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Horsham council hosts briefing for Lowan candidates

HORSHAM Rural City Council hosted a breakfast briefing for Lowan candidates on Thursday to help them better understand the municipality’s major issues and priorities.
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Lowan candidates Nkandu Beltz, the Greens; Emma Kealy, the Nationals; Steve Price, Country Alliance; and Katrina Rainsford, independent attended.

Australian Christians regional candidate for Western Victoria Anne Foster was also present, with Labor candidate Bob Scates the only absentee.

Councillors, directors, council staff, Wimmera Development Association chief executive Jo Bourke and media representatives also attended.

Council outlined four key issues affecting the municipality and the wider region: the Horsham North Children’s Hub; the need to secure funding for Western Highway duplication; rating for the mining industry; and the return of passenger rail to western Victoria.

What other important issues do you think candidates should focus on? Let us know in the comments below

After each issue was raised, candidates were given an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification.

Chief executive Peter Brown said the briefing went well.

“We hope they now have a better understanding of the issues confronting Horsham and the wider Wimmera,” he said.

Council made a number of requests of the candidates.

It asked them to support State Government funding of $2.1 million towards the Horsham North hub, which has a total cost of about $4 million.

It also implored the candidates to support a State Government commitment of $34 million in the 2015-16 State Budget to enable continuation of the duplication of the Western Highway.

The project has Federal Government support but cannot proceed without a commitment from the State Government.

Council is advocating for a review of the Local Government Act section 154, which provides for mining operations to be excluded from paying rates.

Council asked the candidates to support a change to the Act to allow councils to rate land used for mining.

Council is also pushing for the return of rail to Western Victoria.

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