Former Wallan Football Netball Club president Neal Langborne believes he will provide a fresh voice if his bid to join Mitchell Shire Council is successful.
Mr Langborne, a Wallan resident for more than 30 years, will stand as a candidate in the south ward in the October local government election.
As a small business owner and having raised his family of four daughters in Wallan, he is a familiar face to many in the town.
Mr Langborne is keen to help businesses prosper across the south ward.
“In 1991, I started N and K Electrical and since then have provided apprenticeships to more than 15 young men in our community,” he said.
“I would like to encourage businesses to set up in the area to create jobs for our youth.
“I hope to bring a fresh voice for the south ward to negotiate with other councillors to improve local infrastructure, parks and amenities for all south ward residents to enjoy.”
Mr Langborne said council rates and the services council provided to residents were a priority.
“I hear a lot of residents complaining about what they get for their rates, and that Mitchell Shire rates are among the highest in the state, based on valuations. Some residents’ rates have gone up by up to 30 per cent in the past five years,” he said.
“While our country lifestyle is great, some people can’t afford to live here, especially with the economic effects of COVID-19.”
Mr Langborne said community facilities and infrastructure in Wallan and Beveridge were key issues.
He said funding for an outdoor pool, streetscapes and footpaths were a priority.
This is the second time Mr Langborne has stood as a candidate in the council elections.
“I ran at the last election four years ago. I nominated with limited marketing budget to see if there were like-minded people and I was pleasantly surprised with the support I received,” he said.
“I received approximately 15 per cent of the vote, missing out by less than 200 votes with two other candidates.
“I have developed great people skills and I care what we will look like in 10 years. The once small towns of Wallan and Beveridge need somebody to put us first.”
Mr Langborne’s association with Wallan began in 1980, when he joined his uncle John to play football for Wallan.
His love for the area grew, and in 1986, he and his wife Kay moved to Wallan, joining the committee of the football club soon after, and then becoming involved in various sports.
Mr Langborne has been board member of the Greenhill Social Club since 1991, becoming president in 2010 – a role he is still serving in.
The Wallan Football Netball Club life member was also involved in the Greenhill Committee of Management.
“I have watched our town grow from a small village to a thriving community of nearly 15,000 in the south ward,” he said.
“I have worked alongside the member clubs and council to improve the facilities in Wallan.
“If elected to represent the south ward of the Mitchell Shire, I will fight hard to obtain a more equitable share of funding to provide infrastructure and amenities for all.
“Your concerns will be my concerns.”