FACING OFF: Belinda Hassan (Labor), George Christensen (LNP), Brendan Bunyan (KAP), Colin Thompson (United Australia Party) and Lachlan Queenan (independent) at the recent Dawson Candidate Debate in Bowen.
FACING OFF: Belinda Hassan (Labor), George Christensen (LNP), Brendan Bunyan (KAP), Colin Thompson (United Australia Party) and Lachlan Queenan (independent) at the recent Dawson Candidate Debate in Bowen. Jordan Gilliland

Important election issues for Airlie Beach

WITH the federal election this weekend, the Whitsunday Times approached all of the candidates standing for Dawson to ask them what they thought were the most important issues for the Airlie Beach and Cannonvale area.

Liberal National Party candidate George Christensen spoke of what he called "sustained attacks on traditional industries which underpin our region", such as sugar, cattle and coal.

When these industries were strong, revenue flowed back to government to invest in the community, Mr Christensen said.

Labor Party candidate Belinda Hassan believes the tourism industry needs "every bit of assistance a federal member and government can provide" after Cyclone Debbie.

She also spoke of how the Great Barrier Reef provided local jobs.

Katter's Australian Party hopeful Brendan Bunyan spoke of how he felt the cost of living was too high and how that had a flow-on effect to the tourism industry.

"Regular families are less likely to holiday and if they do holiday locally then they are not spending much money," he said.

"If we make holidaying affordable in Australia we boost tourism."

Michael Turner of Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party believes there are several facilities that still need rebuilding after Cyclone Debbie.

He also believes further beautification is needed in beach areas to support growth in the tourism industry.

Independent Lachlan Queenan believes the biggest issue in this election is "accountability in government".

He also said water and power infrastructure building needed to start immediately.

The other four candidates, Ann-Maree Ware (Democratic Labour Party), Imogen Lindenberg (The Greens), Colin Thompson (United Australia Party) and Debra Lawson (One Nation) did not answer the question from the Whitsunday Times.

Here is what the candidates had to say.

Brendan Bunyan

Most involved with the tourism industry understand that when our primary industries are doing well the flow-on effect pays dividends.

Currently with the cost of living too high, regular families are less likely to holiday and if they do holiday locally then they are not spending much money.

If we make holidaying in Australia affordable we boost tourism.

We also have a State Government that has driven compliance cost up on our pubs and clubs which has further driven up their cost, this has taken away choices to their patrons and is slowly killing off one of the best party places in Australia.

We need to remove unnecessary compliance which would see reduction in the costs in the industry.

Michael Turner

The council chambers, culture hall, Conway Beach shelter shed and Cedar Creek Falls road all require urgent attention to rebuild after Cyclone Debbie.

This is very disturbing due to the length of time that has passed without these issues having not been fixed.

This raises safety concerns in some instances and area beautification.

Main Street of Proserpine requires attention for safety issues and beautification with the inclusion of facilities to accommodate RV overnight parking and RV waste disposal and the establishment of truck parking bay on the north and south sides of Proserpine. 

Promoting the area as a prime destination for tourists to come and visit, further beautification along the beach areas supporting growth in the tourism industry. 

Furthermore our police require dedicated support to stamp out the illegal drug trade.

However, I'm passionate about every aspect of Dawson. Any area within Queensland needs to be taken care of as number one priority. 

George Christensen

For the Whitsundays, this election is crucial.

There are sustained attacks on the traditional industries which underpin our region, such as our sugar, cattle and coal industries.

When these industries are strong, revenue flows back to government which can be used in invest in the community.

We've seen such investment for the Whitsundays from the Morrison Liberal National Government, with $29.6 million to fix flooding issues at Hamilton Plains, $2.5 million for the Whitsunday Maritime Training Centre to build a designated maritime education building, $4.4 million in total for the redevelopment of the Whitsunday Sportspark, the establishment of Headspace mental health services in the Whitsundays and $75,000 for Eco Barge Clean Seas to continue their great work.

I'm focused on removing unnecessary red tape and green tape strangling our tourism businesses and stopping them from creating an even better experience for tourists.

I'm also keen to see more direct investment in tourism projects, such as the Whitsunday Skyway. 

Belinda Hassan

With the region still getting back on its feet after Cyclone Debbie, I understand that our tourism industry needs every bit of assistance that a Federal Member and government can provide.

George Christensen has let us down.

I know that the Whitsunday region is pivotal to the local economy, and over the coming years, this sector will be a key driver of economic growth.

Labor will invest in the upgrade of the Whitsunday TAFE, providing the training that our kids and locals need to get a good, local job.

The Great Barrier Reef is on our doorstep and the envy of the rest of the world, also providing local jobs that we need.

Labor has always invested in the infrastructure that the Whitsunday region needs.

I've listened to the community and we'll deliver the $3.68 million injection the Whitsunday Sportspark needs to get on the job with completing this fantastic project.

Lachlan Queenan

The good people of the Whitsundays know that the biggest issue in this election is accountability in government.

We are all aware, the last decade has been atrocious.

We have had government from both sides govern for personal gain ahead of the national interest.

The personality contests have been endless.

This has to stop immediately. We must return to a policy debate and delivering real results.

The reality is we are half a billion dollars in the wrong direction, the cheques have been signed and we have nothing to show for it.

We need to build our nation for the future.

Water and power infrastructure has to be started immediately.

Our nation can't afford any more delays.


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