Get To Know Your Candidates: Bruce Saunders ALP
THE Fraser Coast Chronicle is running in-depth profile pieces on each of the region's state election candidates.
Part one of the Get To Know Your Candidates series features Maryborough's Labor incumbent Bruce Saunders, One Nation candidate Cr James Hansen and LNP candidate Richard Kingston.
A regional Queenslander and devoted Labor politician, MP Bruce Saunders will always be grateful to his parents for instilling in him the values he now represents.
Mr Saunders, the Labor Member for Maryborough in the Queensland Legislative Assembly since 2015, said this week he left Longreach when he was 18, by which time he had established his own personal standards that would later help mobilise a successful political career.
"The grounding I got from my mother and father is what set me up for life. They were unreal parents, and that's what set me on the right trajectory for life," he said.
He said his interest and zest for politics began when he was eight. "With my father...my father was a candidate in Longreach, in the State seat of Gregory."
Mr Saunders, a father-of-three who later this year celebrates his 39th wedding anniversary, said his own father lived by steadfast social justice values and beliefs, and he had been inspired by his actions and watching him help others in the community.
"He had a motto: You always leave something for the next man following.
"That's the way I was brought up."
Mr Saunders said his upbringing had also motivated him to reinvest in the community, and stand and fight for community and family values.
Known around town as a "traditional Labor man", he said his priorities were housing, jobs, healthcare and education".
"I always put people first. That's not a slogan, that's just what I do. That's something that I do all the time, since I was elected in 2015."
He said a large part of his responsibilities, was to advocate for the region at State and Federal Government levels.
"I'm making sure the we get a fair share of everything that's on offer."
A former radio announcer at Longreach, Gladstone, Rockhampton and Maryborough - and until about a year ago an ice-cream shop owner - Mr Saunders has had 25 years of experience as a small business owner.
He's also a member of the Together union for public servants in Queensland, and said he "loves" the electorate which became his home during the 1980s.
"I like the people and I like working for the people of the electorate. I like being with the people and listening to the community."
Mr Saunders said that in the past 33 months, since elected, much had been achieved for the Fraser Coast and "we want to keep going".
"We want to keep moving forward and move the electorate forward with water security, bio products with MSF, contracts with Downer Rail and better health and education."
Mr Saunders said he backed the timber industry "100%", and was currently involved with the State Government's timber training centre.
"It's a sustainable, renewable industry which employs a lot of people, and it's very good. I love timber buildings - we're getting a timber fire station here.
"And I've got a lot of respect for people in the timber industry."
He believes in the iconic heritage and environmental values of Maryborough city and their potential to provide further opportunities in the area.
Local achievements in the area since 2015 include an upgrade to the administration block at Yarrilee State School, a $4.4 million performing arts facility for Maryborough State High School, $1 million for Tinana State School's music hall, new police and fire station at Howard, Stage 1 of a new fire station in Maryborough, road, intersection and boat ramp upgrades, restored services and upgrades at Maryborough Hospital, $10 million upgrade to the emergency department and outpatients clinic, the distribution of more than $2.6 million to more than 100 local community groups and almost $1 million in sporting grants for local clubs.
Jobs stimulation has included returning government contracts to Downer Rail, $1.25 million for the Back to Work Program facilitating 193 jobs, and re-instating Skilling Queenslanders for Work.