Former mayor challenges safe Labor seat.
A popular former mayor of Darebin Council is to nominate for the seat of Preston in a community based-challenge to machine politics.
Gaetano Greco, a councillor of 14 years, says the Preston community has been taken for granted by the ALP and ignored by other major political parties.
Cr Greco says he has been encouraged to nominate by residents who want to see an end to political corruption and want action on issues in the electorate of Preston that have been overlooked.
A key issue, for which Cr Greco has been campaigning for more than 10 years, is that of saving the iconic Preston Market from being demolished and over developed. “The market is the beating heart and soul of Preston, a critical hub supplying fresh fruit and vegetable to our diverse and vibrant community.”
Cr Greco argues that the market should be in public hands like the Victoria Market and that Preston and Reservoir need an urgent upgrade of services and facilities.
“There is an urgent need for infrastructure investment such as the redevelopment of the Reservoir Leisure Centre with a 50-meter pool and in providing a 24/7 bulk billing health care services for the area.
“Ignoring the community on such an important issue would never happen in a marginal seat and it is not just a matter of playing catch up because there is a strong call for action for cheap and clean energy and affordable housing,” Cr Greco says.
Cr Greco says he knows the issues affecting Preston and Reservoir like the back of his hand and understands the needs and aspirations of its people.
He is critical of Labor for parachuting from Geelong a factional candidate for Preston to replace Robin Scott. “Once again, the ALP is putting its internal factional deals ahead of voters,“ Cr Greco says.
“As an Independent I am not beholden to a political party machine or big corporate donors”.
If elected, Cr Greco has pledged to peg his parliamentary salary (currently $192,115) to the average wage of a nurse or teacher (around $90,000) and donate $100,00 to help with food relief and services for the homeless of Preston and Reservoir.
Cr Greco, currently a serving councillor, is known for his hard work and dedication and achieved enormous community respect for having in the past donated half of his Councillor allowance to the community and rejecting a mayoral car.
Cr Greco says voters in safe seats at the recent Federal election wanted credible and authentic independents and he believes it was now time for an Independent in Preston.