Richard Riordan’s vision
My vision for Polwarth is one of a strong community with sustainable and positive growth, inspired by the many entrepreneurs, farmers, educators and hardworking people of Polwarth. I will work hard to support those who wish to make their home here and I am proud to have been given the opportunity to continue my family’s tradition of creating a strong future for Polwarth.
Polwarth is a rich and diverse region that stretches from the southern coastline, through the rainforests of the Otway’s, the verdant dairy country of the southwest and on to the immense volcanic plains of the western district that reach northwards towards the Great Dividing Range.
Aboriginal tribes lived across Polwarth for thousands of years and many families continue their connection to country. European settlement began in the 1830’s when the region was recognised for its fertile farming land and abundant timber forests, which continue to provide a variety of opportunities for local families to grow and prosper.
Polwarth has a history of risk taking, having a go against the odds, of success and survival through tough times, of enterprise and building business empires, of adaptation and endeavour that is typical of the spirit of all those who call this region their home as they strive to leave a legacy for their children and grandchildren.
My family has a direct connection to this spirit of hard work and commitment. My paternal Great Grandfather came to Polwarth as a young Englishman in the 1800’s to make a new start and create a better life for his family. W. T Parker established himself in the community and was involved in farming, education and the environment, a tradition that lives on through his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who have all inherited his love of the land and his strong business acumen.
Polwarth is a large electorate of 12,561 square kilometres with a growing population made up of generations of local families and those new arrivals who are seeking out this wonderful region because of the strong employment opportunities and the sense of connection that binds together the various communities making up this broad landscape.
Over six million overseas and domestic visitors come to Polwarth each year to experience the beauty of the southern ocean, the majesty of the vast rainforests and the breathtaking vistas that are the great volcanic plains. Popular coastal towns like Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Campbell provide rest stops for visitors along the Great Ocean Road and are considered to be some of the world’s most beautiful seaside holiday towns visited by many on their way to the iconic Twelve Apostles. Award winning operators such as Dan Hunter at Brae, the Talimanidis family of Lorne, the many boutique wineries, bakeries and breweries, restaurants of the highest quality and local country flavoured festivals and shows, all contribute to making Polwarth a popular tourist destination.
The many and diverse towns that form the electorate of Polwarth include Airey’s Inlet, Anglesea, Apollo Bay, Bannockburn, Barwon Downs, Beeac, Beech Forest, Birregurra, Camperdown, Cobden, Colac, Coragulac, Cressy, Deans Marsh, Derrinallum, Forrest, Inverleigh, Lismore, Lorne, Mortlake, Noorat, Peterborough, Pirron Yallock, Port Campbell, Rokewood, Simpson, Skipton, Terang, Timboon, Winchelsea and Wye River. All with their own unique characteristics that contribute to the life and community of this bountiful region.
Polwarth is also a place that is rich in enterprise, productivity, innovation and manufacturing. This vibrant area is home to numerous producers of significant amounts of dairy products, timber, livestock and grain supplying the domestic and export markets of the world. Colac, in the heart of Polwarth, has recently been identified as Australia’s most self-sustainable town and the whole region is seen as a place where communities can thrive and employment opportunities abound.