Get To Know Your Candidates: Richard Kingston LNP
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.
PRACTICAL positivity and a commitment to boost the local economy, launching the Maryborough region into a new stage of economic stability, are the plans of LNP candidate for Maryborough Richard Kingston.
First-time candidate Mr Kingston said he wanted the district's future to be about "positivity".
"I think the community is ready for it...we're ready for the area to go ahead. It's just waiting for someone to take it."
Mr Kingston said he wanted to reignite the local economy and restart long-term projects that had been on hold.
"I want long-term economic stability and boosters for the region. We need jobs and jobs means money, and everyone wants to earn a dollar. It's about the local prosperity for the area.
"I'm learning about a number of projects that are on the drawing board in the area and I will be helping to get them moving. I am having more and more meetings and am learning about all these projects that seem to have been ignored."
Mr Kingston, who moved from Brisbane to Maryborough when he was 12, said the sense of community in the region was strong.
"People are so friendly, and when you've got that excitement and that sense of community - where people want to get together - it's wonderful."
He said one lesson he had learnt from his time in the mining industry, was that it is important to listen to people, involve people in decision-making processes, and explain to them why an idea is or is not going ahead.
"And you've got to lead by example. It's no good saying something and being something else. And it's important to be inclusive and take advice from everybody."
The father-of-two young adults - a daughter who is studying nursing and a son who attends St Mary's College, Maryborough - is married to Nshara and said the couple love joining in with the many well-supported social events in the region and exploring the area's surrounding destinations.
"If you look at a 300km circle around Maryborough, then geographically we're probably living in the best area in Queensland. We've got everything all within an hour or two. It's amazing."
Mr Kingston said that after he finished his schooling in Yeppoon, he worked away from his family's farm in hospitality, and eventually kick-started his own cane farming small business.
"When the sugar market dropped, I left the farm and went to work in the Bowen Basin coal mines. I started at the very bottom, and worked my way through the ranks.
"My wife and I saved every dollar we could, and started a small business in property development. Seven years ago, we started our current business, Hard Rock Quarries Maryborough, and this business has grown and we are now cane growing again."
He said that owning a small business - now with a multi-million dollar turnover, staff of eight, and winners at the last two Fraser Coast Business and Tourism Awards - helped him appreciate the influence of politics on his business and the decisions that were being made.
"I think anyone who owns a business has some interest in what happens politically."
Driven by his passion for Maryborough - known as the Heritage City - Mr Kingston said he understands the difficulties facing working families and small business owners.
"And it is because I believe that when you have a government that has a plan for Queensland and a plan for Maryborough, our community and local economy will shine once again.
"I believe Maryborough's best days are ahead of it, but only if we have a government that understands the issues facing families and small businesses, and has a plan to address them."
Major issues, if elected, would include electricity, the cost of living, and water security.
He said it's important to be involved in the community and is often reminded of the contributions that can be made and how they are significant.
"A while ago we helped sponsor an assistance dog to be trained. A friend of mine who is a teacher was working at the Hervey Bay Special School recently and told us that they have a dog that comes in a couple of times a week to spend time with the kids and how much the kids looked forward to seeing the dog.
"He saw our company logo on the handler's shirt and told us all about it. After hearing that story, I was so glad we had donated the money."