the realities of life in a changing climate,” he said.
"We live with the impacts of climate variability and water scarcity every day – and in many ways we have already adapted. We know how to deal with extreme heat and we have been working on efficient water use and alternative energy sources for decades”
He said his time on Mildura council had helped him better understand the needs of his community.
“The most important thing I have learned since being elected to council in 2016 is that people know what they want, how they expect their leaders to behave and represent them, and if they do not like something they will tell you loud and clear,” he said.
“The reactions within the electorate to recent news about the current Member for Mallee confirms that the public have zero tolerance for poor behaviour from their politicians. This is the perfect time to reinvigorate leadership and representation in Australia’s ‘safest’ electorate.”
The Liberal Party’s preselection nominations opened on January 15. A spokesman for the party said the preselection meeting date had not been set.
A Greens Party spokeswoman said the party had started its preselection process.
The Wimmera Mail-Times has contacted the Victorian Labor Party for comment multiple times, but has not received a response.