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Candidates have their final say

By Mark Beale

WITH just two days to go until the state election of 2015, many people are still finalising their opinions on how to vote. As it is useful to know where each political party sits on the various issues important to an electorate, the Whitsunday Timesasked each of the five local candidates how they viewed the topics of jobs, law and order and the environment and Great Barrier Reef.

Jason Costigan – LNP

Jason Costigan.


THE LNP Government’s ‘Jobs of Tomorrow’ initiative will generate more than 200,000 jobs across the state.

After all, we’re promoting a four-pillar economy based on agriculture, construction, resources and tourism.

Tourism is crucial to Airlie Beach and under the LNP, we can significantly boost employment in this sector – by building a casino and new resorts on our islands and cutting red tape so the superyachts can come to town.

Before the last election, I vowed to lobby for the re-introduction of direct flights from interstate and we’ve done that. Ultimately, I can see international flights touching down in the Whitsundays.

In agriculture, I can see more jobs too by building one of my pet projects, the Urannah Dam, just 60 kilometres from Proserpine.

Law and order

THE LNP Government brought in Australia’s toughest anti-hooning laws [as well as] nation-leading laws to fight criminal gangs and harsher penalties for people who seriously assault police officers.

Without doubt, we have taken a hard line to organised crime and we make no apology for that.

We have seen crime figures come down and as a result, Queensland families feel much safer.

We’re on track to deliver on our pre-election commitment to have an extra 1100 police officers on the beat and our part of the world has been getting its fair share.

Not only that, we’re giving the police more technology to do their jobs.

We’ve also funded a new water police vessel for the Whitsundays, replacing the oldest vessel in the fleet – another Labor legacy – and for the benefit of both locals and tourists, we’ve delivered a ‘Safe Night Precinct’ for Airlie Beach – a great outcome for locals and tourists.

Environment and the reef

IN conjunction with our federal colleagues, the LNP Government has developed a 35-year plan to protect the reef and we’ve committed to confining port development up and down the coast.

Had Labor won the last state election, the dredge spoil from Abbot Point would have been 13 times more than what is actually proposed now.

We’ve listened to the tourism industry, the fishing industry and the wider community and hence this new focus of putting dredge spoil on land.

The LNP introduced the ‘Everyone’s Environment’ funding program and in the latest round, nearly $92,000 came through for Libby Edge’s Eco Barge Clean Seas in recognition of their work in protecting our environment.

We have also funded best management practice (BMPs) programs for the sugar and grazing industries to minimise run-off in reef catchments. Smartcane BMP, which secured $3.5 million from the LNP Government, was actually launched in the electorate of Whitsunday.

Bronwyn Taha – Labor

Bronwyn Taha.


EVERY day, the Whitsunday community raises unemployment and job security as the issues that concern them most.

They’re particularly concerned about the lack of opportunities for our young people, who are struggling to find work.

Before the 2012 state election, Campbell Newman and the LNP said they had a plan to get Queensland heading towards a 4 per cent jobless rate.

Instead, their funding cuts and mass sackings have led to slower economic growth and fewer jobs.

The state unemployment rate is currently 6.9 per cent while regional youth unemployment has skyrocketed to 8.6 per cent. The LNP has no plan to turn this around.

 Law and order

LABOR has a range of policies focused on law reform and public safety. These range from reforming ridiculous anti-association laws, to tackling alcohol-fuelled violence and delivering harsher penalties to convicted perpetrators of domestic violence.

A Labor Government would reintroduce the sentencing advisory council.

This body would give the community a stronger voice on matters of criminal sentencing in Queensland and would provide recommendations on sentencing issues, particularly for serious crimes. Although these recommendations would not be binding, they would offer judges an insight into the community attitudes towards particular crimes.

The fact that the LNP voted in favour of the legislation which established the Council in 2010, but proceeded to repeal it in Government, suggests that they are not serious about evidence based policy in this area, but are more concerned about petty politics.

Environment and reef

IT was a proud day for me when I stood beside Annastacia Palaszczuk as she announced that Labor would protect the Great Barrier Reef for future generations.

Not only is the reef a great natural wonder, it is also the lifeblood of Whitsunday with reef tourism delivering $6 billion to the Queensland economy each year.

At the end of the day, Labor is the only political party in Queensland with a track record of delivering real outcomes to protect the Reef.

In stark contrast, Campbell Newman’s plan for the reef could see more than 10 million cubic metres of dredge spoil dumped onto the reef, threatening our tourism industry and the environment.

Labor will ban the dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, allocate $100 million to fund water quality and other sustainability programs and lobby the Federal Government to provide a similar boost in funding to protect the reef.

Kylee Stanton – Palmer United Party

Kylee Stanton


I TRULY believe that small to medium business and agriculture are the backbone of our economy.

While we still need to provide job seekers with training opportunities and ongoing educational opportunities, if we don’t start looking after our small business sector, there will be fewer employment opportunities for our region.

Small businesses in the Whitsunday electorate are struggling for many reasons, but having spoken with small business owners in the community, the common theme seems to be excessively high rent on premises, Workcover and their lack of choices to obtain it, and the ever-increasing cost of electricity.

For some industries, rates and other council permits also need to be revised, as these too become a significant burden to small business.

Should I be elected, I will be pushing for concessions for small business in hardship in an effort to maintain the viability of local small business and thus increase the availability of local employment opportunities.

The Palmer United Party would like to see the introduction of zonal taxation to encourage small businesses into regional areas and thus build a flourishing economy for the area.

Law and order

AIRLIE Beach is top of the list when speaking about Safe Night Precincts in Queensland. This is a great win for the Whitsunday community, especially when promoting our beautiful area from a tourism point of view.

It cannot stay a SNP however, without the tireless efforts from our hard working police force and it is essential that we ensure we have enough of a police presence in the region.

If elected, I will work closely with our mayor to understand the level of protection we require in Airlie Beach and be the voice we need in parliament to achieve this. The synthetic drugs market is also on the rise throughout Queensland and now with hospital admissions and a death in both Mackay and Townsville over the past week, it is imperative we address this on the central coast.

I would love to see a task force set up for Queensland’s Central Coast to stop the distribution of these highly dangerous and illegal products.

Environment and the reef

I AM passionate about the protection of the reef and both myself and the Palmer Party are vehemently opposed to the dredging and dumping of spoil in the region.

There are other options that have not even been sufficiently addressed in this area and I will be working tirelessly to ensure that a full feasibility analysis is carried out to support safer options.

It has also been brought to my attention this week that due to minimum fillet sizes set for recreational fisherman, they cannot fillet their fish out at sea and therefore bring it back to land.

This is having adverse affects on our environment as people are dumping their fish scraps on the beach, attracting sharks, stonefish and stingrays, and in charity bins and industrial bins [as well as] in our creeks and estuaries, creating further problems for our all important ecosystems and the environment.

It is time for a review of our recreational fishing regulations.

Tony Fontes – Greens

Tony Fontes.


THE Greens are committed to job diversity. The Whitsunday region is a diverse region offering a range of sustainable employment opportunities including tourism, hospitality, agriculture, education, health, retail, energy and construction.

Many of our local employment opportunities, such as tourism and hospitality, rely on a healthy Great Barrier Reef.

Past and current governments have allowed the reef to decline, threatening the viability of the tourism industry.

The Greens are committed to protecting the reef through improving water quality by banning dredge spoil dumping in all waters and wetlands of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Greens are also committed to taking effective action on climate change to protect the reef.

By moving to a low carbon economy through a just transition to renewable energy [we] will also be a driver of sustainable employment for our region.

A healthy environment will lead to healthy employment.

Law and order

THE Greens understand that law, order and public safety are vitally important to our community.

The Whitsunday community is mostly concerned with the prevention of alcohol-fuelled violence, property theft, domestic violence, drink driving and drug related crime, which has increased over the past few years.

The Greens promote social policies which address the causes of crime and limit the social impact of crime.

The Greens will encourage bars and nightclubs to close at 2am, facilitate counselling programs, neighbourhood watch programs and help maintain strong drug and gun control measures.

The Greens appreciate that providing a safe community while protecting civil liberties and human rights is often a difficult job for the Queensland Police Force. However, any trend toward a militarised style of policing should be resisted.

The Greens encourage policies that emphasise the resolution of situations without the use of force wherever possible.

Environment and reef

IN the Whitsundays, our environment is crucial to a healthy economy.

Only the Greens can be trusted to protect the reef and catchment as our policies will ensure our environment’s long-term health.

We will ban all dredge spoil dumping in the waters of the reef and adjacent wetlands.

The Greens will continue to work with the farming and grazing communities to help them improve practices to reduce runoff from their properties.

We will empower local governments to enforce sediment and erosion control regulations.

The Greens will work to mitigate the impacts of climate change by reducing our carbon emissions and introducing a just transition to renewable energy.

Looking inland, our policies will protect our farmland and groundwater from rampant coal and CSG mining.

We will ensure the use of natural resources will be sustainable and not compromise the integrity or availability of such resources for other species and natural processes.

Dan Van Blarcom – Independent

Dan Van Blarcom.


CASUAL about work?

No, I am not casual about work – [I] started at 16, learned some trades and helped my last apprentices into good spots. But those jobs are getting thin now and I’m a better student.

The “not always better paid” casualisation of work, fewer “regular” jobs, is due to economic mismanagement and lack of leadership.

When big government, big business, and media look after each other and not you, it is called crony capitalism, or “crapitalism”, greased by all manner of laws, restrictions and bureaucracy. It is not free enterprise, stifles initiative and is anti-competitive.

The major parties blame each other, but they are responsible for the lack of jobs and the tough economy they brought on through poor management of our ‘lucky country’.

Independent people can work to bring on good regional development and real jobs will follow. Let’s improve our real world in 2015.

Law and order

[I AM a] street-wise Independent.

Until last weekend I was working night shift as a security officer around Airlie Beach and the waterfront.

Police, security, ambulance and fire service personnel have been working together with venue staff showing that the Safe Night Out Strategy is a good concept.

As a street-wise Independent candidate, I welcome the introduction of individual counselling to make it clear bad behaviour won’t be tolerated and recognise that everyone has a role to play – patrons, venues, communities – coming together to create a safe, vibrant culture for our Whitsunday night-life and lifestyle.

Police on the street in Safe Night Precincts really works and my experience is that officers have been well received especially by the average person who just wants to enjoy a night out with friends and family.

We are all working to ‘red card’ anti-social behaviour.

If you can’t play nice, you’re out of the game.

Environment and the reef

HAVING spent a fair bit of time at sea as a ship’s captain I know what is needed to run a small self contained environment called a ‘ship’.

A ship’s operation is like a town, there are people; passengers and crew. Everyone needs the stuff of life and yes there is waste that must be treated.

The safe, efficient operation of our ship is the micro version of the ship of state.

On board we have used solar power for many years so now I have solar on my roof at home.

The state government must support solar and innovation like sugar mill co-generation and ethanol.

Unhappily, the state government has an uncompetitive strangle hold through ownership of Ergon leading to 114 per cent cost increases in five years for sugar mills and 96 per cent for irrigators.

How can we be competitive when the government isn’t?

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