Some south-west residents will see fresh faces vying for their vote as the state race heats up in the region.
Mortlake, Hexham, Woorndoo and Caramut may soon run into ads, corflutes and flyers from Lowan District candidates after the towns were taken in by the electorate with the Victorian Electoral Commission's boundary redistribution in 2021.
Lowan incumbent and Victorian Deputy Nationals leader Emma Kealy, who holds a 20.9 per cent margin, said her electorate's inclusion of the towns would be a chance to learn from the south-west's strengths, namely Mortlake's mental health services.
"They've done an amazing job in filling the gaps when it comes to providing additional mental health support and awareness right across the region," the 45-year-old said.
"There's certainly an opportunity... to empowering and strengthening those communities, and to make sure that the organisations that are doing a good job are well supported to continue to do that."
Ms Kealy said her campaign would also include pledges to improve rural roads and healthcare access.
"When it comes to rural and regional Victoria, we're simply not getting our fair share," she said.
"There are problems with potholes, crumbling edges, and I feel that we're [only] hearing of all the major projects in Melbourne when it comes to transport infrastructure.
"We've got health infrastructure which hasn't had any investment for a really long period of time and simply isn't up to scratch to be able to help attract staff."
IN OTHER NEWS
Meanwhile, Narrapumelap South hairdresser Amanda Mead has thrown her hat in the ring as an independent for the Lowan seat.
The 37-year-old, who ran for a seat in the May federal election, said the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidacy for Wannon was "practice" for her state election campaign.
"That was my original plan," she said. "Running for federal [politics] was meant to be like a practice run."
She said her decision to split from the LDP for the state race stemmed from clashes on matters including the expansion of camping access to riverfront crown land areas in 2021.
"[The LDP's] vote allowed the amendment to go through and I know this is a big worry for farmers," Ms Mead said.
"I do respect them for having principles and holding by those principles.
"However, there were a couple of issues [where] putting those principles into real-world experience, I could not agree with."
Ms Mead said she thought it was time Lowan had an alternative to the major parties.
"A lot of people are looking for an alternative to the Nationals, but they haven't felt that they've been given something that has values and ethics that isn't switching from right to left," she said.
Ms Mead admitted the success of independents in the federal election contributed to her independent candidacy.
"Alex Dyson did run a very good campaign, but there were also things that I [think] that he did wrong," she said. "Being independent, I am not accepting any funding from large businesses or corporations."
Ms Mead said she would run on a policy platform that included more allocation of state funding to the regions, cutting taxes, slashing politician wages by 20 per cent, and getting a Horsham-based air ambulance.
Lowan is yet to have a candidate from the Labor party or the Greens.
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