Candidate profile - Wade Rothery
Wade Rothery - One Nation
For the past 12 years, Wade has worked in the coal industry as an underground miner and has been part of the Mines Rescue Team for six years.
He is married with four children, and is committed to ensuring the regions prosperity.
How can we improve the effectiveness of the NDIS?
Although in its infancy, the NDIS has been plagued with complaints of fraud and delays in genuine cases seeking access to the scheme. Like so many Government funded initiatives, it may have great intentions, but applicants are being forced to wait on average 172 days for approval. Last year the NDIS cost taxpayers $8 billion dollars and is expected to grow to $22 billion dollars each year within 3 years. We must ensure the money gets to the people who need it and not the bureaucrats who want to slow down the process.
How will you make our region more liveable?
I've always believed that the liveability of any region is based on services and the capacity for people to have a few dollars left over each week to enjoy themselves. That's why I've committed my support to the Rocky Sports and Entertainment Precinct. A $20 million dollar investment will attract international musicians, sporting matches never seen in Rockhampton, increase employment and will compliment the city precinct. The facility will also capture money that is often lost to Brisbane, Townsville and Mackay when locals travel to events held in those cities.
What do you think are the big issues for the environment locally?
Politicians forget that feral animals are some of the most destructive pests to our native species and environment. Pigs, wild dogs, cats, and fox make up the main culprits destroying birds and mammals, and that includes the black-throated finch that environmentalists are jumping up and down about. We have plague levels of goats on Great Keppel Island and right throughout the Capricornia region, along with deer. If we are to take a serious approach to cleaning up our environment and saving native animal species, we need to start culling feral, introduced species throughout this country.
Do you believe climate change is an issue for the region? What can be done to address climate change locally?
Voters throughout our region take a realistic approach towards climate change. Most people recognise that the climate has been changing since earths creation. As a miner in Moranbah and Glenden, I've witnessed fossilised crustacean and ferns, 50 metres below the ground. We cut through layers of 'climate change' that occurred well before man was around. We must maintain a focus on recycling, cleaning up after ourselves, nurture our waterways and not overpopulate our environment. People are conscious of the footprint they leave behind, but hyperventilating over the use of coal will not change the temperature, it will only ruin our economy.
What major infrastructure projects does the region need? How will you deliver them?
Water and electricity is vital to a growing population and our farmers. Governments have neglected their responsibility to maintain these two assets which has led to record high prices. No longer can you afford to leave a light on, nor let the kids go and play out under the hose without fear of increasing your bills. We must build additional High-Energy, Low-Emission (HELE) coal-fired power stations and begin the hybrid Bradfield Water Scheme. The feasibility study has confirmed it will work and Governments must ask themselves, how feasible is a nation without water and base load electricity?
What would you do to reduce power prices in central Queensland?
State and Federal Government's have abandoned their attempts to offer competition to households and businesses connected to the grid in Central and North Queensland. Meanwhile customers in the South East corner have a multitude of power companies prepared to do deals and reduce consumers power prices. One Nation also believes that the only way consumers can continue to afford electricity, is to build additional coal-fired power stations for cheap, reliable, base load energy. While nations across the globe add 1600 new power stations, Australia is knocking them down. The belief that coal is killing the planet is wrong.
Do you think bringing migrants to the region benefits the economy?
One Nation has stood by a sustainable intake of 75,000 migrants each year. Although Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised to reduce immigration to 160,000 annually, the Governments budget papers reveal an intake of 271,700 net migration this year and a further 271,300 next year. These are unsustainable levels that are affecting every Australian, because vital services and infrastructure is not keeping up with the growth of our nation. Nobody denies sustainable immigration has been beneficial to Australia, but those coming to this country must be prepared to work and obey by Australian laws and culture. If you can't, we don't want you.
How do you plan to ensure the region continues to benefit from economic growth?
Our region has been built off the back of cattle, coal, cane and tourism, yet each of these industries have been under attack by Government interference for far too long. From devastating land clearing laws, costly environmental impact studies that stop projects due to an alleged rare gecko, to Labor and the Greens plans to phase out coal mining, we are being strangled by environmental falsehoods and bureaucratic red and green tape. I will give my full commitment to ensure these four trusted economic drivers remain strong across Capricornia, which means working with industry, not against them.
In what ways can this region begin moving towards renewable energy?
Capricornia already has a strong renewable energy presence in Collinsville where over 2000 acres of solar panels are already installed. Further wind and solar investments are also planned for Marlborough. One Nation are not against renewables, but we are realistic about the need for base load power that drives industry and manufacturing, while powering our households when the sun goes down at night. As our nations thirst for electronic gadgets, cars and air-conditioned comfort grows, so too does our need for power. Affordable coal-fired power must remain apart of our nations electricity mix to avoid economic meltdown and a slide in the standard of living.
How can we boost tourism in this region?
Tourism throughout the Capricornia region will exponentially grow if Great Keppel Island can make a comeback. Although the haemorrhage of tourist numbers were cauterised through the tireless work of Capricorn Enterprise and local Councils, government must assist in placing our region back on the domestic and international 'must see' list of places to visit, like it was in the 80's. To do this, quality hotel chains must be lured to invest in building family accommodation throughout the region and work with existing tourism operators to lift their online and social media exposure. So much can be achieved with support rather than red tape.
What do you plan to do about the ice problem in central Queensland?
Ice is the modern day epidemic facing families of all type. Rich, poor and in between. One Nation have made it very clear that we must redirect the proceeds of federal drug crime into rehabilitation centres across the country. Ice users need a 13 week cold turkey program, no matter how harsh this may appear. Speaking with former addicts and families, we must create a juvenile strategy instead of releasing them back into the care of parents, and focus on a family reunion program for parents who's children have been taken from them, if they can prove sobriety for 12 months or more.
How can the Federal Government help to bring down the cost of flying to Rockhampton, Mackay and the coalfields?
Ultimately competition leads to lower airfare prices, as seen with flights from Brisbane to Proserpine that start at just $69. Our region once attracted larger tourist numbers when Great Keppel Island was fully operational and Iwasaki Resort and golf course were the jewel in our coastal crown. Those tourist numbers have dwindled, cutting Tiger and Jetstar services from our daily choice of airlines. What's left is a duopoly between Virgin and Qantas. If you want cheaper airfares, we must get Great Keppel Island back up and running and drive demand on flights, which in turn drives competition and lower prices.
How can the government help regional cancer patients with the cost of treatment?
Local cancer patients shouldn't have to travel to Brisbane for adequate treatment. With 1 in 2 Australian men and women set to be diagnosed with cancer by 85, it is estimated 145,000 people will receive the horrible news this year alone. To put that into perspective, that's about 870 people living in Capricornia this year who will be diagnosed with one type of cancer or another. Attracting and securing specialist doctors, including oncologists and surgeons to regional areas is a prime concern of anyone who's gone through cancer treatment. If you have local treatment, cancer patients will avoid the cost of being away from home.
What do you believe are the key issues in the Capricorn electorate?
Capricornia has previously thrived on Cattle, Coal, Cane and Tourism.
With ever increasing electricity prices, our cane farmers are struggling to combat global prices, specifically from India where government subsidies, cheaper labour and much lower power prices have driven down market sugar prices.
Our agricultural land has been dealt a blow with Government interference over vegetation management Acts that prevent farmers implementing land management programs. The result has been a decrease in cattle numbers and the only way to clear land for most, is to make an application for a solar farm which appear exempt from land clearing prevention laws.
And our coal mines are under continued attack by Green groups and the two major parties who have made it their goal to phase out the use of coal-fired power stations that have generated the worlds cheapest electricity prices.
What measures would you introduce to help local small businesses prosper?
One of the greatest issues facing small business is timely payment. All too often business owners are forced to chase payment for work they've completed in good faith.
Currently there is no legislation that protects business owners from late payment, forcing many of them to apply for bank overdrafts to keep their business afloat and pay employee wages.
One Nation will implement legislation that will require invoices to be paid within 30 days from end-of-month under a 'Timely Payment Policy'.
We will also legislate a fixed sum of compensation, interest and reasonable costs to overdue notices, with interest set at 8% plus the base rate of interest set by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
How would you drive growth throughout the regional towns?
Decentralisation of Government departments and some of our larger companies should be flagged under 'rehoming programs' to regional hubs like Rockhampton and Mackay. Ergon have proven that regional call centres can work successfully and offer their employees a fantastic lifestyle.
However growth in any region must be organically driven or carefully managed to ensure infrastructure can cope with the increase in population to Capricornia.
The last thing we want is growth like Melbourne who take an extra 2000 people a week, yet they cannot build roads, hospitals, housing, and so many other necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of the population.
How would you tackle the region's skills shortage?
One Nation successfully lobbied the federal government for a pilot apprenticeship program that offered 1630 new apprenticeships to regional applicants. Under the trial program, employers were paid 75% of the apprentices first years wage, 50% of the second and 25% of the third.
The program was filled within 3 weeks of being launched on January 1 this year, which indicates a hunger from regional businesses to take on apprentices and train Aussie kids instead of bringing in skilled labour from overseas.
One Nation will extend that program to an additional 10,000 apprentices if it maintains the balance of power in the next election.
What skills do you have that make you the right candidate for Capricornia?
Success for our region is reliant on a politician who is not only prepared to listen and learn what the issues of our region are, but to have the courage to speak up and action change.
I've grown up in Capricornia working in the same industries as many other locals. If we are to maintain the jobs and industries we've known for generations, it's going to take a politician who not only understands them, but believes in them.
I won't back down on maintaining and creating new jobs in mining and agriculture. I will advocate for new industries, but not at the expense of existing ones.
I'm prepared to inject some common sense back into the parliament and ignore the political correctness that's forever creeping into our society.