Left to right: Burdekin MP Dale Last, NQ First candidate Carolyn Moriarty and Labor candidate Mike Brunker.
Left to right: Burdekin MP Dale Last, NQ First candidate Carolyn Moriarty and Labor candidate Mike Brunker.

Qld election 2020: Mixed bag of key issues for Burdekin

Burdekin electorate fast facts:

Incumbent: Dale Last (LNP)

Margin: Less than 1 per cent

Challengers: Carolyn Moriarty (NQ First) and Mike Brunker (ALP)

 

BURDEKIN is the state's fifth largest electorate geographically, spanning 78,681 square kilometres.

It covers a diverse range of industries, areas and landscapes - from the coastal town of Bowen, to mining communities such as Collinsville, Dysart, Moranbah and Clermont.

In the north, it includes the agricultural districts around Ayr and Home Hill.

This seat is one to watch during the election because of the history between two of its challengers.

Labor candidate Mike Brunker and the LNP's Dale Last will battle each other once again following a tight race in 2017.

Mr Brunker, a Whitsunday councillor, beat the Burdekin MP and former police officer on primary votes.

But Mr Last defeated him by a nose once preferences were distributed.

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The electorate is best described as "mixed" - so it is only fitting that an array of key issues will be on voters' minds as they head to the polls.

Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bowen. Picture: Tourism Whitsundays Escape – Sammy Stewart
Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bowen. Picture: Tourism Whitsundays Escape – Sammy Stewart

Mr Last said roads, health services and cheaper power prices were at the top of the agenda for communities in this diverse seat.

"The Burdekin electorate is the most diverse in Queensland and all I have ever asked for is our fair share of the pie when it comes to the infrastructure and services that the State Government is responsible for," he said.

"That diversity and geographical size means there are a variety of issues affecting different areas but there are also common issues like roads, health care and the cost of living that are raised with me daily."

The Burdekin MP has vowed to listen to affected people, work cooperatively and fight to secure the electorate's fair share.

"I am a passionate advocate for equality in services and just because our constituents live in a rural area shouldn't mean they have to put up with substandard services, particularly in the areas of health and education," he said.

Mr Brunker said he was focused on providing job security for the "multitude" of industries within Burdekin, including sugar, horticulture and mining.

"In the whole scheme of things, to look after the people here is about providing the jobs for them," he said.

The Burdekin electorate takes in the mining regions of Moranbah, Clermont and Dysart. Picture: Zizi Averill
The Burdekin electorate takes in the mining regions of Moranbah, Clermont and Dysart. Picture: Zizi Averill

Mr Brunker said he would be a strong voice in parliament to speak up on a number of mining-related issues, such as casualisation of the workforce and industry safety.

"It is about having a good, strong voice in parliament so that when you are sitting around the caucus table, you can get that fair share of funding," he said.

NQ First candidate Carolyn Moriarty said the biggest issues facing Burdekin were the neglect of State Government services including health, education and roads.

"They have historically been underfunded and consecutive governments have not valued nor recognised the great contribution made by and potential of rural and regional Queensland," Ms Moriarty said.

"The one size fits all method currently adopted does not work."

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She said NQ First's $6 billion Real Royalties for Regions program would kick start the rejuvenation of North Queensland.

"This money will be new money - nothing will be taken from existing projects that will benefit the north - and will be spent in its entirety on projects that will benefit North Queensland," Ms Moriarty said.


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