Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien opens the Wide Bay Meet the Candidates forum at the Carriers Arms Hotel in Maryborough on Monday night.
Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien opens the Wide Bay Meet the Candidates forum at the Carriers Arms Hotel in Maryborough on Monday night. Blake Antrobus

MEET THE CANDIDATES: Wide Bay forum gets underway


ONE man in the crowd has asked about the future policy for the Australian merchant navy, asking if there would be a focus on cracking down on local hiring.

Mr Scanes said the Labor Party would clamp down on dodgy labour hire and 457 visas.

Mr O'Brien said he didn't think it was a 457 issue but said he was "more than willing to look at it and champion what's right".

Mr Bryar said it was an "absolute exploitation" and said the Greens would help to restore lost funding to security regulations and bodies to ensure a crackdown on the issue.


A WOMAN in the crowd has asked what the candidates would do to help agriculture education in Queensland.

Mr O'Brien and Mr Bryar both said it was important to promote the subject in school.

Mr Scanes said Federal Government funding could help support the industry..

Mr Jerome said agriculture was the way to go and as an Independent he would push for the subject to be set in all schools across the Wide Bay.


AN EDUCATOR in the crowd has asked candidates how they will ensure bush schoolkids receive their fair share of commonwealth funding.

Mr Jerome said he wanted to "try and turn the public school system around" to "get it back to what it was".

Mr O'Brien said the government needed to put the money where it is needed under the current model, especially to Indigenous communities.

Mr Scanes has spruiked the Gonski program, part of which includes $1 billion to fix the TAFE system.


A MAN in the crowd has asked the candidates about the waiting times on health and questioned why he has been left $230 out of pocket under the current system for his operations.

Mr O'Brien said the Coalition had put record funding into hospitals and the Labor party.

But Mr Bryar said the Coalition cut millions from public hospitals while in government.

Mr Scanes said the Labor government would look at removing the Medicare freeze, which was causing significant gaps in the health system, and said taxpayer money needed to be spent on essential services and not to the big end of town.

Mr Jerome said Australia needed to get rid of "big party business" and the average Australian decision should play more of a role in making decisions on issues like health.


AN ATTENDEE has asked the candidates their views on the ability of the nation's electricity generation capacity to replace 50 per cent of current cars with electric cars.

Both Mr O'Brien and Mr Jerome have dismissed the idea as "rubbish" and "ill-conceived policy" respectively.

Mr Bryar said the current targets would only be using about 28.5 per cent of the electricity grid.

Mr Scanes said it was possible to take action on the issue of emissions reduction and said the issue was not as dramatic as people made it out to be.

"We have significant industry here, particularly in the Wide Bay, where we can exploit those renewable sources and emerging technologies as well," he said.


A PACKED crowd has filled Maryborough's Carriers Arms Hotel for the first Meet the Candidates forum for Wide Bay.

Incumbent MP Llew O'Brien, Labor candidate Jason Scanes, Greens candidate Daniel Bryar and Independent Tim Jerome are in attendance.

One Nation's Aaron Vico, United Australia Party candidate Andrew Schebella and Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party candidate Jasmine Smith are absent.

The forum is being hosted by the Maryborough Chamber of Commerce.

Candidates are making their opening pitches to the crowd before the floor will be opened for questions.

More to come.