Climate change and education funding have received robust attention at a community-run candidates forum as the state race ramps up in the region.
South West Coast state election candidates gathered at the Voices of Wannon forum in Port Fairy on November 9 which was open to questions from the public.
While the forum touched on a wide range of topics including political integrity, health, roads, taxes, pandemic management, and housing, the strongest - and at times fiery - responses came during discussions around the environment and education.
Animal Justice Party candidate Jacinta Anderson capped off a question about climate policy with a response telling "grey-haired people" to give way for the younger generation to fix the problem.
"I am from the instant generation and I demand that we do something now," she said.
"All you grey-haired people, you can just sit down and let us fix it.
"We need action now, we all need to work together, and you can shove your dirty money up your a***."
Liberal MP Roma Britnell said her party had "very good" climate policy going into the state election.
"The first one is that we will be using gas because we need to have a base energy," she said.
"Gas is clean. We first started drilling for gas in 1986 in this region. We have a very reliable source that is clean.
"We'll also be investing in hydrogen... We need to invest in solar and wind as well. It's a collection."
Meanwhile, Greens candidate Thomas Campbell said he disagreed with Ms Britnell's position on gas and spruiked his party's strong environmental strategies for government.
"Gas is not a clean energy resource," he said.
"Logging of native forests will be coming to an end by the end of the decade and it will be replaced by more sustainable industries.
"There are currently 2000 species in Victoria that are on the endangered list. We want to make sure that none of those species go extinct, and we have a plan for how we're going to manage that.
"We could never put a solar panel on every single home for about $17 billion... those are the conversations I would prefer to be having in parliament."
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Independent candidate Michael McCluskey said he would push for more state government investment in climate change solutions.
"The key to solving the climate issue is putting more money into research for getting better technology," he said.
"Whether it's solar, wind, hydrogen or other alternatives, the more money we put in there, the quicker we'll get the solutions."
In response to an audience question on the region's inadequate public school funding and resources, Labor candidate Kylie Gaston said she would be an advocate for the region's education system.
"Education is an investment," she said.
"I'm on the committee for the [Warrnambool Special Development School]. We're now working on fundraising.
"Every school has to fundraise for things everywhere all the time."
But independent candidate Carol Altmann criticised the Labor Party's $24 million pledge to upgrade south-west schools, saying only one school in the South West Coast state seat would benefit.
"There's only one school in this seat that will be seeing upgrades, and that's Our Lady Help of Christians," she said.
"As an independent, I get to pick apart the truth... or the truth of promises and to actually drill down to what it means on the ground.
"I do that because I'm actually your voice. I'm not representing a party. I'm not tied to any particular team. My team is you, the community... and on issues like education, we can make sure promises are delivered."
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