Longtime Launceston-based health and nursing advocate Neroli Ellis has announced her candidacy for the Launceston seat on the Legislative Council.
For more than a decade, Ms Ellis has worked as the state secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, but this year, will try her hand at politics.
Ms Ellis, who will run as an independent, said when she first started her career, she never expected a career in politics might be in her future.
“I’ve always been really interested in affecting change and I’ve been working hard of behalf of members for the last 15 years to deliver outcomes,” she said.
“I see now that it’s a really good time to broaden that scope of influence.
“I’m passionate about Launceston and I think it’s got so much potential and it’s really time that Launceston had a really strong voice.”
Ms Ellis will compete for the seat against independent incumbent Rosemary Armitage, Labor candidate Brian Roe, and Greens candidate Emma Anglesey.
Ms Ellis, who was born in Launceston and is still an active community member in the area, she it would be a privilege to be elected.
She said, for her, it was the right time to enter politics and that her passion for representing nurses and healthcare would continue.
“Nurses are not political, being from all backgrounds and personally supporting different political parties,” Ms Ellis said.
“I have been able to represent their views and work with all parties to achieve positive outcomes in the best interest of members.
“Independence is vital in the Legislative Council to ensure unbiased review of legislation and serving the community’s best interest.”
Looking to other candidates, Mr Roe has said he wants to tackle health and education in Launceston, and to keep local talent in the region.
Ms Anglesey has promised to campaign for the arts, tourism, and Tasmania’s sensitive forests.
In her time on the Legislative Council, Ms Armitage has fought for Launceston healthcare and the LGH.
Ms Ellis said her focuses would include infrastructure improvements, economy, jobs, education, and health.
“As an early morning rower on the Tamar, I have experienced firsthand the poor state of the Tamar water and sewage systems. Our city cannot wait another 10 years for improvements,” Ms Ellis said.
“No one will fight harder for the Launceston General Hospital and our health system.
“We need to prevent hospital admissions but also focus on the funding the LGH to meeting the increasing demand.”
Voting is held on May 6.