I write this open letter to our community with slight trepidation yet, with great hope that this upcoming council election will bring a well-needed change and reset to this wonderful place we call home – South Gippsland, whichever ward you live in.

For two years we have endured Administrators and all that came with them. As they were not from here, they really couldn’t and didn’t understand our needs and desires as a community.

But now, finally, we have the right and ability to vote in people, community members, that we believe truly represent who we are. And we are a very diverse bunch these days.

Many new people have moved into our towns, some have moved on to drier pastures and some have moved out due to the current housing shortage in the area.

With such a diverse community, we need a diverse council, a true reflection of our community so, preferably, with a 50/50 mix of female and male councillors.

We need farming community, (“Greenies”) environmentalists, business savvy people, wise, young, enthusiastic, women and men with no agendas. We need our Council to focus on climate change and housing. We need our Council to listen to the community, to assist us, the community, to move forward into our future in these uncertain times.

It is my belief and opinion that this election is a wonderful opportunity to vote a whole swag of fresh, new people in, who haven’t been jaded by previous stints in Council, whose enthusiasm hasn’t been dulled because of their inexperience. And, if they are all new, they come to the table on equal footing and, hopefully, make it work for us all.

Lastly, do not follow the ‘How to Vote’ cards, you choose the order you want from 1 to 10 but, try to remember to put a woman somewhere up the top – aim for 50/50!

Helen Ritt, Fish Creek