Martha brings ideas and energy to Labor campaign

MARTHA Haylett does not underestimate the job ahead of her.

Late last year, 31-year-old Ms Haylett was preselected to run as Labor’s candidate in Ripon at the 2022 state election.

She’s no stranger to politics, having once worked as an advisor to the Premier Daniel Andrews and other ministers.

And while on paper Ripon is a good prospect for Labor with a buffer of 2.8% (the result of redrawn boundaries) Ms Haylett said her opponent Louise Staley still has the advantage.

Martha Haylett grew up in Castlemaine and moved to Melbourne when she was 18 to chase education and work opportunities.

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While there, she developed an interest in politics and found herself working at the heart of government within the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

In recent years she has worked as a housing advocate for Homes Victoria and lives in Yandoit near Creswick.

“Growing up in country Victoria, moving away from it and then moving back to it, I’ve seen what’s in the city and I really wanted to come back with my fiancé Sam,” she said.

“As a country person, I’m very passionate about country and rural communities being heard loudly on Spring Street,” Ms Haylett said.

“As a teenager, I had a lot of friends in Maryborough growing up, I’d regularly go to places like Avoca and Clunes, I’m familiar with a lot of the Ripon communities and I’m very keen to get to know every single town, they all deserve good representation in parliament,” she said.

Ms Haylett said a lot has been done to improve the liveability of towns in Ripon, but more is needed.

“I think there has been a lot of work done improving heath services, improving schools, delivering specific projects like the restoration of Ararat Outdoor Pool, but I think there is still a sense in some of these communities that a lot more needs to be done, especially around secure jobs, housing supply and affordable housing for workforces.”

Ms Haylett said she also wants to be a champion for better roads.

“We need to do so much more with regional roads, improving them and not just doing temporary patch jobs, but actually really improving the infrastructure,” Ms Haylett said.

People within the Labor Party privately agree they “botched” the last two elections with the wrong choice of candidate, but Ms Haylett hopes hard work and a strong campaign will mean third time lucky.

“Ripon deserves a Labor representative to be in the caucus room fighting for Ripon and advocating for Ripon. I can have the ear of ministers instead of throwing stones from the outside.” she said.

Ms Haylett said she isn’t taking anything for granted, and admits she has a big mountain to climb.

“I think it will be a tough year, it will be a busy year, I’m obviously new to this, I’ve never done it before and my opponent has the benefit of incumbency but I think that Labor has a good message for Ripon and I can bring a lot of fresh ideas and energy to the role,” Ms Haylett said.

The boundaries of the Ripon electorate in 2022 look somewhat different to the 2018 version.

Stawell, Donald and Charlton have been removed from the electorate and replaced with towns on the Glenelg Highway leading to Ballarat.

The electorate includes the norther half of Ararat Rural City, all of Pyrenees and Central Goldfields Shires and parts of Corangamite, Golden Plains, Loddon and Northern Grampians Shires and the western outskirts of the City of Ballarat.

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