FORMER state MP Licia Kokocinski has been announced as Hepburn Shire Council's new Coliban Ward councillor following a by-election.
Cr Kokocinski received 32.59 per cent of first preference votes ahead of candidate John McLaren on 30.89 per cent.
Cr Kokocinski served as a member of the Labor Party from 1988 to 1996 and will now represent the Coliban Ward, which encompasses Trentham, Lyonville and Bullarto, until the next election in October 2020.
Cr Kokocinski told The Courier she was very proud and pleased to have been elected as a councillor.
"I will be putting in 100 per cent to ensure we can progress the issues rate payers deserve in this ward," she said.
On the issues she will address immediately, Cr Kokocinski said she will be focusing on rate equity.
"Rate equity is a top issue in this area. Residents here [in Coliban Ward] are tired of not seeing their paid rates returned to them in capital works."
She said other issues like population planning and addressing the low rates of immunisation were also high on her list of priorities.
"The data used for population planning is quite old or ad hoc. As a councillor we should be working to get some consistency," she said.
Cr Kokocinski said she would like to see the council take a lead role in increasing immunisation rates following its decision to cancel free monthly childhood immunisation services last year.
"I was appalled to learn they reduced the availability and avenues through which people could access immunisations. I think we have to halt and reverse that. I don't think we can sit by and see babies and children's health at risk because we have such a low immunisation rate in this shire."
Two other candidates - Brian Hood and David Reilly - also ran as candidates.
The by-election was called following the resignation of long-standing councillor Sebastian Klein earlier this year.
Read more: By-election called for Coliban Ward
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