A Thornton farmer and tourist operator will contest the seat of Eildon at the State Election as a Greens candidate.
Ken Deacon put his hand up ahead of the November poll.
He visited the Alexandra and Rubicon area for holidays when he was a boy and was delighted when in 1975 he was appointed to Alexandra for his first appointment as a physical education teacher. After four years teaching at the Bogong school camp, Mr Deacon was appointed to the Rubicon School Camp Outdoor Centre.
He’s been farming cattle and running Rubicon Valley Riding with partner Di Robb for almost 30 years, while raising three daughters.
Mr Deacon said he was passionate about the need to develop Eildon, Alexandra and the Rubicon as prime tourist destinations and the potential of eco and forest tourism as an economic mainstay in the region.
He is distressed about the impact of widespread clear-fell logging on biodiversity and on a potentially-vibrant tourist industry.
“Intensive logging in the forest has had a huge impact on our family business,” Mr Deacon said.
“There are no more multi-day rides, as the places we rode through have gone.
“Where we once rode through pristine forest is now logging coups, and regenerated forest is often choked with blackberries.
“There has been a lack of consultation with the local community about the destruction of the forest and the damage to the waterways.
“Eildon is a popular tourist destination, for waterways, fishing, spectacular ash forests, hiking, mountain biking, four-wheel driving, local markets and small rural towns.
“The protection of these features is essential for the long-term future of our tourism industry and the well-being of our community.”
Mr Deacon said he’d work to ensure the area’s natural beauty was protected.
“I will also work to bring about more frequent and accessible public transport within the region, and improved mental health services,” he said.
“I will push for policies to better protect water catchments and investigate ways of boosting jobs and housing for young people.”