BIG WIN FOR GEORGE

DAWSON MP George Christensen says it feels like "the straight-jacket has been taken off".

His comment refers to the fact that he was our Federal Member for the last three years but he was in opposition.

Mr Christensen, a member of the Liberal National Party, was re-elected to the seat of Dawson on Saturday night with more than a five per cent swing in his favour.

But while the returning MP says he is "humbled by the result" he also admits there is much work to be done.

Firstly, an election promise by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) to upgrade the Whitsunday Coast Airport runway is now no longer assured.

"It's still going to happen and I've got to say it's pretty high on my list of priorities [but] there's going to be a bit of hard work in getting funding from the Federal Government for the airport upgrade," Mr Christensen said.

"It's a project that ticks all the boxes for funding criteria, so let's get it going."

Mr Christensen says another project he intends to fight for is a water park for Airlie Beach.

"I think that will be a good tourism/community asset for the people of Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays," he said.

Meanwhile, the residents of Dawson have something tangible by which to judge the performance of their returning MP.

Before the election, Mr Christensen drew up a "contract with the Whitsundays" promising the Liberal National Coalition would start the planning work to flood-proof the Goorganga Plains section of the Bruce Highway, fund a green army to clean up marine debris, axe the carbon tax, fund the Reef Rescue program and fight for upgrades to local bridges including those on Dingo Beach Road and at Kelsey Creek.

He also pledged to give $15k to help build Logan's Adventure Playground in Cannonvale.

Other issues looming large include how Mr Christensen intends to proceed over the proposed expansion of the coal terminal at Abbot Point.

"I honestly don't believe that this project is an either/or project in that we either have it or we have the reef. I think we can do the Abbot Point expansion and make sure all of the environmental controls are in place," he said.

Mr Christensen was scheduled to meet with members of the local charter boat industry association last night.

Discussions included the proposed expansion of Abbot Point.


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