Qld election 2020: Recovery focus for Whitsunday campaign
Whitsunday electorate fast facts:
Incumbent: Jason Costigan (NQ First)
Margin: 0.6 per cent
Challengers: Angie Kelly (ALP), Amanda Camm (LNP), Deb Lawson (ONP), Ciaron Paterson (KAP), Paul Hilder (LCQ), Greg Armstrong (UAP) and Emma Barrett (Greens)
TO say Whitsunday has done it tough throughout the coronavirus pandemic is an understatement.
Businesses in the iconic Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays lost more than $5 million in bookings in just 72 hours during the COVID-19 crisis.
So it comes as no surprise that with fewer than two months until the 2020 state election, economic recovery and job boosting projects are at the top of candidate's lists.
Over the next week, the Daily Mercury will profile the state electorates of Whitsunday, Mackay, Mirani and Burdekin as a quick guide to the key issues and people that will play a part in this year's election.
First cab off the rank is Whitsunday, which covers the Northern Beaches of Mackay and right along the Bruce Highway from Farleigh to Debella, north of Proserpine.
It also takes in the tropical islands of the Whitsunday Passage.
The main towns in the north of this electorate include Cannonvale, Airlie Beach, Proserpine, Calen.
In the southern patch are the Mackay suburbs of Eimeo, Bucasia, Blacks Beach, Rural View and Shoal Point as well as small towns like Farleigh, Kuttabul and Seaforth.
Labor's Jan Jarratt was the Whitsunday MP from 2001 to 2012, succeeded by the incumbent Jason Costigan.
Mr Costigan, who is now leader of his own political party called NQ First, said economic recovery was his key priority.
He said recovery needed to start in the north of the state.
"If successful, the new party that I lead will implement our $6 billion Real Royalties for Regions program, 12 times bigger than what the LNP gave us under Campbell Newman and it's strictly for job-creating projects in North, Far North and Central Queensland," Mr Costigan said.
"In Whitsunday, they include new police, fire and ambulance stations from the Northern Beaches to Cannonvale, a new P-12 school for Cannon Valley, the North Australian Maritime College, sealing the Mt Ossa Seaforth Rd and a $200m pledge to floodproof and duplicate the Bruce Highway at Goorganga Plains."
Labor candidate Angie Kelly said the Palaszczuk Government would put the region in the best position for economic recovery with its $7 billion economic plan.
"Keeping Queenslanders working is the key to our region's plan for economic recovery," Ms Kelly said.
"By fast tracking road projects in our area, Queenslanders can keep visiting our beautiful region, which in turn will help our local tourism operators get back on track quicker, and support jobs for our locals."
LNP candidate Amanda Camm said she would stand up for industries such as tourism, mining and farming.
"The economic recovery of our region is the major priority," Ms Camm said.
"I will be a strong voice committed to standing up for tourism, mining and farming - the industries that fund our public services.
"The LNP has a policy of no new taxes, cheaper electricity and will invest in the regions."
One Nation candidate Deb Lawson said agriculture, mobile phone black spots, Hamilton and Goorganga plains, Northern Beaches access and crime were her top priorities.
Ms Lawson said she would ensure the Whitsunday electorate received its fair share of funding.
"I will push for the start of the flood mitigation to Hamilton Plains," she said.
"This funding has already been allocated by both State and Federal Governments, so there is no reason why this notorious stretch of road has not already been fixed."
Katter's Australia Party candidate Ciaron Paterson said one of the biggest issues in Whitsunday was how "labour hire at the coal face has been allowed to hurt our workers".
"If elected I would ensure there was more permanent jobs to guarantee employees were paid the correct wages, had job security and a stable future of superannuation," he said.
"The other main issue is how our farmers have been hurt with agriculture reef water regulations.
"If elected I would abolish all regulations that make life hell for farmers."