Election promises and political pot shots flew thick and fast as Wyndham’s state election candidates campaigned for the local vote at a candidates forum last week.
The Committee for Wyndham invited all candidates contesting the lower house seats of Werribee, Tarneit and Altona, and the upper house Western Metropolitan Region to the event, with 19 candidates in attendance.
Each was given three minutes to have their say, followed by a question and answer session.
A number of candidates, including the Democratic Labour Party’s Kathryn Breakwell, said Wyndham residents were being treated with “neglect and contempt” by living in safe Labor seats.
She said Labor’s promise to remove the Hoppers Crossing level crossing by 2025 – which is not within the next term of government – was “not good enough”.
Independent Altona candidate Maria Aylward added: “Standing in fluoros and hard hats at election time is not getting things done, it’s buying votes”.
Other candidates – including Greens Tarneit candidate Beck Sheffield-Brotherton and Greens Werribee candidate Jay Dessi – each said they did not expect to win their respective seats, but wanted to chip away at the strong Labor margins. Labor’s Tarneit candidate, Sarah Connolly, said the government had made significant investments in the area.
Incumbent Werribee MP Tim Pallas said the Coalition invested $103 million in Werribee over 2010-14. He said in comparison, Labor has invested $1.5 billion over the past term.
“I accept the basic proposition that this is a community that needs more effort, more attention from government, and that’s exactly what this government is doing,” Mr Pallas said.
Fellow Werribee candidate, independent Joe Garra, said it was debatable that the area is better now than it was 39 years ago, when it became a safe Labor seat. He said the Liberals had given up on the area.
“You have a choice now. You can have a government representative looking after you, or have your own community representative looking after you.”