It all started with a slug

I never wanted to be a politician, yet I am now running as an independent in Mulgrave’s seat. I call on Greek Australians in the electorate to support me.

In February 2019, my family catering business, I Cook Foods, was shut down by the then acting health director, Professor Brett Sutton, who said a slug had been found in my business. It was later revealed that this was not true. There’s no way the slug could have gotten into the kitchen on its own.

I fought for three years to successfully prove that the slug couldn’t get into the kitchen. And in the process, I lost everything.

Forty-one workers lost their jobs and my family lost everything we had worked for over the past 25 years.

I Cook Foods was a direct business rival to a state and local government-owned catering company called Community Chef.

I don’t believe the slug problem is a coincidence. Community Chef was going bankrupt and closing my business seems to have been a way for them to take over the contracts from I Cook Foods.

The slug the council claims has food, something the owners claim was photographed. Photo: Supplied

I felt I had to do more to protect small business families, like many Greek families in the area. So I decided to run as a freelancer in Mulgrave.

The people of Mulgrave deserve a local MP who believes in integrity and democracy, who listens to the electorate and responds to their needs.

My children were born in Mulgrave Hospital and attended a local school. My business was in Dandenong and I lived in Mulgrave until I had to sell my house when my business closed. Through my business and my family, I have developed close ties with this community and many Greeks in the community.

I Cook Foods provided services for Meals on Wheels, in Mulgrave and across Victoria. I also developed new food technology out of respect for the elderly so that their meals, which had to be pureed, tasted good and looked appetizing, so they could eat with dignity.

The elders of the Greek community, and of all communities, are building strong foundations for their children and grandchildren. However, they can be left behind, especially when services and information require a computer or smartphone.

Older people struggle to access support and resources. It is important to me that these people are treated with respect and not left behind or ignored by politicians from both major parties.

As a father and small business owner, I know how difficult it is to support our families and manage the rising cost of living.

I cook food. Photo: Twitter

Maintaining jobs, small businesses and independent traders is important in Mulgrave, a constituency rich in cultural diversity and a diversity of small businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of this electorate and the state.

After blowing billions during the pandemic, from 2020 to 2021, the Labor government is raising our very high property tax rates. These taxes are a huge burden on people. Labor will not admit that this will further increase the cost of everything.

If elected, I will fight against these tax increases to help reduce the cost of living. I will focus on services for the elderly and do my best to support small businesses – the cornerstone of the Greek community in the region.

I care about the issues affecting the people of Mulgrave. The door to my constituency office will always be open and I will listen.

I will do my best to show the Greek Australians of Mulgrave how hardworking, caring and efficient a real local Member of State Parliament can be.

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