The race for Euroa is heating up with the Greens announcing Keppel Cassidy as their candidate for the seat in the upcoming election.
Mr Cassidy is a community mental health worker and musician who lives in central Victoria.
He describes himself as passionate about mental health and healthy, connected rural and regional communities.
He has seen first hand the devastating impacts of mental illness on families in regional Victoria, exacerbated by high levels of unemployment, income stress, homelessness and inadequate community support services.
‘‘I am standing for the Greens because they are the only party with a plan to fully restore the funding for community mental health that has been stripped away by the coalition and ALP governments over the last five years,’’ Mr Cassidy said.
‘‘Investing in preventative mental health services has been found to save both lives and money, compared with the cost of waiting until people have become mentally ill and require hospitalisation.’’
Mr Cassidy said he was committed to seeing all fully costed plans of the Greens implemented, including a significant investment in affordable housing, which would see 40000 public housing homes built during the next four years.
‘‘The Greens have also committed to transforming our ageing, unreliable public transport system, protection of Victoria’s stunning forests and bringing our energy system back into public hands, where it belongs,’’ Mr Cassidy said.
‘‘Finally, the evidence is becoming increasing clear that we are facing a climate emergency, and the cost of doing nothing will become greater every year.
‘‘The Greens are committed to taking responsible action to reduce dangerous emissions, with a detailed plan to transition to 100per cent renewable energy by 2030, and support for regenerative agricultural practices that have extraordinary potential for combating climate change.
‘‘We are also committed to protecting the magnificent forests of this state, such as those found in the Strathbogie Ranges, that are being ravaged by clearfell logging by the current Labor Government.’’
Mr Cassidy joins Nicole Rowan, the Greens lead candidate for the upper house seat of Northern Victoria.
Ms Rowan is a lawyer and tax trainer living in Riddells Creek with her family.
Ms Rowan grew up in country Victoria and describes herself as a passionate advocate for the rights of rural and regional Victorians to receive the same quality of services as those living in metropolitan Melbourne.
She hopes to become the first rural Greens MP elected to state parliament.
‘‘The Greens bring an important perspective to rural and regional Victoria,’’ Ms Rowan said.
‘‘The Greens are the only party that is standing up for farmers and advocating for support and investment to mitigate against the effects of climate change.
‘‘As a lawyer and investigator engaged in tax law analysis, I will bring those skills to the Victorian Parliament and ensure that every piece of legislation recognises and supports issues facing regional Victorians and considers the ramifications for our rural communities.’’