MAKING A POINT: Local boat ramp advocate Bob Spees explaining the dangers of the Cannonvale/ VMR ramp to state Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk and Whitsunday ALP candidate Bronwyn Taha last week.
MAKING A POINT: Local boat ramp advocate Bob Spees explaining the dangers of the Cannonvale/ VMR ramp to state Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk and Whitsunday ALP candidate Bronwyn Taha last week.

POLITICAL PROMISES

WHICHEVER one of the major parties wins the state election on January 31, funding has been guaranteed to fix the Cannonvale Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) boat ramp.

The boat ramp, which is exposed to northerly winds, was an election issue in 2012 when a protest along the Airlie Beach main street was held.

The latest twists and turns to this ongoing tale started last Thursday when Whitsunday fisherman Bob Spees told members of the national press that local MP Jason Costigan (LNP) was the worst politician he'd ever seen.

Mr Spees' statement was made to a bus-load of media accompanying state Leader of the Opposition Annastacia Palaszczuk (ALP) to the ramp, where a $3 million funding commitment was made.

Mr Spees told Ms Palaszczuk and the press about numerous accidents on the ramp and his efforts to work with Mr Costigan to fix it.

"He won't return my phone calls - he goes on Facebook but he won't talk. You can't [even] make an appointment to see this man [and] everybody here has the same problem," he said.

Ms Palaszczuk was horrified saying the ramp was obviously a priority for the Whitsundays and that Mr Costigan had failed to listen to his community.

She said thanks to the lobbying of local ALP candidate Bronwyn Taha, a Labor government would fund a capital works project including a breakwater, floating walkway, pontoon and widening of the current ramp, within its first term.

Four days later, Mr Costigan was at the ramp, accompanied by Minister for Transport Scott Emerson and local boat ramp advocate Greg France.

Mr Costigan, who claims he never made any funding promises in 2012 but simply vowed to "fight for our fair share", is also committing to a $3million upgrade.

"If we are re-elected this will actually happen in our second term - it's real money for a real project," he said.

"It's certainly been an issue that has pressed buttons right across this community - Mr Emerson's ears must have been bleeding from my representations to him in the corridors of power so I was thrilled to have him here to let it be known that if we're re-elected this will happen."

Mr Emerson corroborated this saying "Jason has never missed an opportunity to remind me that the Whitsunday region has the most registered boaties outside of southeast Queensland and the upgrade at Cannonvale will be needed to meet future demand".

Only hours after the LNP pledge was made, Greg France was on the phone to other Whitsunday candidates about what they could commit.

Greens candidate Tony Fontes said his party also supported the upgrade.

"[And] regarding cost, if the [current] government has $300 million dollars to support an Indian billionaire's coal project, then we should be able to find the money to fix the VMR boat ramp," he said.

Meanwhile, PUP candidate Kylee Stanton went straight to the top, securing a promise from Clive Palmer to fund the upgrade.

"Clive told me that if I'm elected then yes, and if the party gets in and I'm not elected then yes," she said.

While happy to announce this, Ms Stanton questioned why it had taken an election to get this far.

"It takes a popularity contest - it takes an election to make promises and the public do need to question this," she said.

Independent candidate Dan Van Blarcom may not have the backing of a political party to fund the upgrade but he too believes it should occur.

Mr Van Blarcom said he had spoken to Mr Spees about what needed to be done and "it is not rocket science".


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