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Jason Costigan declares seat of Whitsunday

By Mark Beale

UPDATE:

The Electoral Commission Queensland has now officially declared Jason Costigan as the Member for Whitsunday.

The LNP candidate finished with 50.58 per cent of the vote (after preferences) – just 313 votes ahead of Labor’s Bronwyn Taha.

11.40am:

LNP candidate Jason Costigan has claimed victory in the seat of Whitsunday.

Mr Costigan posted “We won” on social media shortly after 11.30am.

11am:

IT’S still anyone’s game!

The announcement for the seat of Whitsunday is expected to be announced at 11am with Bronwyn Taha making an announcement shortly after.

Labor is expected to be as little as 100 votes behind the LNP.

The seat has not been conceded or claimed by any party since counting began.

LNP incumbent Jason Costigan said the most recent information he had put the LNP in front.

But he would await the final tally before making any announcement.

EARLIER:

THE deadline for the return of postal ballots has now come and gone but there is still no clear winner in the political battle for Whitsunday.

For the past few days the Electoral Commission Queensland’s two-party preferred count has remained the same, with a difference of just 313 votes between Jason Costigan (LNP) and Bronwyn Taha (Labor), and Mr Costigan just ahead.

Mr Costigan says he is still confident of retaining the seat, which he won in a landslide victory at the state election of 2012.

Nonetheless, he knows his party’s position across the state is tenuous.

“If we do [keep the seat], I will be one of only three LNP MPs along the coast north of Bundaberg,” he said.

“Our newly elected leader Lawrence Sprinborg is certainly well aware of that and it is my hope and expectation that we will start afresh and re-engage with the people of regional Queensland.”

Mr Costigan wanted to remind Ms Taha that “we fared much better than what she’s made out”.

“Sure we copped a kick up the bum across the state but if you look closely at the results, my primary vote went down by about 2.6 per cent, which stacks up extremely well compared to many of my former and current colleagues,” he said.

Ms Taha meanwhile said she was just waiting for “a correct figure”.

“It’s a difficult time [but] I respect that the ECQ will have a result for us sooner rather than later so the voters can have closure,” she said.

Ms Taha said if she were elected some of her first acts would be to look into the Proserpine BP station and address issues relating to youth unemployment and mental health.

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