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Candidates talk jobs, cane and reef

LNP candidate, George Christensen

LIBERAL: George Christensen. Photo: Contributed
LIBERAL: George Christensen. Photo: Contributed Contributed

Farmers and reef

When I talk with tourism businesses relying on the Great Barrier Reef, they tell me the biggest issue is water quality.

That's why I have worked with the government and key stakeholders to find practical solutions to the issue.

Farmers are naturally conservationists because their livelihood depends on sustainability and the last thing a farmer wants to do is see chemicals, fertiliser and topsoil going to waste and adding to the natural sediment deposits through our rivers.

In addition to the $460 million the Liberal National Government has already spent on the reef, since forming government, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this month announced a $1 billion reef fund, which will provide concessional loans for projects that improve water quality by reducing run-off of pollutants and fertiliser.

This commitment will improve water quality in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as well as make farms more profitable. 

Sugar marketing

There is no longer a problem with sugar marketing in Queensland as the Liberal National Party, in conjunction with Katter's Australia Party resolved this issue.

Then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott responded to my call for intervention on this issue by establishing a sugar marketing task force, to which he appointed myself as the chair.

The Liberal National Party and Katter's Australia Party also took the issue seriously at the State Government level, defeating the Queensland Labor Government to pass legislation that fixes the problem.

When sugar marketing was an issue, Labor's Federal candidate for Dawson said it wasn't the government's job to intervene and "it's something to be sorted out between growers and the millers". 

Jobs and growth

I've been working on a comprehensive Jobs Plan for North Queensland to help with the transition from a booming mining services based economy to a more diverse and sustainable economy.

It's explained in full in my Jobs Plan booklet which can be downloaded from my website at www.georgechristensen.mp@aph.gov.au.

In brief, it focuses on a number of different pillars.

Getting the Carmichael Coal Project will provide jobs in the immediate future.

There will be a boost to tourism jobs when we secure international flights into our region and I have been working with the superyacht industry to secure more access into the Whitsundays.

One superyacht has the potential to inject $50,000 into the local economy in one week.

Looking to the future, I am happy to have secured a commitment of $3 million for pre-construction planning work on the Urannah Dam.

 

ALP candidate, Frank Gilbert

Frank Gilbert, Labor candidate for Dawson. Photo Luke Mortimer
Frank Gilbert, Labor candidate for Dawson. Photo Luke Mortimer Luke Mortimer

Farmers and reef

Labor's investment in the reef goes beyond conservation.

It is an investment in the tourism and agricultural industries of our coastal communities.

For our local farmers, we support direct environmental investment to improve water quality, land management, agricultural and environmental impacts.

Our Great Barrier Reef plan is supported by a fund of $500 million over five years, including $377 million of new investment. 

Sugar marketing

I support growers in their quest to retain control of who they market sugar to.

The present Queensland sugar marketing legislation does need some fine tuning.

In one instance, that I am aware of, the unintended consequence of the legislation has been that it has prevented a miller from being able to obtain credit to pay growers immediately for the part of the crop that was sold onto the refining side of the business.

Perhaps as a last resort, a final compulsory arbitration clause needs to be added (to the present Queensland legislation) if agreement cannot be reached between growers and a miller.

This would be an incentive for millers to negotiate in good faith. 

Jobs and growth

As it was recently reported in the local media, Dawson has lost more jobs under George Christensen's watch than any other seat in the country.

Since the 2013 election, unemployment has jumped 3.7% and is now at an all-time high at 8.4%.

On top of this, we've lost 1,127 local apprentices since December 2013. My plan for local jobs includes delivering $150 million to fully-fund the Walkerston Bypass project which will support 390 new jobs.

To support more jobs and tourism, we're also partnering with the Whitsunday Regional Council to deliver a $13 million revitalisation of the Airlie Beach Foreshore as well as delivering the new $29 million Cannonvale water project.

 

GREENS candidate, Jonathan Dykyj

GREENS: Jonathan Dykyj. Photo contributed.
GREENS: Jonathan Dykyj. Photo contributed. Contributed.

Farmers and reef

Farms are not the only sources of run-off - urban areas, industry and mining all have run-off that impacts on the reef.

I acknowledge that farmers are already doing good work to reduce and prevent run-off into the reef waters.

The Greens have a plan to assist this work further including $500 million in new federal grant funding over five years to assist farmers to transition to more sustainable practices in relation to water quality pollution, to fund 'landscape repair' projects like revegetation, wetlands restoration and combating gully erosion. 

Sugar marketing

This situation has shown just how de-regulation has been a disaster for not just sugar but for other primary industries like dairy.

I think that the growers should be given more of a say and be listened to by the company and government. 

Jobs and growth

The Greens have the vision for a strong and sustainable economy and the courage to act to implement it.

Let's embrace the job opportunities in renewable energy locally, and more broadly in central and northern Queensland.

These jobs are in design, manufacturing, installation and maintenance.

There are thousands of jobs in mine rehabilitation - keeping workers in regional areas, getting good outcomes for our land and water, and returning the land to productive use.

Investing in agriculture and horticulture, including job creating processing and value-adding facilities, is a focus for me, and I oppose the "backpacker tax".

A decent NBN; education; aged care and health services, will also produce meaningful jobs.

Finally, climate change will impact jobs in existing industries of horticulture, tourism, and fishing and we need action to prevent that.

 

KAP candidate, Ashley Dodd

STANDING: Katter's Australian Party candidate Ashley Dodd. Photo contributed.
STANDING: Katter's Australian Party candidate Ashley Dodd. Photo contributed. Contributed.

Farmers and reef

The First Nations people and the farmers have a shared duty of care for the lands and waters of Dawson.

Hence I will advocate for the development and implementation of the Dawson land and water management Co-operative between the First Nations people and the farmers.

If this shared affiliation is maximised; then a Co-operative "good will" should be sufficient to achieve the development of the Dawson land and water management Co-operative, which is necessary to maximise the health of the lands, waters and the Great Barrier Reef. 

Sugar marketing

Katter's Australian Party introduced a private members bill in the Queensland Parliament which granted the Burdekin Cane farmers the opportunity to chose their own marketing group.

However Wilmar is pushing back against this legislation.

Wilmar International Limited is Asia's leading agribusiness group and is protected by the free trade agreement between Singapore and Australia.

It appears the LNP and the ALP are willing to protect Wilmar and enforce the trade agreement, even at the detriment of the Burdekin Cane Growers.

If the ALP candidate and/or the current LNP MP are elected into the seat of Dawson then their parties will probably protect Wilmar and enforce the free trade agreement.

Hence the Burdekin Cane Growers will be placed in a precarious position; Therefore it is absurd to vote for the ALP candidate and/or the current LNP MP, moreover this argument shows you should vote for Katter's Australian Party.

Jobs and growth

I am 100% committed to developing and implementing the Dawson Community Co-operative Corporation (DCCC) if elected at the upcoming federal election.

The DCCC will be modeled on the Mondragon Co-operative Corporation.

The DCCC will create and secure jobs, income and social and political benefits. for the people living in the regional communities of Dawson.

The benefits of the DCCC will be felt in the regional communities including, but are not limited to Mackay, Airlie, Bowen, Ayr and Townsville South.

The first priority for the DCCC is to establish the Dawson Electricity Co-operative.

The need for an electricity co-operative is dire, because the increases in the current electricity prices are due to a deregulated electricity retail sector.

This is impacting negatively on senior citizens, low income earners, business owners, the agricultural sector and the domestic sector.

The development and implementation of the Dawson Electricity Co-operative will deliver wholesale electricity prices to consumers, which will drastically reduce the cost of electricity.

The Dawson Electricity Co-operative will be a member owned co-operative and the totality of membership fees will be distributed back into the community owned DCCC to fund other community co-operatives such as: Dawson Cannery Co-operative, Dawson Agricultural Co-operative, Dawson Housing Co-operative, Dawson Ethanol Co-operative, Dawson Banking Co-operative and Dawson Meat Works Co-operative

 

Glenn Lazarus Team candidate, Michael Hall

STANDING: Glenn Lazaru Team candidate for Dawson Michael Hall. Photo contributed.
STANDING: Glenn Lazaru Team candidate for Dawson Michael Hall. Photo contributed. Contributed.

Farmers and reef

Firstly, I think it's important to recognise what farmers have already done up to this point.

There's been mention around some funding to help our farmers work their land better.

For me, it's more about assisting them in education, in helping them understand.

We're basically trying to tell them how to work their land but I don't think we get a better advocate for how to look after their land than a farmer.

Without them we have nothing.

It's assisting them with funding and education but at the same time, not expecting them to have to pay for that funding.

One of the things the government is thinking about is having a fund in place that the farmers can use but it acts as more of a loan they're expected to pay it back - but I don't think that's the answer.

Without them we have nothing.

If we're going to say "you need to do your job better" than we need to support them. 

Sugar marketing

I believe that the government should have legislation in place which will allow our cane growers the ability to have supply contracts for three years.

The farmers should not be tied to any one marketing company. 

Jobs and growth

We want to see regional areas create sustainable jobs for Queenslanders.

We want to see money invested into grass roots industries like agriculture and tourism and additional incentives for apprenticeships and traineeships to enable a skilled and flexible workforce.

We have fantastic opportunities throughout the Dawson electorate and beyond to capitalize on the very fabric of what Queensland was built on.

We will oppose any international deals that are cutting Aussies out of a job.

We would like to see serious restrictions on 457 Visa's until significant effort is made to source Australian workers first.

 

Independent candidate, Steven (Fred) Large

STANDING: Steven 'Fred' Large. Photo contributed.
STANDING: Steven 'Fred' Large. Photo contributed. Contributed.

Farmers and reef

Farmers are well on the way towards a greener, healthier, growing system - they're already doing an astounding job of tidying their act up.

They're upgrading themselves i.e. 1975 Proserpine, 11000ha area was fully cultivated three times a year and in 2016 23000ha of crop, 4000 ha, is annually cultivated, the rest is untouched by cultivation.

Most tourist organisations will not have this pointed out to them.

Other ways we can help is by government schooling on best practice and getting assistance from government schooling.

Sugar marketing

I've been a primary sugar cane producer for 15 years and for cattle, 16 years.

Sugar cane needs government attention.

If you listen to the public beating their drum about Wilmar Sugar, Warrnanbool Cheese, Kidman cattle properties - the public are terribly upset about the sale of those items and what they're doing to Australia's sovereignty.

Those people have not bought those structures to help us here in Australia and our government has just stood by and watched all in the name of a level playing field, but for who?

I would be very staunch about some form of legislation to ensure that primary industries get a viable margin of the retail price.

If I have anything to do with that, it will be strongly policed. 

Jobs and growth

My answer to creating more jobs in the region would be to put as much mining/earthmoving machinery, as possible, to work on a channel/pipe system from Charters Towers to Lake Buchanan - over the Great Dividing Range to Lake Eyre water shed (not the reef).

And to utilise our idle machinery currently under lease and employ our local Mackay to Townsville work force to drive such, as we are the closest local work force.

To pay for this I would use a primary industries bond system, where investors (especially aged pensioners) can offset tax dollars into funding the system, keeping our hands out of the national deficit as much as possible.

Also, free-holding the resultant land and water to family Australians, almost as in land ballot with attached water rights never to be financed outside the involved water shed.

This has been the financial ruin of farmers in the Murray Darling system.

This is the only way I know of value adding to our economy and trading our way out of debt, caused by successive ALP and LNP sloth in spending tax dollars.

Legislation accompanying this system would involve ruling so as to guard against any overseas buy out by international individuals or parties.

 

Family First candidate, Amanda Nickson

Family First candidate for Dawson Amanda Nickson. Photo contributed.
Family First candidate for Dawson Amanda Nickson. Photo contributed. Contributed.

"GIVE Amanda a break, she's putting her family first."

That's how Family First senator Rob McGarvie responded to critics of Federal Dawson candidate Amanda Nickson, who despite the looming election, is in Thailand and won't return until after the vote.

He said blame should instead be levelled at the Federal Government, which had indicated the election would be held in September before calling it in early July.

"Amanda's in the same boat as a record number of Australians who are turning out at pre-poll to vote early.

Their family were not expecting a July election during Queensland school holidays," he said, adding the election timing was really about power and control, and that no thought had been given to the inconvenience to families or the billions it would add to the national debt.

Ms Nickson was contacted for comment.  


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