THE Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party of Victoria has confirmed former federal senator Ricky Muir has been selected as its candidate for the seat of Morwell in the November state election.
Gippsland has faced significant challenges in recent years, with job losses and threats to key local industries.
Mr Muir said with the loss of jobs in the Morwell and surrounding electorates in recent times, including through the closure of the Hazelwood power station and Carter Holt Harvey’s mill, it was “time to ensure that not one more job is lost in our region”.
He also vowed to oppose the Great Forest National Park and protect the region’s forestry, paper and timber industries.
“I will not allow the Morwell electorate’s fitters and turners, forestry workers and skilled operators to become baristas for inner city ideology,” he said.
Mr Muir also said he wanted Victorians to be able to continue to enjoy outdoor pursuits such as four-wheel driving, dirt biking, shooting and fishing, adding he wanted to offer an “alternative voice” for those dissatisfied with the major parties.
“While I do not directly live in the Morwell electorate, I do live very close to where the Morwell, East Gippsland and South Gippsland electorates meet,” he said.
“I have a very clear understanding of how policy decisions in one Gippsland-based electorate can have an impact on another, which we have seen in recent times”.
In a media release, the party said Mr Muir’s successes in federal politics and the integrity he demonstrated in that role were “exactly what the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party of Victoria works to embody”.
“His many years of experience in the timber industry and his current role as a business owner running his own saw mill in the Gippsland region gives him a key insight to the needs of everyday people of the area,” the statement read.
“Ricky lives in the real world, and will bring his own brand of honesty and humility which he has become famous for to regional politics.”
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party of Victoria chairman and Eastern Victoria MLC Jeff Bourman said having Mr Muir stand for the party made “perfect sense”.
“We have similar values and outlook, and I believe he will make an exceptional local member if elected,” he said.
Mr Muir was elected as a Senator for Victoria in the 2013 federal election, representing the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party.
He failed to retain his seat at the 2016 election following a double dissolution which cut short his term in office.
Mr Muir announced in June last year that he had joined the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party of Victoria.