FORMER Warrnambool football coach Scott Turner is to stand for the Nationals in the western Victorian seat of Ripon.
Mr Turner coached the Warrnambool football club to back-to-back Hampden League premierships in 2000 and 2001.
He was born and bred in Ararat and came to Warrnambool after playing 144 games for Richmond.
The Ripon electorate, which takes in Ararat, Maryborough, Creswick and Skipton, has been held by Labor’s Joe Helper since 1999.
However a redrawing of the Ripon electoral boundaries is expected to move the seat from Labor to the Coalition at November’s state election.
The election is expected to be a three-cornered contest between the Liberals, Nationals and Labor.
Mr Turner’s preselection continues the Nationals’ preference for AFL footballers as candidates.
Three retiring MPs in November, Peter Hall, Bill Sykes and Hugh Delahunty, were all professional players while upper house MP Damian Drum was a player and a coach.
Mr Turner said he was strongly focused on working to increase job security, job growth and improved opportunities for youth.
His background in sport naturally led him to support the further development of sport facilities in Ripon, he said.
However, better roads, child care, and aged-care facilities were also among his priorities, he said.
Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals, Peter Ryan, said Mr Turner was “a champion candidate” for Ripon.
Mr Ryan said the Nationals had chosen Mr Turner because the party was serious about giving Ripon voters the opportunity to elect a strong community representative to Parliament.
Employed as a human resources manager with an Ararat farm machinery and heater manufacturer, Mr Turner worked throughout the Ripon electorate in his previous role as an employment consultant and is involved in the Central Grampians LLEN mentoring program.
He is still involved in football in a development role with Ararat’s under 17 team and is well known in sporting circles for his work with local youth.
He was Ararat football club’s best clubman in 2013.
Mr Turner returned to Ararat in 2008 to take the helm as the Ararat Rats’ senior coach.
He led the Rats to finals in 2008 and 2010 before stepping down in 2012.