DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Mayor Bill Ludwig and Councillor Jan Kelly are proud supporters of Livingstone Shire Council's proactive approach towards tackling Domestic and Family Violence, through the educational and awareness training sessions with Lifeline Australia.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Mayor Bill Ludwig and Councillor Jan Kelly are proud supporters of Livingstone Shire Council's proactive approach towards tackling Domestic and Family Violence, through the educational and awareness training sessions with Lifeline Australia.

BIG READ: Keppel candidates address Livingstone's wish list

AT THE start of the month, Livingstone Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig released his top 10 hit list for state election funding to the Keppel candidates.

Cr Ludwig wants to see all political parties guarantee Livingstone Shire at least the same level of "exceptional funding support” his community has received over recent years from both the State and Federal Governments.

READ: The top 10 projects Livingstone council says we must have

This wish list gave each of the candidates the opportunity to extensively lay out their platforms on the following key issues essential for developing the region.

1. Critical infrastructure funding for GKI - water, power, waste water treatment plant and tourist/commuter jetty.

2. Funding to undertake the dredging and a master-planned revitalisation of Causeway Lake.

3. Dedicated major boat ramp and barge loading at Ritamada to service GKI construction phase and ongoing service needs as well as the growing recreational boating needs of the region.

4. Funding to support the establishment and incorporation of a CQU Disaster Training Centre of Excellence in the soon-to-be-completed Local Disaster Control Centre and Community Resilience Hub.

5. Cooee Bay Aquatic Centre to complement the multi-sports precincts at Barmaryee and Emu Park.

6. Moving of council chambers and Yeppoon library to the old railway site in the Yeppoon CBD to activate the town centre.

7. Stage 6 of the Yeppoon Foreshore to create a 'fishermen's wharf' precinct and staged footbridge to Merv Andersen Park.

8. Seed-funding for the staged development of a new showground and integrated equestrian precinct for the Capricorn Coast.

9. The Rookwood Weir project for the benefit of primary production and region.

10. A commitment from all sides of politics to continue funding programs like Works For Queensland that provide full funding without the need for communities to find matching dollars for projects like rural road networks.

If you would like to get a feel for the Keppel candidate's various approaches, The Morning Bulletin has extensively listed their responses followed by Cr Ludwig's feedback at the bottom of the story.

1. Critical infrastructure funding for GKI - water, power, waste water treatment plant and tourist/commuter jetty

Brittany Lauga - Labor:

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga
Labor's candidate for Keppel Brittany Lauga Trish Bowman

We have announced a $25 million GKI recovery package comprising power and water connections to the mainland, sewerage treatment, a public jetty and boat ramp and additional public amenities including toilets.

This commitment has already been warmly welcomed by Mayor Ludwig and the Livingstone Shire Council as "one of the most significant investments in the history of the Capricorn Coast” and a "game changer.”

The Mayor also acknowledged that the Palaszczuk Government had already invested a combined $35 million towards foreshore revitalisation projects and tourism related infrastructure on the Capricorn Coast and total funding of more than $60 million for the council's priority projects.

Peter Blundell - LNP:

FRENCHVILLE INFRASTRUCTURE: LNP Candidate Peter Blundell has plans to fix the traffic congestion in front of Frenchville School.
LNP Candidate Peter Blundell. Leighton Smith

I do not support using $25 million plus matched ratepayer funding for GKI when we have the opportunity to have this built by the private sector. Kate Jones was very clear that the funding needed to be matched so it's not a free handout. I think the people of Keppel have seen through the blatant pork barrelling and given their track record, I don't think they can be trusted in the future. They have had three years to take action on GKI yet wait until an election is called to make more empty promises.

The use or misuse of the word 'matched' is mere semantics; swap it out for co-contribution if need be but the fact remains that this project is not fully costed, approved or planned and ratepayers will pay the difference.  

I know from government funded projects in Coffs Harbour, Dundee and from working on water projects for many years that a half attractive jetty will need at least $5 million, power and water about $27 million and a boat ramp that works in shallow water at least $4.8 million - plus sewerage and connections. 

Have Labor committed to $25million, or to whatever costs arise? If plans and approvals are in place, why have they waited for an election to get started? I know the community are keen to see these plans so they know how it will impact the main beach - Tower abandoned the Jetty because the community said it would ruin the look of Main Beach.

Matt Loth - One Nation:

One Nation candidate for the seat of Keppel Matt Loth
One Nation candidate for Keppel Matt Loth Trish Bowman

I've long committed to the critical development of Great Keppel Island and there is no greater proponent with approvals in place to take care of tourism and public facilities than Tower Holdings. The Mayor and Councillors should be standing shoulder to shoulder with me on this project, instead of lobbying candidates to commit to funding that won't be required should Tower Holdings be granted the integrated gaming licence of 35 tables. 

Clancy Mullbrick - Greens:

Greens candidate Clancy Mullbrick
Greens candidate for Keppel Clancy Mullbrick

The Keppel Greens have long supported the re-opening of the GKI resort as an Eco-friendly, family oriented resort on its original footprint. GKI is already one of Queensland's most visited islands - tourists love it's natural, unspoilt beauty. I strongly support the funding of water, power and waste water treatment plant on the proviso they are state of the art, renewable and self-contained on the island in keeping with that natural beauty. Tower Holdings was in breach of its lease from the time it closed that resort and their lease should be immediately rescinded. I strongly support funding for a tourist /commuter jetty ASAP.

2. Funding to undertake the dredging and a master-planned revitalisation of Causeway Lake

Brittany Lauga - Labor:

Funding from the Palaszczuk Government was awarded to Livingstone Shire Council to advance the Causeway Lake master plan toward shovel-ready status.

I'm committed to working with Council to develop a submission for funding through programs such as Works for Queensland and Building Our Regions, as well as attracting private sector buy-in.

Council presented its initial concept plans for the Causeway Lake to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Treasurer Curtis Pitt earlier this year where both showed great interest and enthusiasm for the concept plan as a potential project for which the State could provide partner funding.

As a boatie I was pleased to see the completion of the upgrade of the boat ramp at Causeway Lake as part of $677,000 worth of boat ramp upgrades in CQ funded by the Palaszczuk Government.

I have heard this boat ramp upgrade has been well received by boaties who are making good use of the improved facilities. The rebuild saw the facility brought up to current standards and has greatly improved safety features.

Peter Blundell - LNP:

Causeway Lake is a project I support and after discussions with engineers and community members there may be more opportunity to expand this into a marine precinct on top of the needed dredging. I have already discussed this with shadow ministers and will undertake community consultation to inform a master plan for this. 

Matt Loth - One Nation:

The people of Keppel have my commitment towards dredging the Causeway Lake. I live near the Causeway and I've watched the silting issue make large areas of the lake become dangerous to watercraft like jet skis and boats. They bottom out, ruin props and ruin peoples day. I'd like to see the dredging a priority for Keppel, along with Councils revitalisation of the foreshore and parks. 

Clancy Mullbrick - Greens:

I support funding for a Causeway Lake rescue. As an artificial impoundment, a solution to ongoing siltation must be found, whether that is a second inlet at the southern end of the causeway, careful dredging of the acid sulphate silt or revegetation of the catchment to reduce erosion and improve water quality. The village feel, natural vegetation, heritage and open spaces must be respected and preserved.

3. Dedicated major boat ramp and barge loading at Ritamada to service GKI construction phase and ongoing service needs as well as the growing recreational boating needs of the region

Brittany Lauga - Labor:

I will work with Livingstone Shire Council to apply to the Marine Infrastructure Fund for a dedicated major boat ramp and barge loading facility at Ritamada. A re-elected Palaszczuk Labor Government will invest $30m to extend the popular Marine Infrastructure Fund.

The Palaszczuk Government is improving boat ramps, floating walkways, pontoons and channel access across Central Queensland and this announcement guarantees better, safer, boating infrastructure for decades to come.

Peter Blundell - LNP:

I know Bill is keen to see Ritamada developed and I will work with Council to make sure this is the best option as I have also heard concerns about the viability of this location. Water access and boat ramps are much needed but we need to make sure plans fit with the wishes of the community. We need to explore all options and then pursue funding through Building Better Regions federally leveraged against Royalties for Regions with a Queensland LNP. 

Matt Loth - One Nation:

I don't believe the case for a barge loading facility at Ritamada is required to service Great Keppel Island at this point. Tower Holdings previously utilised Roslyn Bay Harbour when the resort was last open and nothing prevents the passage of cargo continuing out of Roslyn Bay. Once the redevelopment of Great Keppel Island begins, I'm also aware that larger building materials and rock to create the marina would come out of Port Alma and a loading site along the Fitzroy River for quarry rock. I agree additional recreational boating facilities are required, but using the GKI development as the excuse doesn't stack up. I will however strongly support the funding of recreational boat ramps in other areas across the Coast. 

Clancy Mullbrick - Greens:

I do not support a marina at Ritamada or the under-water provision of services to GKI from the mainland. These services should be state-of-the-art renewable and self-contained on the island. Ritamada point is adjacent to the Ramsar listed Kinka Wetlands and vital migratory bird habitat. I support current preferred proposal of enhanced multiple small scale boat ramps decentralised along the coast.

4. Funding to support the establishment and incorporation of a CQU Disaster Training Centre of Excellence in the soon-to-be-completed Local Disaster Control Centre and Community Resilience Hub

Brittany Lauga - Labor:

I have been working with CQUniversity and Livingstone Shire Council to establish a Disaster Training of Excellence in the Local Disaster Control Centre and Community Resilience Hub.

I fought for and delivered $3.5 million for this new Centre and I'd love to see it become a Disaster Training Centre of Excellence. I'm committed to working with Council and CQUniversity to seek funding from a re-elected Palaszczuk Labor Government.

Peter Blundell - LNP:

I would need to see financial figures to establish cost and return on investment, but I am happy to work with Council and CQU to pursue this

Matt Loth - One Nation:

Cyclone Marcia taught us that Keppel is no different to our Northern neighbours up and down the East coast who face cyclone threats each year. I'm very happy to look at any disaster training measures, however I won't be forced to make policy on the run without having been thoroughly walked through the costs, the training benefits and the organisations that would use this facility on a regular basis. 

Clancy Mullbrick - Greens:

Subject to a positive business case and community consultation.

5. Cooee Bay Aquatic Centre to complement the multi-sports precincts at Barmaryee and Emu Park

Brittany Lauga - Labor:

I will work with Livingstone Shire Council to develop the Cooee Bay aquatic centre. To be able to plan for the future and build sports in Keppel, local sporting facilities need funding for upgrades that support participation in sport and recreation activities.

That's why the Palaszczuk Government is delivering certainty with the Get Playing Plus program which provides grants of between $300,000 and $1.5 million. I look forward to working with the council to progress detailed proposals for funding applications under the government's Get in the Game projects.

Peter Blundell - LNP:

I have met with the managers of the Cooee Bay Aquatic Centre and they have explained what is needed. We can't neglect such facilities and I look forward to working with both Council and management to upgrade the pool. I look at what Rockhampton has and think Yeppoon has been neglected.

Matt Loth - One Nation:

It makes common sense to utilise the space and upgrade existing facilities at Cooee Bay. With a training oval, pool and tennis courts I'd like to see us start attracting sporting groups like the Queensland State of Origin team, Olympic and Commonwealth training squads and smaller sporting groups that would then stay in local resorts and accommodation, boosting the tourism dollar in the region. 

Clancy Mullbrick - Greens:

I would support funding for an upgrade of Cooee Bay Aquatic Centre subject to a strong business case and community consultation.

6. Moving of council chambers and Yeppoon library to the old railway site in the Yeppoon CBD to activate the town centre

Brittany Lauga - Labor:

The future of the Yeppoon Railway Station and the state land adjacent is something that I know many local people are extremely passionate about.

I worked hard to secure this site back in State Government hands and now town planners are busy working with the community and Council to develop a plan for rejuvenation of the station and the site.

Consultation sessions earlier this year provided us with insights into the local community's desires, aspirations, needs and wants for the renewal of this precinct. A master plan is being developed which incorporates repurposing the heritage railway building and platform, enhancing community facilities and open spaces, mixed-use residential precinct, and commercial and retail opportunities.

I commit to working with Livingstone Shire to source funding for the relocation of its chambers and library to the site to activate the town centre.

Peter Blundell - LNP:

I think the location of any new Council chambers needs to be assessed carefully as, apart from having more workers in the CBD, I'm not convinced that this will add value to the CBD. Yeppoon has a unique beach character that needs to be respected, and I think businesses are already feeling the pain of ongoing construction. It might be worthwhile considering in future plans and I know they wish to move to allow the development of a conference centre at the current location.

Matt Loth - One Nation:

The old railway site has sadly been neglected and left to sit behind construction fencing for way too many years. Because it's heritage listed, the costs involved in revamping it have been prohibitive for quite some time. Yes I agree Council need a new home and yes I agree it would make sense for the library to be incorporated into that plan, but I would encourage Council to be modest in their expenses towards this goal given the State's $81 billion dollar projected debt. 

Clancy Mullbrick - Greens:

The iconic heritage listed Railway Station must be preserved and restored. This is the last chance to retain central park style open space and "village" scale in a rapidly developing city centre. Public consultation and engagement on these proposals to date has been poor. The Yeppoon Library and Council Chamber Buildings are sound and adequate and would be very expensive to relocate. Also, both these existing sites are iconic in themselves and should be retained.

7. Stage 6 of the Yeppoon Foreshore to create a 'fishermen's wharf' precinct and staged footbridge to Merv Andersen Park

Brittany Lauga - Labor:

I fought for and delivered $29 million for the Yeppoon Foreshore and Town Centre Revitalisation Project which is creating 680 local jobs. It is one of the most-anticipated community infrastructure projects in the history of Livingstone Shire. Like many local people, I can't wait for the lagoon precinct to open by Easter next year.

I commit to working with Livingstone Shire to source funding to complete Stage 6 of the project through programs like Building Our Regions or Works for Queensland.

Peter Blundell - LNP:

I can see the benefits of the Fisherman's Wharf and how this fits into the long term vision of the foreshore. I do have concerns that other areas are being neglected in the region so as long as we look at this as a long term goal then I would be happy to support it. 

Matt Loth - One Nation:

I can understand the convenience of a footbridge for residents at Cooee Bay who would certainly benefit from the shortcut this bridge would provide, but I'd also like to consult with residents in Cooee Bay who like the serenity of not having foot traffic past their homes. I'm not quite sure some of the boat owners in Ross Creek would be too happy having access denied to the waterway once the footbridge goes in, so there's quite a bit of consultation still required before I'm 100% committed to stage 6 of the Yeppoon Foreshore. 

Clancy Mullbrick - Greens:

Fig Tree Creek estuary with its unique blend of mangroves, pristine wilderness, parkland and ramshackle wharves is one of the most loved and picturesque areas of Yeppoon. Any attempt to "revitalise" it must be done with great sensitivity and proper and meaningful public consultation. The siting of a pedestrian bridge should be unobtrusive and well clear of the mouth.

8. Seed-funding for the staged development of a new showground and integrated equestrian precinct for the Capricorn Coast

Brittany Lauga - Labor:

I will work with Livingstone Shire Council to seek seed funding for the staged development of a new showground and integrated equestrian precinct for the Capricorn Coast. The Palaszczuk Government's Maturing the Infrastructure Pipeline Program supports the development of a robust project pipeline by enabling projects to be matured from conceptually good ideas into solid proposals. I will work with Council to put forward an application for funding for this proposed staged development under the MIPP.

Peter Blundell - LNP:

I will be talking with the Show Society to discuss plans for the showground. We have also just announced that the LNP will establish a dedicated $15 million capital works fund to support regional clubs that need minor and major infrastructure upgrades.

Matt Loth - One Nation:

This isn't something I'll make a commitment with this close to an election. However; Keppel has a growing population and with that we will need to look into larger facilities for events such as the show. In time these are reasonable project to consider.

Clancy Mullbrick - Greens:

I support Seed-funding for the staged development of a new showground and integrated equestrian precinct for the Capricorn Coast contingent on the retention of the existing showgrounds in the heart of Yeppoon as community open space, cricket ground etc.

9. The Rookwood Weir project for the benefit of primary production and region

Brittany Lauga - Labor:

I have been clear all along that the Rookwood Weir project will get my support if the business case produced independently of government by Building Queensland indicates it is economically viable.

There has been so much misinformation about the potential number of jobs it will create or support and I am confident the business case report will provide a realistic assessment of the project's costs and potential.

It is reckless of the LNP to commit to spending $260 million of our money, taxpayers' money, on a wing and a prayer that it will be money well spent.

I support sound and prudent investment in public infrastructure that provides value for money and real dividend for our community.

Peter Blundell - LNP:

The LNP has already committed $130 million to building Rookwood Weir which will provide vital water security for Keppel and boost production with two agriculture precincts in the electorate. The flow on effects will allow for growth in value-adding to support industrial growth.  All of this creates real long term jobs beyond construction phase and will begin within 100 days.

Matt Loth - One Nation:

One Nation's $130 million dollar pledge to the Rookwood Weir shows the commitment our party have towards water security as our region grows and it also takes into consideration the agricultural benefits added water dependability will offer producers. The Fitzroy River is not only Queensland's largest river system, but it outshines all other rivers on the East Coast. It's time we put to good use this natural wonder and reap the long term benefits for the whole of Central Queensland. 

Clancy Mullbrick - Greens:

Based on current knowledge I do not support the further impoundment of water on the Fitzroy and do not believe there is a strong business case or a demonstrated need for the water. The current barrage capacity is largely unallocated. The proposal to flood aeration zones within the river and create large shallow bodies of still water has the real potential to impact on already fragile water quality through increasing outbreaks of blue green algae. Much of the adjacent soils do not support intensive agriculture, which progressively has far greater water efficiency and much reduced pumping costs.

10. A commitment from all sides of politics to continue funding programs like Works For Queensland that provide full funding without the need for communities to find matching dollars for projects like rural road networks.

Brittany Lauga - Labor:

A re-elected Palaszczuk Labor Government will continue the Works for Queensland program. This program has provided

Works for Queensland provides financial assistance to local councils in rural and regional areas for job-generating infrastructure projects.

It's a Palaszczuk Government initiative, with no requirement for councils to find matching dollars, and it has delivered in spades for Livingstone Regional Council with $3.49 million total funding so far supporting 67 jobs.

If re-elected our commitment is to provide a further $3.41 million in funding to Livingstone for projects that have been on the backburner and which can kick start local jobs.

Labor is 100% committed to the program but there is no such commitment from the LNP.

Peter Blundell - LNP:

The LNP have committed to re-establishing Royalties for Regions - $500 million reserved exclusively for regional Queensland. I have spoken to LNP leadership and there is agreement that the funding mechanism should be reviewed to ensure there is less financial burden with previous matched funding requirements. An LNP Government will guarantee no change to the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS).

Matt Loth - One Nation:

The current 'Works for Queensland' program has guaranteed funding until 2019 and a total budget of $200 million. It's been designed to create 6000 jobs in regional towns and cities that are battling higher than average unemployment figures. One Nation will commit to the life of this funding program and guarantee further consultation with the Livingstone Shire Council in the final year of the program to ensure a suitable budget is continued after its current funding period. 

Clancy Mullbrick - Greens:

Qld Greens have a strong and fully funded commitment of $10B over 5 years for infrastructure funding across regional Queensland through the creation of a Public Infrastructure Bank.

After reading some of the candidate's responses, Mayor Ludwig responded in the following story: Livingstone Mayor assesses Keppel candidates and the statement below:

Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig and Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga checking out work in the new Lammermoor pathway linkage
Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig and Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga checking out work in the new Lammermoor pathway linkage Trish Bowman

Mayor's Response to Candidates GKI Funding Commitments.

Livingstone Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig said the reopening of the main resort and the future revitalisation of Great Keppel Island was certainly a key issue in the current State election

"The prolonged closure (10 years approx) of this iconic resort has resulted in an annual loss of over 200,000 visitor nights costing hundreds of jobs and taking up to $100 million plus out of the regional economy annually,” Cr Ludwig said.

"Both Council and Capricorn Tourism have worked hard over the past 6 months to secure the State Government commitment to provide $25 million for public trunk infrastructure including power, water, additional public amenities and passenger jetty to attract cruise ship visitation.

"This level of State Government investment in public infrastructure will play an immediate and pivotal role in growing a stronger regional tourism industry. Importantly it will guarantee that all tourist operators and residents both current and future are given fair and equal access.”

Cr Ludwig said regrettably the LNP and One Nation candidates have both refused to support any State Government investment in critical public trunk infrastructure and facilities to get GKI moving.

"Both believe the community should wait and rely on Tower Holdings to deliver on their previous promises which remain conditional on being successful in re-applying for a future casino licence,” he said.

"Effectively the only real financial commitment to getting GKI moving is the $25 million committed by Tourism Minister Kate Jones and current member for Keppel.

"The State Government has also once again confirmed that Council will not be required to provide any matching funding or co-contributions.

"Assurances were also given that if for any reason the overall cost did exceed $25 million there would be no requirement for Council to contribute to any shortfall.”

Cr Ludwig said Tower Holdings had consistently failed to meet their promises and obligations under the lease to get on with the job.

"In September this year the current Government, to their credit, issued Tower with a 'show cause' letter to make a start or get out and give someone else a go,” he said.

"Hopefully whoever forms Government will keep faith with our community and support that course of action.”