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Former mayor Justin King announces run at council

By Simon Ruppert

Former mayor Justin King has announced his intention to run in this year's Benalla Rural City Council elections.

When Mr King decided to step aside after his first run in council he always thought he might return at some point.

“For me I guess in 2016 it was really about taking a step back to be able to see the big picture,” Mr King said.

“I guess when you're on council and in the capacity of mayor you're so involved and engaged in a lot of the work that for me, in 2016, it was a case of ‘look I need to take a step back and then consider in 2020 whether I wanted to get back into it'.

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“And over the past four years talking to people it's been pretty evident to me that there's some great work that we need to do.

“I'm committed to wanting to put the shoes back on and get in there and do as much as I can.”

Justin King pictured in 2015 after presiding over a citizenship ceremony in his role as Mayor.

Mr King has a range of platforms he is running on including:

● Supporting business and community growth through active engagement with State and Federal Government to capitalise on major growth in Benalla;

● Support the local grassroots mental health program Connect-Benalla;

● A focus on local council service delivery;

● Improved "open-door" communication with the community;

● Better support and engagement with community members living in rural townships in the district;

● Support local community and sporting groups;

● Budget discipline without impact on community service delivery; and

● Further lobbying to state and federal governments to secure future partnership funding.

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Mr King said his first step would be to push for a feasibility study on population growth.

“One of the major things that I'd like to work on, if elected, is we have 300-plus new jobs coming to Benalla, which is fantastic for our community,” Mr King said.

“So we need to lobby our state and federal members for funding and support to undertake a feasibility study on population growth.

“Can we encourage and entice people living in communities who might be travelling here for work, to move to Benalla and call it home.

“So if elected one of the first thing I will do is talk to government, and lobby them for funding to undertake a feasibility study to look at how we can capture this growth and turn it into opportunity.”