Warrnambool journalist and community activist Carol Altmann will run as an independent candidate for South West Coast in November's state election.
Ms Altmann announced her candidacy on Thursday afternoon, saying she would run on a platform of "community, integrity and action".
"My work as an independent journalist has brought direct results for our community and shown that a strong, independent voice can get things done," she said.
"I have a strong track record in creating real change, including greater transparency and accountability in aged care, local council, public spending and protection of our environment, and I am ready to build on that work as a new voice for the south-west coast."
Ms Altmann has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years, most recently running The Terrier website which launched dogged investigations into the Warrnambool City Council and more recently Lyndoch Living.
Her often relentless campaigns have built a local profile as well as occasionally putting her in legal hot water, but Ms Altmann pointed to a Victorian Ombudsman investigation of WCC's misuse of credit cards as proof of her ability to bring about meaningful change.
"I have built a trust with the community to be their eyes and ears: someone who will listen and act for them, without fear or favour, and without the ties of a political party telling me what to do, what to say and who to protect," she said. "This is the freedom that comes with being an independent and it's why so many voters across Australia are now choosing to elect an independent."
While Ms Altmann's work has earned her a loyal following it has also made her a polarising figure to some, not least her Labor opponent Kylie Gaston, who received a barrage of criticism from The Terrier when she was a Warrnambool City councillor.
Ms Altmann said her key election issues would be "fighting for the needs of the elderly", helping local youth and young families, demanding better mental health support, and protecting the environment. She said she wanted to embrace the opportunities presented by renewable energy, eco-tourism and Indigenous cultural tourism.
"Our future is incredibly bright, but for years we have been ignored by the major parties and remain bogged down in the same issues that come around every election," she said.
"The only way the south-west will have a strong, effective voice in state parliament is by choosing an independent, just as has been the case in Shepparton, Mildura and Morwell, and they are reaping the rewards."
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