State Opposition Deputy Leader Deb Frecklington, State Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls and Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan. Photo: Emily Smith
State Opposition Deputy Leader Deb Frecklington, State Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls and Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan. Photo: Emily Smith

WATCH: No more spills "unless I go to the pie shop": MP

THE next chance for a spill in the State Coalition will only come if Jason Costigan "goes to the local pie shop and drops some pasty on his shirt".

Despite voting for former opposition leader Lawrence Springborg in a leadership spill earlier this year, the Member for Whitsunday hosted new leader Tim Nicholls and deputy leader Deb Frecklington in Mackay today.

The trio plans to watch State of Origin at one of Mr Costigan's favourite watering holes at Airlie Beach tonight.

"I've got a great working relationship with the boss and the deputy," Mr Costigan said.

"It's no secret that I backed Laurence in the leadership spill, but that's all in the past now and in Tim we trust and in Deb we trust; I think we've great mix there of the big smoke and the bush."

But when asked whether he would back Mr Springborg again if a spill happened today, Mr Costigan dodged the question and said "it's hypothetical, we're not having spills unless I go to the pie shop and drop some pasty on my shirt".

It was Mr Nicholls first visit to the region since becoming Opposition Leader, and he voiced his concerns about cuts to Royalties for Regions funding, cuts to capital spending and high unemployment.

"We're talking with people, listening to what they have to say and putting together our policies as we lead up to the next election," he said.

He addressed concerns put forward by the Queensland Resources Council about recent legislation the QRC believes will hurt the sector.

While Mr Nicholls said he stood by the Mining and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (MOLA), which reinstates community objection rights to large mining projects, he said he would introduce a time limit for these objections to take place.

When it came to the Environmental Protection (Chain of Responsibility) Bill, which garnered bipartisan support when introduced by the State Government to ensure environmental obligations at mining sites were met, Mr Nicholls said it was "obviously having a detrimental effect on investment decisions".

"We will need to look at that. There needs to be appropriate safeguards for environmental remediation and protection but holding everyone responsible for everything is not the way to go," he said.

He also accused the Labor Government of encouraging the "criminalisation of almost everyone in the agricultural sector", and said incentives rather than "the big stick" was the way to ensure the Great Barrier Reef was protected without destroying the reputation of farmers.

Deputy leader Deb Frecklington said if her party came into government, they would review and look at the science when it came to net-free zones, brought in by the current government last year.

While she did not say if they would repeal the net-free zones, she said many commercial fishermen were now displaced and the compensation they received following the closure would also be reconsidered.


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