Hi, I'm Dean, your candidate for Eastern Victoria.
I’m running for Reason for Eastern Victoria because I believe in what Reason stands for: evidence-based policy and common sense, fairness and equality, and empathy and care.
I'm a writer and hospitality worker with a passion for music and the arts. I have lived in East Gippsland, Gunnaikurnai Country, for the last three years.
As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I have seen the enormous challenges faced by young LGBTQIA+ people in regional Victoria, particularly with regard to mental health and well-being. The entire state is in the midst of a mental health emergency, but the situation is especially dire in regional Victoria, with minimal mental health care services, no specialists, and excessive wait times. This is completely unacceptable. As your representative for Eastern Victoria, I will advocate for increased funding for permanent mental health care services throughout regional Victoria.
I also happen to be a neurodivergent person living with ADHD. On a daily basis, I personally experience the challenges faced by neurodiverse people living in a neurotypical world. Employment, studying, socialising, family relationships, romantic relationships, and even day-to-day errands can be much more difficult for neurodivergent people than neurotypical people. There simply is not enough support, particularly in regional Victoria, for neurodiverse people, and many feel left behind or forgotten by society. I will work to raise awareness and understanding of neurodiversity and increase support services, especially with regard to education, employment, and health care, to remove the barriers neurodiverse people throughout regional Victoria face every day.
Regional Victoria has also been experiencing a drug crisis for a number of years. Health issues relating to drugs and alcohol are roughly 2% higher than the Victorian average. There simply are not enough specialist services for people experiencing drug and alcohol issues, resulting in increased disadvantage and risk factors for other health issues. Regional Victoria is well-placed to explore innovative and progressive drug law reform because what we have done in the past and what we are doing now has clearly not worked. In fact, Eastern Victoria has seen an increase in drug and alcohol-related health issues and criminal offences, proving that current measures aren’t just ineffective; they’re possibly making the problem worse. It's time to start treating drug dependency as a health issue, not a criminal one.
As more and more city folk relocate to regional Victoria, I have seen a growing demand for a progressive voice in what is a typically conservative area. There are many people in this community who are desperate to have their voices heard. I would be honoured to be your voice in Parliament as your Reason candidate for Eastern Victoria.