LABOR'S Lisa Chesters has claimed victory in the seat of Bendigo, saying it’s the party's strongest result in the electorate in decades.
With more than 40 per cent of votes counted, it's almost certain the Labor member will be reinstated for a third term.
Chesters currently sits at 44.6 per cent of the primary vote, with Liberal Party challenger Sam Gayed trailing at 28.9 per cent.
That's a 12.9 per cent swing against the Liberal Party.
The seat was previously held by ALP with a slender margin of 3.9 per cent.
Prior to today’s election Chester spoke to the McIvor Times about her ambitions if she was re-elected:
“I know that cost of living pressure is an issue for many in Heathcote, particularly for people on a fixed income," she said.
"Household finances will see relief under Labor. We’ll lower energy bills by better regulating power prices and aim for one million energy-saving batteries in homes and apartments, subsidising the cost for low-to-medium income households.
“Labor will look after working people by introducing bigger tax cuts for low and middle income earners. Ten million Australians better off under our tax cuts.
"We will also increase funding by $40 million for emergency relief services that support people in financial crisis. We have said we will review payments like Newstart.
"There’s no doubt these payments are low, and we recognise Newstart has not been increased for a long time. It is time for a review.
“Furthermore, federal Labor believes the minimum wage should be a living wage, particularly at a time when company profits are growing five times faster than wages.
“Another key issue for locals is access to quality and affordable healthcare. Locals are going without or going into debt to pay for medical treatment. It’s wrong.
“I believe in funding schools and hospitals before giving the top end of town bigger tax cuts. Labor will reverse cuts to hospitals and make massive new investments with our $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund.
“$6 million dollars will be put back into Central Victorian hospitals including $40,000 in increased funding for Heathcote Health.
“Labor will also reverse the Liberals’ cuts to schools. In the Bendigo electorate, schools will be $22 million better off; Heathcote Primary School gaining an additional $140,000.
“We know that 90 per cent of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years of life so it is vital families are given this support to get the best start for their children.
"Federal and state Labor will work together to guarantee permanent funding for preschool and kinder programs. This is the biggest investment ever made in early childhood education in Australia.
“From 2021, every three- and four-year-old in the Bendigo electorate will be able to access 15 hours of subsidised early childhood education and I know how excited many families will be about this.
"Labor also has a plan to improve the NBN. We will get more older Australians and low-income households connected and improve speeds and reliability for fibre to the node households.
"Labor will also better protect small businesses and consumers against excessive NBN downtime and review the economics of the NBN. These measures will make our country more modern and more inclusive.
“My focus is on making sure Central Victorians have the best opportunities. Labor’s Fair Go Action plan will fix our schools and hospitals, ease pressure on family budgets, stand up for workers, invest in cleaner cheaper energy and build a strong economy that works for all.”
For the full report grab a copy of Wednesday’s McIvor Times