Former South Barwon MP to contest state election

Former South Barwon MP Andrew Katos (Tommy Ritchie) 123055_01

Ash Bolt

Former South Barwon MP Andrew Katos has confirmed he will run against incumbent Darren Cheeseman in an effort to reclaim his former seat at this year’s state election.

Mr Katos, who represented South Barwon in state parliament from 2010 to 2018, announced last week he had been preselected by the Liberal Party.

“I am deeply honoured and humbled to have been preselected and endorsed as the Liberal candidate for South Barwon in the upcoming 2022 State election,” he said.

“My deep passion for the South Barwon electorate stems from my lifetime connection to this community, having grown up here, and now raising my family in the same community.”

Mr Katos said he wanted to see greater diversity in representation across the region, which was largely represented by Labor MPs.

“At present there is widespread Labor representation at the state level across the Geelong region. This has resulted in a lack of leadership, vision and ideas, and a government that takes our community for granted,” he said.

“We need a change in direction, with a Liberal government returning fairness, honesty and accountability to the people of Victoria.

“I look forward to working with the people of South Barwon to represent their views, needs, and aspirations in the Victorian Parliament if I am elected.”

He also said he had concerns with the state government’s COVID response.

“I have strong concerns about how the Andrews government has handled the COVID pandemic over what has been a long and difficult two-year period,” he said.

“There have been enormous impacts resulting from this government’s decisions on small businesses, jobs, and essential workers, as well as negative impacts on children’s schooling and education, and the mental health of the people of South Barwon.”

Mr Katos received 37.61 per cent of first preference votes at the 2018 election, a decrease of 8.64 per cent, and ultimately lost to Mr Cheeseman in the two-party preferred tally by just under 4500 votes.

The electorate will undergo some boundary changes at the election, shifting more towards Geelong.

It will gain voters in Belmont, but will lose Torquay.

During his eight years in parliament, Mr Katos highlighted the Waurn Ponds Police Station and SES facilities, Waurn Ponds railway station, and upgrades at schools and sporting clubs as his greatest achievements.

The state election is expected to be held on November 26.