Labor challenging in Gippsland East

David Braithwaite

EAST Gippsland Shire deputy mayor Mark Reeves has been endorsed as Labor’s candidate for Gippsland East at the state election.

Mr Reeves is currently serving a second term on East Gippsland Shire Council, and was elected mayor in 2013.

He is the founding principal of the Schools for Student Leadership, which has campuses at Dinner Plain, Marlo and the Western District of Victoria.

Current Nationals MP Tim Bull holds Gippsland East with a margin of 17.9 per cent, making it the ninth safest out of the state’s 88 lower house seats.

Gippsland East has traditionally been Nationals territory, except for the 11-year period when independent Craig Ingram was member.

Mr Bull has been Gippsland East MLA since defeating Mr Ingram at the 2010 election.

Mr Reeves said he was not daunted by the challenge of winning the seat for Labor for the first time, citing the electorate’s changing demographics.

“Some people have described this as a David and Goliath, but who won that battle?”

“I hope people see this as a huge opportunity,” Mr Reeves said told the Gippsland Times.

“The Andrews Labor government has invested in ambulance, health, roads, education and transport — we’ve seen that flowing into east Gippsland.

“I want to work to continue that. We need to have someone in the tent to advocate for east Gippsland.”

Unlike a federal election, Mr Reeves can run for state parliament while still being a school principal and councillor, with requirements for him to take leave when writs are issued for the election.

The Gippsland East electorate includes Heyfield, Maffra, Licola and Dargo, and stretches to the New South Wales border.

The state election will be held on Saturday, November 24.