The race to be elected to the Ballarat council is now underway with the Greens Party putting forward three candidates for the October elections.
They will field candidates in each of the three municipal wards - Ballarat North, Ballarat Central and Ballarat South - spearheaded by the current deputy mayor Cr Belinda Coates, who has served on council since 2012. Cr Coates will once again be standing in the Ballarat Central ward.
Standing in the North Ward will be Ellen Burns, the entrepreneur behind the healthy snack business We Bar None. Ms Burns is also the president of the local volunteer group Hidden Orchard, which distributes fruit from trees around Ballarat to the community.
Standing in the South Ward is Jackson Snep, who lives in Black Hill and works at his family's wine business. Mr Snep has a business degree and also belongs to the Ballarat environmental group BREAZE. He told The Courier that seeing the damage done by bushfires this year was a catalyst for him to put himself forward.
So far, Cr Coates has been the only Greens member to serve on Ballarat council. In 2012, she became the first person from the political party to be elected, and was re-elected for a second term in 2016.
Until this year, the Greens have been the only party to proactively endorse their candidates at local government elections.
However, that is set to change this year as the Labor Party will back candidates at some municipalities across the state - a move widely interpreted as an attempt to recover grassroots ground lost to the Greens and Liberal parties.
Despite dominating politics at state and federal levels in the Ballarat region, the Labor Party only has two representatives on the current council.
The Courier understands the Australian Labor Party will field six candidates, including two in each ward. Both of the two current councillors Des Hudson and Daniel Moloney have confirmed their intentions to stand for re-election under the Labor banner.
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The Labor Party will formally announce their candidates on Wednesday.
There are three Liberal party members on this council - the current mayor Cr Ben Taylor, his predecessor in the mayoral role Cr Samantha McIntosh and councillor Amy Johnson.
The Liberal Party does not endorse candidates, and says any party members standing in elections do so in an individual capacity.
The other three councillors - Crs Mark Harris, Jim Rinaldi and Grant Tillett - are independent.
Cr Coates, who was also a candidate in the 2008 elections before her successful campaign in 2012, told The Courier she was hopeful the Greens would increase their numbers this year.
"We are hoping to increase Greens representation based on having high calibre, energetic and committed candidates," Cr Coates said.
"Many will be aware of my consistent values, community focus and hard working approach already. We're hoping to build on this and continue to raise the bar."
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