AN upper house office will be reopened in Warrnambool by James Purcell if his Vote1 Local Jobs Party is successful at next week’s state election.
The south-west has been without an upper house office for two years after Liberal MP Simon Ramsay shifted to Ballarat.
The Koroit Street office opposite the Uniting Church was used as a state representative office for more than a decade but is now Vision Australia’s Warrnambool headquarters.
Mr Purcell said reopening the office was only a small part of his agenda to boost employment opportunities across south-west Victoria.
“Creating local jobs is a big issue particularly in Portland but there’s interest in Warrnambool too,” the Port Fairy accountant said.
“Foreign ownership of farmland is another big topic of conversation. I’ve been talking to people who are prepoll voting and there’s a lot of anger out there about foreign ownership but nobody appears to be taking it on board.”
The Vote1 Local Jobs Party was placed at the final spot on the upper house ticket during last week’s ballot draw with Koroit businesswoman Tanya Waterson joining Mr Purcell on his party’s ticket.
Mr Purcell said voters could back Premier Denis Napthine or Labor candidate Roy Reekie in the lower house and still be able to support his party on the Legislative Council ticket.
“You get two ballots — one for the lower house and one for the upper house,” he said.
“People can vote for Local Jobs in the upper house and still support Denis, Labor or whoever they want on the lower house ballot. It’s an insurance policy because you’re guaranteed that way to get representation for the south-west.”
Western Victoria has five upper house representatives with Mr Ramsay and Labor MP Jaala Pulford operating offices in Ballarat and National Party MP David O’Brien, Labor MP Gayle Tierney and retiring Liberal MP David Koch operating offices in Geelong.