On board: Cannonvale man announced as NQ First president
A CANNONVALE man has been announced as the inaugural president of the North Queensland First Party.
The former chairman of the LNP Whitsunday State Electorate Council Richard Filewood will front the party behind Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan.
Mr Filewood says he will work to promote and support North Queenslanders.
"Whether you're a primary producer or a shopkeeper or a tourism operator or even a school teacher or a copper, if you live in North Queensland, we're here to really support and work for them,” he said.
"We are a conservative party by nature but our aim in everything we do is to put North Queensland first.”
Mr Filewood arrived in the region three years ago after living in various locations across regional Australia.
He hopes this experience in smaller communities will help him campaign for the needs of the Whitsunday region.
"The opportunity to continue my interest in politics but doing so on behalf on North Queenslanders is really important,” he said.
"I've seen in the three years that I've been here that so much is lacking because of a lack of appreciation and understanding by both major political parties about the needs of North Queenslanders.”
While Mr Filewood said the upcoming election would be "tough”, he was optimistic about the North Queensland First Party's chances.
"Come the next state election we hope to be running a candidate in every one of the 18 seats,” he said.
Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan was also hopeful of his party's chances despite allegations made against him earlier this year.
"I'm going to fight for the people of North Queensland, but at the same I'll fight to clear my name as well,” he said.
Mr Costigan was expelled from the LNP earlier this year following allegations he harassed an 18-year-old woman.
Mr Filewood resigned from the Liberal National Party in support of Mr Costigan in February this year and is looking forward to working alongside him in the upcoming election.
"I'm privileged and very honoured to take up the role of inaugural president and equally as importantly, humbled to support Jason in his ventures,” he said.
"As he said a while ago it's not every day a new political party starts, we've started and we aim to be here for a long, long time.”
Labor candidate Tracey Cameron, from Proserpine, will also compete for the seat of Whitsunday along with Mackay Regional Council Deputy Mayor Amanda Camm, who will stand for the LNP.