MARYBOROUGH was the first stop outside south-east Queensland for Premier Campbell Newman as he started his campaign trail yesterday - and he used the opportunity to launch a stinging attack on independent candidate Chris Foley.
Speaking at the Carriers Arms Hotel on the second stop of the campaign trail after a visit to the Gold Coast yesterday morning, Mr Newman warned the Fraser Coast against voting for independents and creating a parliamentary stand-off that would be similar to the one in Canberra.
Mr Newman said he was aware there was an independent candidate standing in Maryborough, and said independent representatives could not be strong representatives, unlike candidates from major parties.
He urged people to vote for the government.
Mr Foley said Mr Newman's words were a sign the party was worried about the upcoming election.
"The point is, how dare they tell people how to vote," Mr Foley said.
Mr Foley said Mr Newman would be worried about the balance of power in the parliament, espec
ially if enough independents were elected, as they could potentially block the sale of public assets and prevent privatisation.
He also denied that independent members were unable to be "strong members", adding it was worth remembering that it was during Anne Maddern's time as Member for Maryborough that the pathology unit was lost at Maryborough Hospital.
But Mr Newman used his speech at the Maryborough hotel to report on the LNP's achievements, including a 29% reduction in robberies and an 8% reduction in car thefts across the Fraser Coast and the addition of 42 new police to the area.
He went on to claim Maryborough Hospital was all but slated for closure under the former Labor government, but the LNP had made a commitment to making sure the facility continued operating.
Mr Newman said there had been 128 people on the long-term waiting list for surgery in the region when the LNP came to power and that had been reduced to 8.
He said he would continue to work towards reducing the high unemployment in the region, adding that the Downer EDI contracts announced on Tuesday was great news for the region.
When asked why Maryborough was chosen for his first regional stop, Mr Newman said he loved being back in Maryborough, especially since it was where his wife, Lisa, and family come from.