By Justin Flynn
State election candidates for the seat of Bellarine completed a series of public forums in Ocean Grove last week.
The forums, organised by the combined Bellarine community associations, allowed candidates to answer questions from members of the public in a public setting.
Forums were held at Point Lonsdale, Portarlington and Ocean Grove.
The Ocean Grove forum was attended by around 90 residents.
Forum facilitator Phil Edwards said around half of those were from Ocean Grove, one quarter from Barwon Heads with the rest from elsewhere on the peninsula.
Four of the five candidates – Lisa Neville (Labor), Brian McKiterick (Liberal), Rachel Semmes (Greens) and Naomi Adams (Animal Justice) – attended with Victorian Socialists’ Jackie Kriz an apology.
“We extended the session for an extra 15 minutes because we had lots of questions and the candidates were kind enough to agree to that,” Mr Edwards said.
“We had 16 questions and they ranged from late termination of abortion, treatment of the CFA, duck shooting, Drysdale bypass, climate change, control of development, cyclists and safety, container deposits and recycling, education, mental health services, reconciliation, truck traffic through Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads and the Grubb Rd/Tuckfield Rd upgrade and the Bellarine link.”
Mr Edwards said the forum was generally well received by the public.
“We had a really wide canvass of questions,” he said.
“Overall it was good. And it was the last in a series of forums that were coordinated by the combined Bellarine community associations and I think it provided candidates and residents across the Bellarine with a good opportunity to exchange views.
“Collectively we were happy that we worked together and delivered the opportunity for residents.”