Hinkler election candidates Leanne Donaldson (Labor), Troy Sullivan (Family First), Keith Pitt (LNP), David Dalgleish (Katter's Australian Party) and Rob Messenger (Palmer United Party) answer questions at a forum held at the Hervey Bay RSL.
Hinkler election candidates Leanne Donaldson (Labor), Troy Sullivan (Family First), Keith Pitt (LNP), David Dalgleish (Katter's Australian Party) and Rob Messenger (Palmer United Party) answer questions at a forum held at the Hervey Bay RSL. Alistair Brightman

Jobs and roads top of agenda as candidates face our forum

SOME minor party candidates could give the LNP and ALP candidates a shake in the September 7 election, based on their performance at the Chronicle's election forum.

A small crowd of committed Hinkler voters heard five of the seven candidates present their case for election. Independent Reid Schirmer and Green Mark Simpson did not attend.

We present here a potted version of their responses to some of the questions at the forum.

  • Will you commit funds to the Fraser Coast's three main infrastructure projects (Mary Marina, Aviation and Sport and Recreation precinct)? If so, how much? If not, what are your plans to fix the Fraser Coast's job crisis?

Keith Pitt, LNP: We are happy to support projects which are supported by the local community. Responsible economic managers do not commit tens of millions of dollars two weeks out from the election.

Leanne Donaldson, ALP: Without being able to commit specific funds, it's really important that projects that deliver that are larger than an individual company can provide for seed funding, these are the types of things that government needs to look at. Infrastructure is attractive to investors and provides jobs … and flow-on effect. I am keen to look at these types of opportunities Where it is viable and where there is investor interest.

Troy Sullivan, Family First: We will be looking at whether we can afford the different things that are put on the table, so we are accountable for what we spend. As a community we can pull together and do projects for ourselves.

David Dalgleish, Katter's Australia Party: I was part of the council when these subjects came up. I totally support these projects. I can't make any promises about funding. Infrastructure creates jobs. We need major projects of regional significance

Rob Messenger, Palmer United Party: At this stage I am personally committed to those projects. We are working out a budget.

  • What will you do to upgrade the Maryborough-Hervey Bay Rd for increased tourist traffic?

Donaldson: The Labor government has a strong record of delivering road infrastructure. As you drive up and down the Bruce Highway you can see the roadwork going on. Labor will continue to deliver to ensure that tourists aren't turned away or distracted from coming here because of inadequate roadways.

Sullivan: The best way forward is a collaborative approach with all local, state and federal guys all getting together and working out a plan of how we can do it maybe over the next five years.

Dalgleish: We need a full upgrade of the road, we don't need patches or little extra passing lanes. We need it full dual lane, but let's not forget the Bruce Highway.

Messenger: The Palmer United Party has a policy of investing 7.5 billion in our road infrastructure. I will be there arguing for the upgrade.

Pitt: Our commitment is to floodproof the Bruce Highway. It is essential to this region that that highway stays open regardless of the weather.

  • What will you do to lower the cost of living on the Fraser Coast?

Dalgleish: We need to get levels of government working closely with families to help take the burden off ratepayers.

Messenger: We're going to remove the carbon tax and refund the carbon tax.

Pitt: The coalition is committed to getting rid of the carbon tax which has absolutely strangled manufacturing in Australia and killing small business. (Step 2 is to) review the renewal energy target which makes up about 20% of the cost of electricity. And 3 is to give the national regulator some teeth.

Donaldson: We're going to get rid of the carbon tax as well by moving to an emissions trading scheme. We've got the lowest interest rates for many years. We have raised the tax-free threshold so people have more in their pockets. We've got programs to support families.

Sullivan: There is enough money in the system for everybody to enjoy a high standard of life. (We need to) trim some of the fat at the top and spread that around in grass-roots projects that create jobs.

  • What will you do to revive manufacturing on the Fraser Coast?

Donaldson: Investment by government in infrastructure will attract manufacturing companies to the region.

Sullivan: We need to have skilled workers and infrastructure to attract companies. We need a creative approach.

Dalgleish: One of KAP's policies is that government officers all have first priority to buying Australian-made motor vehicles. Walkers in Maryborough is capable of making just about anything. If we boost our local usage of Australian-made motor vehicles, those components can start to be made in this country.

Messenger: Instead of companies paying their tax quarterly, we're going to allow them to pay at the end of the year. That's going to free up $70 billion. We're going to reduce their overheads for example, electricity. We are going to guarantee some of the cheapest electricity costs in the world.

Pitt: I've worked in the manufacturing industry for more than 25 years. The way to make it effective is to give it a better bottom line. Businesses that make money are businesses that employ. We will provide a 1.5% cut in the company tax rate. We will get rid of the carbon tax. We need to stop people taking manufacturing overseas.

Find the latest election news here.

Who turned up at the forum?

  • Keith Pitt, LNP
  • Leanne Donaldson, ALP
  • Troy Sullivan, Family First
  • David Dalgleish, Katter's Australia Party
  • Rob Messenger, Palmer United Party:

Absent

  • Reid Schirmer, Independent
  • Mark Simpson, Greens


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