In this article, you will get all information regarding Ripon voters preview their priorities ahead of the Victoria state election – Newsofcanada
It is an important month for James Mullin of Ararat.
The 18-year-old has just emerged from the maze of study, stress and sleep that is the VCE exam period.
But now another great day is fast approaching.
He will vote for the first time on Saturday.
Education – particularly the shortage and welfare of teachers – will be the issue that will decide Mr Mullin’s vote as he witnessed firsthand the effects of burnout and underemployment in his final years at school.
“Teachers have had a much greater workload than expected, and the effects of COVID have not really worn off in the Education Department,” he says.
The candidates have reason to listen carefully to his concerns, and those of every other voter.
Only 15 votes separated the two leading candidates in Ararat’s Ripon state seat in the last state election.
The view from both sides
Mr Mullin completed his studies at a private boarding school in Ballarat, but spent his secondary school years in public education at Ararat College, where his mother still works.
He pointed out the different levels of resources and opportunities available to youth in public and private education.
But he says both systems have one thing in common, and that’s that post-pandemic staffing is on the verge of breaking.
“We still have teachers who, if they get sick, are gone for a week in case it’s COVID,” he says.
“It means a lot of staff have to take on roles for which they’re not necessarily suited, so there’s more stress overall.
“Less teachers mean more workload for the teachers who are left, which means they need more days off [when they get their break] which means there are fewer teachers… it’s a bit of a cycle.”
Mr Mullin has yet to see a policy that he believes will address these issues.
“A lot of students find that we get advertisements from the state government saying ‘education is such a great thing to do, you should study it at university,’” he says.
“But there’s no incentive to do it, no subsidies, they just say ‘go do this because we need 4,000 teachers right now’.
“If you say you’re paying for half a teacher’s college, people will want to do that and relieve the stress of current teachers in a pretty dire situation.”
Mr Mullin says he expects his fellow voters to make their decisions based on education policy for the first time in Ripon.
“Many of us have seen how teachers have really gone out of their way for students lately, preparing lessons for school and home,” he says.
“It’s a bit disappointing to see them not being rewarded for such excellent service.”
Louise Staley holds Ripon for the Liberals but faces a challenge from Labour’s Martha Haylett.
There are a total of nine candidates for the seat, including two independents.
Ripon is a smaller electorate this election compared to the previous one, and less nationwide.
A redistribution last year resulted in the loss of 391 voters to surrounding rural areas.
It lost more than 5,600 voters to Lowan and more than 2,200 to Mildura.
At the same time, nearly 6,000 voters from the northwestern ballarat electorate of Eureka (formerly Buninyong) were moved to Ripon, as were 1,100 from Wendouree.
The changes make the seat fictionally Labor – that is, if the 2018 election results are applied to the new geographic area.
Excited to make an impact
Anna Harris, the mother of three from Invermay, is one of the voters who moved to Ripon for this election.
Dr. Harris is also a general practitioner in the nearby towns of Creswick and Clunes.
She came back to her hometown to work and raise her boys after 13 years in Melbourne.
“In 2018 it felt like a regular election… it was a pretty safe Liberal seat we were living in at the time,” she says.
“There wasn’t much movement that we could have in that space.
“After the recent history we’ve had in Victoria, it feels like there’s more trouble up for grabs, the budget is tighter and there’s more health issues.”
Dr. Harris says the thought of her vote having a much greater impact on the outcome in this election is “unnerving” and “invigorating.”
“Given the area I work in, we see the need for general practitioners, wider healthcare and paramedics there,” she says.
“I feel like this is a good opportunity for us to have a say and make a change, so I’m excited about that.”
Like Mr. Mullin, Dr. Harris wants the next government to focus on workers as much as infrastructure.
‘The Bloody Roads’
Both candidates were in this week’s primaries in Maryborough, Ripon’s second-largest city midway between Ballarat and Bendigo.
Rodney Stevens voted for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.
He says the main problem for the area is “the bloody roads.”
“Potholes in the road between here and Dunolly are approx [30 centimetres] deep, some of them,” he says.
“They need to be fixed and all they’re worried about is the [Metro] tunnel in Melbourne and not the people here.
“That’s why I don’t want to vote for it [the current government].”
Labor candidate Ms Haylett says as of Monday about 40 per cent of Ripon have already voted.
Ms Haylett and Ms Staley say health and the cost of living are common concerns among the voters they speak to.
Ripon voters preview their priorities ahead of the Victoria state election – Newsofcanada
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