Councillor Belinda Coates is bringing a four-plank platform to her bid for re-election in the City of Ballarat's central ward this October.
Describing her decision to stand for a third term as being the actions of a 'glutton for punishment', the two-time deputy mayor nevertheless continues to advocate for a progressive and more compassionate city, an advocacy which she proudly says has both made Ballarat a better place to live and has changed the views of her fellow councillors on many issues.
Her platform outlines a need for continued focus on social equity; renewing and supporting the local economy; climate action; and creating a liveable city.
As a Greens candidate, Cr Coates's focus is on the environmental and sustainability issues facing Ballarat's future, but she also addresses the city's cultural identity and its economic prospects.
All of these are huge challenges, Cr Coates says, and the most pressing issue will be the COVID-19 recovery.
"That's really going to be front of mind in everything that we're doing for the next four years," she said.
"Overarching, there are challenges in addressing climate change as well. I would say that the challenges are in four broad categories.
"Start with the challenges of working towards a fairer Ballarat. We know that traditionally Ballarat, like many places, has a large equity gap. Some of the things that I've been passionate about during my term on council, and would continue to advocate for, are issues around equity, inclusion, rights, compassion and working with the community towards evening up the playing field."
The second issue Cr Coates says will require the attention of all councillors in the coming four years will be restarting and shoring up the local economy as the state recovers from the restrictions forced on it by the pandemic.
It will be an opportunity to bring council's focus onto real sustainability, Cr Coates suggested.
"That will include everything from increased renewable energy opportunities, waste and the circular economy - and, I think, organic waste collection. Food and organic waste collection is something I think is a real opportunity for Ballarat. We should fast track towards that, given we've got green waste collection, and a natural progression will be the food and organic collection.
"Also, as part of this local economy, we should be building on a vibrant arts and culture locally. We know there are huge economic opportunities there, as well as in the area of local food. There are endless opportunities in the local economy area, but I think it's important we focus on initiatives with multiple benefits, and not separate those economic, environmental and social benefits - that we are focusing on local jobs."
On climate action, an issue close to Cr Coates's heart from before her time as a councillor, she says she is proud to have led the debate from the outset.
"I initiated our carbon neutrality and 100 per cent renewable action plan," Cr Coates said.
"I really want to see that fast-tracked and deliver on some of the really key big-ticket items: opportunities around green energy purchasing, energy efficiency, transitioning away from fossil fuels - everything from fleet through to working with businesses to assist them to either transition to renewable energy or make energy efficiencies where they would actually save money.
"As well as in planning, embedding environmentally sustainable design in our local planning scheme and advocating for that at a state level; working with the whole community for a zero carbon community target, which would include community and businesses as well.
"In gaining support for declaring and acknowledging a climate emergency: there's more work to do there, obviously, but I think it's significant that in a council where I've frequently faced opposition, I have actually been able to gain majority support for a number of what were contentious decisions at the time, but have since become positions most councillors would say they now support."
The fourth plank of Belinda Coates's platform is making Ballarat a more liveable city, something she says citizens already have a headstart on, but must protect.
"So now, more than ever, people appreciate the value of greenspaces," Cr Coates said.
"We're just so fortunate in that we do have a liveable city but we need to protect and build on that. So we need to do that through good future planning, protecting our biodiversity, maintaining our passive and active spaces.
"But it's also things like sport, active and passive sport; active transport, walking, cycling and advocacy around public transport; and of course heritage. Another key important aspect of a liveable city is universal access as well; making sure that no matter your age or ability, you can access everything."
As a councillor, two of the campaigns Cr Coates is proud of having supported successfully are the saving of Civic Hall and the Black Hill Swimming Pool.
"They're really grassroots campaigns," she says.
"I was really at the forefront of both of those community campaigns, working really closely with the community and they delivered great outcomes. In the area of values and shifting and broadening the focus of City Council, including getting support for key advocacy positions around saying no to racism, saying no to homophobia, initiating Ballarat becoming a Refugee Welcome Zone, advocating for gender equity which led to the Active Women and Girls Strategy.
"I chaired the disability advisory committee, and still do, through that period where they worked towards the inclusive place at Victoria Park. That's been delivered and is well loved by the community. I kicked off our live music strategy, which I'm really proud of. That's still being built on and is incorporated into the Creative City Strategy."