Campaign’s costly commitments

Latrobe City Council election candidates have revealed their funding sources, amid rumours political parties have been bankrolling individual contendors’ campaigns.

Nineteen candidates told The Express they had personally paid for their election-related costs including advertising and distribution of materials.

While Central Ward candidate Bruce Lougheed refused to reveal his campaign costs, he said would “comply with the (local government) legislation”.

Despite advocating for councillors and East Ward candidates Dale Harriman, Sandy Kam and Kellie O’Callaghan in advertisements in The Express, Traralgon Community Development Association secretary Bruce Bremner said the group denied endorsing them.

“What we have said is that looking at existing councillors, there is no reason to say that any current (East Ward) councillors shouldn’t be returned; we are particularly impressed with Sandy Kam and Dale Harriman,” Mr Bremner said.

“Kellie (O’Callaghan) might not be 100 per cent sure on where she stands on issues but she hasn’t done anything that means she shouldn’t be re-elected.”

Cr O’Callaghan, who has so far spent about $450 on her election campaign, said she did not have the “backing” of any particular group or organisation.

“I stand very firmly in a place where I consider all perspectives and then make an informed decision that I believe achieves the best outcome for our community,” she said.

East Ward candidate Axella Johannesson has committed $5000 towards her election campaign, the largest amount so far.

Mr Johannesson said she has also received unspecified donations from “ordinary people”.

East Ward candidates Cr Harriman and Anne Murphy have spent $3000 each.

Ms Murphy said Gippsland Trades and Labour Council had donated $200 to her election expenses.

East Ward candidate Dan Jordan’s has invested $2700 to his campaign, conceding The Greens had contributed about $900.

Fellow East Ward candidate Paul Howden said he has not spent any funding on his campaign, and Michael Rossiter and Sandy Kam would not reveal their campaign expenditure but said it was self-funded.

In the Central Ward, councillor Graeme Middlemiss has spent $400, Christine Sindt $700, while Peter Ryan said he has not spent any funding on his campaign, while Merv Geddes and Dot Kitwood did not specify their expenditure, but assured their campaigns were self-funded.

South Ward candidate Gilio Barbara has spent $1650 on his campaign while fellow candidate Darrell White did not reveal his campaign expenses.

In the West Ward, candidates Jenny Webb and councillor Sharon Gibson have both committed $2000 to their campaigns, Marilyn May said she has not spend any funding on hers, while Peter Gibbons, councillor Ed Vermeulen and Tony Flynn did not reveal their funding.