By Kyra Gillespie
Amy Gregorovich has thrown her hat back into the political ring as the Greens candidate for La Trobe.
She was the first candidate excluded from the running for the seat of Gembrook in last year’s state election; her 4667 fire preference votes then went to Labor candidate Michael Galea.
Gembrook Liberal MP Brad Battin won with an overwhelming 21,202 first preference votes, trumping Labor by 17.3 per cent in first preference votes.
But Amy is undeterred by the defeat, running against longstanding Liberal MP Jason Wood and Labor candidate Simon Curtis for the La Trobe seat.
The university student is currently earning her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Human Geography and posits herself and her party as “a progressive alternative to the major parties.”
“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to stand up against two people who are so well-established in the community and be the progressive alternative,” Ms Gregorovich said of running against Wood and Curtis.
“Growing up I’ve always seen Jason Wood around and I don’t always agree with his beliefs.
“I’d love for the area to become more sustainable and environmentally focused, more inclusive of diversity and of different cultural groups.
“But I’m more interested in talking to the community to see what they are wanting and to support them in their goals. I’m just here to represent them.”
Climate change will be a big ticket issue of focus for the young political hopeful.
“Underlying all of this is the issue of our time: climate change. Australia has just had the hottest summer on record, with flooding and bushfires, and we’re facing the prospect that this will become the norm.
“Our politicians are still debating whether climate change is even real, let alone take real action.”
The La Trobe electorate covers a majority of the Bunyip State Park.
Following the recent devastation of the fires, environmentalists who forced parts of the park to be closed off have been at the forefront of criticism about forest mismanagement. This was put to Ms Gregorovich.
“A lot of the media that got released at the time used images that were not from the Bunyip State Park, but from logging areas,” she said.
“The Greens are all for promoting both safe community and looking after habitat.
“A lot of the academic reports coming out are looking at trying to balance strict bushfire management and protecting species. I’d be interested in reviewing that in the local area, to see what went wrong and what we can do better to prevent such a huge fire in the future.”
Alongside her studies, Ms Gregorovich works at Casey Cardinia Libraries and volunteers for multiple community advocacy groups.
As a member for La Trobe, she says she wants to “help build a future for all of us.”
“I know that poor planning is putting our community under pressure, our transport is congested, housing is unaffordable, energy prices are skyrocketing, and our environment is suffering as a result.
“Politicians have forgotten that they represent people — not themselves and their big donors.”
Amy is proud to be a young person in politics.
“I don’t see being young as being a barrier; we have such a huge number of young people in the community who deserve to be represented.
“When I first enrolled to vote, I realised there was not a huge diversity of ages or cultures, and that needs to change in the future. I want to be part of that change.”