CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS: Busy day on the election trail in CQ
WITH just eight days remaining in the 2020 Queensland Election campaign, candidate activity has gone up a gear with the average voter hard-pressed to keep up.
The Morning Bulletin has kept an eye on the busy contenders to bring together this summary of the notable highlights around CQ.
One Nation Party
Just hours after a Courier-Mail story declared leader of the One Nation Party Pauline Hanson was missing in action in the State Election campaign, a blast of a semi-trailer’s horn heralded her arrival into Rockhampton’s pre-polling station at the showgrounds this morning.
She waved and posed for pictures in a semi-trailer adorned with One Nation candidate Torin O’Brien’s face along with the party’s key campaign message, “Gracemere needs a high school”.
It was later parked up in Quay Street.
See her press conference here.
Following her Rockhampton visit, Senator Hanson was welcomed by her Keppel candidate Wade Rothery at the pre-polling at Cooee Bay.
Liberal National Party
This morning Queensland Senator Matthew Canavan recruited LNP candidates for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins and Keppel Adrian de Groot to drum up support for a convoy departing Rockhampton tomorrow in support of coal jobs and a stalled coal mining project in south east Queensland.
“The LNP will approve 500 jobs at the New Acland Mine if elected next week,” Senator Canavan said.
“Tomorrow I will join a convoy and drive 600km from Rocky to Oakey to support coal mining jobs at a rally there on Sunday.
“You can’t trust Labor when they talk about jobs but won’t approve a mine to create jobs.”
At noon Queensland Council of Unions president Kate Ruttiman unveiled a massive mobile billboard video message in Allenstown attacking the LNP’s record and its promise to deliver a budget surplus within four years.
CQ was being targeted by unions as part of a statewide campaign to ensure a worker-first recovery from the effects of the pandemic.
“We’re travelling throughout regional Queensland with a tailored message that targets the impact of the last LNP government and how the impact of its ideology will fall directly on workers and their families,” Ms Ruttiman said.
“The biggest risk to our state and economy is if a government starts cutting jobs and slashing services. Austerity is not the way forward for Queensland.
“If we invest in our people and grow our economy, we will be in the best place to set up our communities for the future.
“Governments also need to invest and train our young people so that we have the skills we need for the future.”
The group claimed the LNP would cut more than 1300 health jobs out of Rockhampton and surrounding areas, and trample the local economy as it recovered from the COVID pandemic.
“Modelling shows to achieve the promised Budget surplus then 1371 jobs would be cut in health alone, including 1322 frontline health workers, including nurses and doctors,” Ms Ruttiman said.
“The report estimates that effect of balancing the budget would increase unemployment in Queensland by 2.47 per cent to a rate of 9.97, a rate not seen in 30 years, deepening the recession and causing unnecessary misery for Queenslanders.”
Katter’s Australian Party
KAP’s candidate for Rockhampton Christian Shepherd was busy delivering two election promises to the voters of Rockhampton today.
If elected, with the balance of power, Mr Shepherd said he would fund a much needed $3.5 million upgrade to the Colts Rugby Union Football Club’s facilities at the Tom Nutley Field in Park Avenue.
“Junior rugby union continues to grow in the region and being the home ground for all Rockhampton junior rugby events, Colts’ grounds are struggling to keep up with demand,” Mr Shepherd said.
“This upgrade will consist of establishing an extra field, changing the grounds from one field parallel to Park Street, to two fields running parallel with Knight Street.
“These fields will also receive new lighting towers, upgrading the grounds to match grade lighting which will allow for night games and training, massively increasing the usability of the facility.
“The grounds will have a new sealed access road and a sealed car park to replace the dirt paths and carpark.
“It will receive upgrades to its clubhouse, which is drastically undersized and ill-equipped, as well as a freestanding block of change rooms which will cater to four teams at a time – appropriate for two fields in simultaneous use as well as concurrent men’s, women’s or children’s matches. The construction of a netball court will also cater for Colts’ passionate and growing netball cohort.”
In addition, Mr Shepherd said his party was marking World Barramundi Day by pledging to pursue laws in the next Queensland Parliament that made it mandatory for the state’s dining venues to declare whether or not their seafood, including barra, prawns and calamari, had been imported.
While it is currently compulsory for all Australian supermarkets to identify the origins of the fish they sell, this does not extend to takeaway shops, cafes or restaurants.
In addition to its proposed mandatory labelling rule, the party will propose the introduction of an “Aussie caught” logo that will be available to those hospitality operators that can prove their seafood has been locally-sourced.
Earlier this morning Labor’s candidates for Keppel Brittany Lauga and Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke with Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles pledged $5.5 million to build a new and expanded North Rockhampton Ambulance Station in the party’s second big ticket health promise for the Rockhampton region in two days.
The North Rockhampton station would be one of six locations across Queensland to benefit from a $31 million investment in new and replacement ambulance stations if the Labor Government was re‑elected.
The station’s relocation to a vacant block to the west of the existing station was necessary given the current facility stood in the path of the future Rockhampton Ring Road.
LNP candidate Tony Hopkins attacked Labor’s “condescending” announcement demanding they “stop treating us like mugs”.
“Of course the station has to be relocated, it sits on the Ring Road Site,” Mr Hopkins said.
“Common sense tells you that it needs to be rebuilt. Stop trying to con voters and take credit for projects that you have little to do with.”
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry also attacked Labor’s announcement saying the city only seemed to receive attention in the lead up to election time.
Read the full story here: New $5.5m ambulance station promised for North Rockhampton