Poowong dairy farmer and former South Gippsland Shire President Jim Forbes is looking to make a comeback to local government.


THERE are now 16 candidates in line for the nine positions on the South Gippsland Shire Council after a further nine nominated at the electoral office in Bair Street Leongatha on Friday, September 17.

Joining Mohya Davies, Sue Plowright and Mat Morgan in the race for Coastal Promontory Ward were Anda Banikos, for 23 years a local primary school teacher and artist, ‘Common Ground’ restoration project leader Sarah Gilligan and coastal retailer David Liebelt.

In Strzelecki Ward, there were no candidates after the first day, but three had nominated by the close of business on Friday; Milpara Community House Manager Jenni Keeri, Poowong farmer and former councillor James Forbes and Nyora Hall President and CFA volunteer Mick Felton.

Tarin Valley Ward stretching from Leongatha to Mirboo North is shaping as the shire’s main battleground with seven candidates already nominating, and still time to nominate on Monday and Tuesday morning, September 20 and 21 until acceptances close at 12 noon.

They are John Schelling, Rosemary Cousin, Lindsay Love, Don Hill, Clare Williams, Adrian Darakai and Les Harmer.

And lowering the traditional age range for local government elections is allied health professional and local performing arts star Adrian Darakai.

And it’s a case of ‘like father, like son’ for Darakai who is standing in the same election as his father James Forbes – although not facing off in the same ward.

“I live in Leongatha and identify most with Tarwin Valley Ward,” said Darakai.

“I don’t have political aspirations. I’m enjoying my work at the Leongatha Specialist School, where I work in student welfare, while studying to complete my masters in Speech Pathology, which I guess I’ll move into at some stage.”

Darakai also has an honors degree in psychology.

For a 33-year-old, it’s quite a CV and you’d wonder how he finds time to write and play music and also to feature in lead roles with several local theatre groups.

It leads into an obvious interest in the arts, in education and health but he also has a strong background in agriculture and community leadership.

Former Venus Bay General Store operator, David Liebelt, has thrown his hat in the ring for Coastal Promontory Ward.