Jobs priority for independent

Heidi Kraak

Tired of what he calls the Coalition’s “empty promises”, ex-military man and Moe resident Guss Lambden will run for the seat of Narracan as an independent at the upcoming state election.

Mr Lambden will take on incumbent Liberal Gary Blackwood who has held the seat since 2006.

An unsuccessful candidate for a seat in Latrobe City’s west ward at the 2016 council election, Mr Lambden said there “should be no such thing as a safe seat”.

“I’d like to think an independent in the area could definitely take a lot of votes off the Coalition, as long as I’m out there speaking to the people,” he said.

“While it might look like a negative not being aligned to a major party, on the other side of it, we’re not bound by the big parties and the people up the chain so to speak that make the end decision.

“We’re a bit more flexible.”

Mr Lambden said securing more employment opportunities for the electorate was the “number one” issue he wanted to tackle should he be elected in November.

“I think this area has been underfunded for employment-related issues,” he said.

“In a perfect world we’d have low to nil unemployment, but the only way to get back to what the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland as a whole used to be, we need to encourage local workers and local business and bring in new business as well.

“There is low-emissions coal plants built elsewhere in the world, if other countries can do it, I can’t see why Australia can’t do it … I’d be happy to support a low-emission brown coal[-fired power station] set up.”

Mr Lambden said he would also advocate for an Australian Defence Force recruitment centre to be established within the electorate.

“Whether we go down the renewable energy path or we look at low-emission brown coal, if lucky enough to be elected, being ex-military, an Australian Defence Force recruitment centre in Warragul is a possibility,” he said.

“It wouldn’t be a massive employer … at the moment you still have to travel down to the city to access the required information.

“So, local kids wanting to finish up year 12, for kids that aren’t suited for uni and don’t want to do a trade, they could access available information about how to go through the recruitment process. We could have a centre there where they could go through the initial interviews through to the final recruitment stage at Warragul.”

Aside from employment, Mr Lambden identified improving public transport and connections to the city as an issue for the electorate.

“I think the very fast train [VFT] to link us to Melbourne is a priority and it should have happened 20 years ago,” he said.

“As I said to a mate just recently, I’m probably a Coalition voter myself, but it has been an empty promise.

“I know for Narracan now, they’ve had the seat for 12 years and this is still being promised. I’m not convinced that even if they [the Coalition] win the seat of Narracan that the VFT will be an option.”