Bridget Aitchison is hoping to bring a fresh perspective to Ballarat council and play a key role in the city's recovery from COVID-19.
It is the first time Ms Aitchison, who grew up in Hollywood and immigrated to Australia in 1989, has stood for council. She said she decided to run for the role due to her sense of a lack of genuine consultation and transparency in her interactions with City of Ballarat throughout past years.
"I have attended meetings where they have told us what they wanted, asked our opinions and then gone out with what they wanted to begin with," Ms Aitchison said.
"There seems to be a lack of really listening to people and that has to change."
Ms Aitchison is standing as a Labor endorsed candidate for South Ward.
She moved to Ballarat in 2017 to take on the role of Campus Dean at Australian Catholic University in Ballarat, after living in Sydney, raising two children, completing a doctorate and working a long career in the higher education sector.
Ms Aitchison has immersed herself into the Ballarat community as a board member of Committee for Ballarat and chair of the liveability project team and a member of the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat Family and Community Engagement Standing Committee.
She is also an active member of Winter Woollies for Ballarat, Ballarat Amateur Canoe Club, Ballarat Golf Club and admin for Ballarat Dachshunds Bark in the Park.
If elected to council, Ms Aitchison said her main priorities would be environmental protection and sustainability, infrastructure to prepare for growth and creating jobs.
"There is no argument against pursuing environmental sustainability and a renewable energy agenda. It also gives us a jobs recovery program," she said.
Ms Aitchison said there was 'phenomenal' growth in the south west that needed planning for infrastructure before expansion.
Ms Aitchison said she would put a motion forward within the first 90 days if elected to develop a jobs taskforce as part of Ballarat's COVID-19 recovery.
"I would like to see some very strategic work done around post-COVID recovery and the jobs space," she said.
"We have the space and the expertise to attract new industries to Ballarat, new manufacturing, to support entrepreneurs and to create new businesses. We need to embrace big ideas. We could be a national leader in the renewable energy space."
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