We’ve asked candidates a number of questions to help make the choice easier. Picture: Brendan Radke
We’ve asked candidates a number of questions to help make the choice easier. Picture: Brendan Radke

HOT TOPICS: Quizzing our candidates on our big issues

WE PUT a set of questions to our candidates for Bundaberg and Burnett in the lead-up to the October 31 election.

Questions were sent to all candidates, the ones who answered are listed below.

 

Andrew and Sean Healey wait out the Bundaberg floods of their Water St home, December 2010. Photo: File
Andrew and Sean Healey wait out the Bundaberg floods of their Water St home, December 2010. Photo: File

 

TOPIC: FLOODING

It's been nearly eight years since the record 2013 Bundaberg flood - what's your position on progressing the two main recommendations of the Ten Year Bundaberg Flood Action Plan - specifically things like the Bundaberg North Flood Evacuation Route and the Bundaberg East Flood Levee?

 

Incumbent Bundaberg MP David Batt.
Incumbent Bundaberg MP David Batt.

 

Bundaberg LNP incumbent David Batt (response below):

As the former Deputy Mayor, Disaster Recovery coordinator for Bundaberg's 2010/11 and 2013 flood events and now as Bundy's MP, I have lived and breathed flood mitigation for years.

Right before the last state election the Labor Party promised 'boots on the ground to flood proof Bundaberg' and since then we have seen absolutely nothing.

It is disappointing to see Labor using flood mitigation as a political game.

It is certainly not a game for the people of Bundaberg.

I am passionate about flood mitigation, which is why I have continually met with residents, including members of the Anti-Levee Group.

It is also why I have repeatedly asked the Minister and the Department for briefings on any progress of the Bundaberg flood action plan, only to have the door slammed in my face.

A Bundaberg East Levee would protect hundreds of homes and businesses in the Bundaberg East and South suburbs, but there are concerns it could negatively impact those on the river side and, it would do nothing to assist the Bundaberg North residents.

I believe the Bundaberg North Flood Evacuation Route is also a very worthwhile project as it gives North residents access in and out of the rest of Bundaberg in a future flood event similar to 2013.

It's very important Bundaberg North is not forgotten and residents are not left in isolation.

I will always fight for flood mitigation for Bundaberg when and where it is needed.

 

 

Bundaberg's Labor Candidate Tom Smith.
Bundaberg's Labor Candidate Tom Smith.

 

Bundaberg Labor candidate Tom Smith (response below):

Nothing is more important than community safety.

Just last week, we announced a re-elected Palaszczuk Labor Government would commit $42.5 million for the Bundaberg East Flood Levee.

This is the next step in delivering the 10-year action plan.

We need the Federal Government to stop sitting on their hands when it comes to this project because community safety is a responsibility of every level of government.

I will continue to work with all levels of governance to ensure the safety of lives and livelihoods in Bundaberg.

 

 

Burnett candidate Ric Glass.
Burnett candidate Ric Glass.

 

Burnett independent candidate Ric Glass (response below):

North should be parkland and state/BRC should buy back the houses and complete that project first.

I like the flood evacuation route but the levee can only cause problems across and further down the river by increasing the velocity of the water flow.

You can't have a levee like that in a densely populated area, it will only cause an equal and opposite reaction at another location and the increase in velocity of the flowing water the levee will create in a big flood will be devastating elsewhere.

 

 

Incumbent Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett.
Incumbent Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett.

 

Burnett LNP incumbent Stephen Bennett (response below):

We all recognise that you can't stop floods, but we can do a better job at avoiding some of the damage.

While in government, the LNP invested $200 million to deliver critical flood mitigation projects for the Bundaberg and Burnett region.

Major projects were progressing well prior to the last state election with all levels of governments providing much-needed funds, including an early warning network of river and rain gauges, to provide real time information to notify locals.

Since Labor took over, they have failed on their promises to put boots on the ground.

It's been really disturbing to see the Labor government fail to communicate with the people of Bundaberg and the Burnett about flood mitigation options.

They have continually kept the community in the dark, causing fear and apprehension.

This is simply not good enough.

 

Paul Hudson is running for the KAP.
Paul Hudson is running for the KAP.

Burnett Katter's Australian Party candidate Paul Hudson (response below):

The flood waters have to go somewhere.

Building a levee does not make the water disappear, it just makes it go somewhere else.

If the levee is built, will this mean that some houses over east will be OK, but other houses previously unaffected, will now flood?

 

The drug ice has caused devastation in the region. Photo: Drug and Firearms Squad.
The drug ice has caused devastation in the region. Photo: Drug and Firearms Squad.

 

TOPIC: ICE USE

There are many concerns in the community about the drug ice - how will you address the problem and do you view it more as a law enforcement issue or a matter of public health?

 

Bundaberg LNP incumbent David Batt:

Drugs don't discriminate, they decimate.

During my 23 years as a police officer, I spent the majority of my time working as a detective and have seen first-hand the devastating impact insidious drugs like ice are having on Bundaberg families.

Ice is the most-consumed illegal drug in Australia and it is used more here in regional Queensland than in Brisbane.

The LNP wants to see the end of the scourge of ice.

That is why an LNP Government will build four new drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres in regional Queensland, including one here in the Bundaberg region.

Our plan will provide the treatments, education and awareness that is so desperately needed.

Our police also need the legislative support the LNP is pledging so they can do their jobs to keep our streets safe, we'll make sure they have the backing to get repeat offenders off the street, so our community feels safe.

 

Bundaberg Labor candidate Tom Smith:

Successfully tackling the problems associated with ice requires both a law and order and health response.

Our $100 million five-year strategy has two clear targets - to cut supply and treat those who need help.

With more specialist police on the ground hitting drug labs and dealer networks, the message to those making or trafficking ice is simple: sooner rather than later, you will be caught. Treatment is just as important as cutting supply, which is why the Palaszczuk Labor Government is delivering a residential drug rehab facility in Central Queensland. I want anyone suffering with addiction to know that it is possible to recover and lead a productive, healthy life.

Burnett independent candidate Ric Glass:

It is a public health and mental health problem for sure and detox centres would be a good idea all the usual places where police and magistrates can refer abusers other than community service and heavy fines/gaol.

You can't just quit this stuff, you need to be separated from the community to beat it and methadone might help but cold turkey is extreme.

Bundaberg has a great police force.

David Batt MP has had 22 years of police and detective experience.

Mayor Jack Dempsey ex police minister and also longer in the force than David are our experts.

Bundaberg is the heart and business centre of Burnett.

I will work in co-operation with police recommendations and "these two experts" we are privileged to have in the highest positions in our "shared" community.

The very reason our police force is top notch.

I have had a Justice Administration (Prisons and Private Security) background.

I fought organised crime in the NSW Wran Government from 1983 to 1988 and made my political bones with NSW Premier Nick Griener and NSW Premier John Fahey in the process.

I have absolute faith in David, Jack and Bundaberg Police.

Our out of town police stations, I would meet with and discuss proposals with those smaller local Burnett precincts, seeking counsel from David and Jack symbiotically.

I like to do things symbiotically with authorities and don't pretend to be what I am not.

It is quid pro quoin law and order between districts.

 

Burnett LNP incumbent Stephen Bennett:

Every week I hear stories of what this terrifying drug is doing to our young people - stories of families being torn apart, crime rates increasing and our police and hospital services struggling to cope.

The LNP is determined to take a stand against ice, to end the pain and destruction it's causing in our communities.

That's why a Deb Frecklington LNP Government will implement a comprehensive strategy to combat the growing ice epidemic in regional Queensland.

We will deliver more local treatment services, with four rehabilitation and detox centres to be established including one right here in the Wide Bay to get people off their addiction and get them they help they need to stay clean.

My focus is on more treatment, more prevention and more rehabilitation.

We want to shut down the big crime gangs and help those local families coping with addiction.

 

Burnett Katter's Australian Party candidate Paul Hudson:

It is both a law and order issue and a public health issue.

However, it is interesting to look at the situation in countries like Singapore, where there are severe punishments for dealing in drugs and drugs use.

Perhaps we could learn something from them.

Exterminated drugs pushers can't sell drugs.

 

Centrelink Bundaberg
Centrelink Bundaberg

 

TOPIC: JOBS

It's fair to say that employment statistics in the region were fairly grim even pre-Covid - what's your plan for creating more jobs in the region?

 

Bundaberg LNP incumbent David Batt:

Under Labor, Queensland has presided over the nation's highest unemployment, lowest business confidence and highest amount of business bankruptcies, all before COVID.

Here in the Wide Bay our unemployment rate has increased to 11.4% - the worst in Queensland with 13,900 locals unemployed.

When it comes to youth unemployment, our region's rates are historically high - currently sitting at 26.5%.

The LNP has big and bold plans.

Our vision is to make Queensland the economic powerhouse of Australia once again, the best place to get a job, get ahead and raise a family.

By investing in new infrastructure like the New Bradfield Scheme and four laning the Bruce from Gympie to Cairns, the LNP will grow our economy and create a decade of secure, long-term jobs.

We will also fix Paradise Dam which one in five Bundy jobs rely on.

The LNP has guaranteed there will be no new taxes, and business needs that assurance, so it has confidence to invest and hire.

 

Bundaberg Labor candidate Tom Smith:

Labor has an $8 billion economic recovery plan that unashamedly backs Queensland jobs - and it's working.

State employment grew by 32,000 last month, or more than 1000 jobs a day. In Bundaberg, Labor has already committed to delivering more police, teachers, teacher aides and frontline health staff.

We are delivering job-creating infrastructure like the Bundaberg East Flood Levee, supporting 679 jobs, and the Isis Highway upgrade.

Labor will extend our successful free TAFE and apprenticeships program to under 25s to help our young people get job-ready, and we've committed more than $4 million to Bundaberg TAFE to help locals up-skill.

Coupled with our $40 million manufacturing support package and $140 million small business strategy, we have a laser-like focus on jobs and rebuilding our economy.

Burnett independent candidate Ric Glass:

Train locals to do farm work, make it a Tafe course with a certificate.

No more visa workers taking aussie jobs.

Education, Incentives like the old NEIS Program, opportunity.

I have proven over decades hiring people on the dole, they want to work.

My brother in law (ex) and myself ran Mr Minit type shops.

Young men would hang around the counter and watch day after day "wanting to learn" I employed many over the years "one at a time", all were long-term so-called dole bludgers and now they are still in that business all their lives in different towns around NSW.

As an employer, I have proven time and time again these youths and young men "want a go" but all they get is s--t which lowers their self esteem and keeps them down and eyes lowered in public.

Anyone who thinks all the unemployed are bludgers are idiots, I have proven and my brother in law the same, I have done community projects to show they want to succeed but government needs an employment pool to drive down wages and make people work harder thinking there are others lined up to take your job.

It is a ruse from LNP and Labor, but Labor are usually more sympathetic.

 

Burnett LNP incumbent Stephen Bennett:

Prior to COVID, Queensland had the nation's highest unemployment, most bankruptcies and lowest business confidence. Unemployment figures released this week confirm our region has the highest unemployment in the state.

Bundaberg cannot afford another five years of Labor.

The LNP has an ambitious plan to stimulate the economy, create a decade of secure jobs and lead Queensland out of this recession.

Our vision is to make Queensland the economic powerhouse of Australia once again, the best place to get a job, get ahead and raise a family.

The LNP will set an unemployment target of 5 per cent to get Queensland working again.

The 200,000 Queenslanders out of work right now need a government with an economic plan to achieve a jobs target.

Labor has no Budget, no plan and no unemployment target.

If you don't set targets, you don't have focus and you simply aren't working hard enough.

The LNP's target of 5 per cent means Queensland's economy is growing and jobs are being created.

The LNP's economic plan will create 150,000 jobs by investing in job-creating infrastructure, lowering taxes and reducing electricity prices.

 

Burnett Katter's Australian Party candidate Paul Hudson:

Scott Morrison's dole bludger coronavirus bonus bonanza was a bad idea.

We now have people sitting about thinking that they can live quite comfortably by doing nothing.

I have spoken to many business owners who say it is impossible to get staff, simply because the government pays them so much to stay at home and do nothing.

Cutting the dole and limiting it to a max of six months would be a great encouragement for bludgers to get off their backsides and find a job.

 

 

Protecting the Great Barrier Reef is a serious issue. Photo: Andrew Watson
Protecting the Great Barrier Reef is a serious issue. Photo: Andrew Watson

 

TOPIC: REEF PROTECTION

Farming and tourism are two key industries in the region and both will be looking to recover after the pandemic - where do you stand on reef protection legislation - and what will you do to balance those sometimes competing interests?

 

Bundaberg LNP incumbent David Batt:

Nobody wants to see the Great Barrier Reef come under threat - including our farmers.

But it's clear Labor wants to hurt them and put their livelihoods at risk.

In September 2019 Labor enforced ridiculous reef regulations that do not even guarantee that the reef will reap any benefits.

Just like every single Queenslander, the LNP believes farmers deserve a fair go.

They are already constrained by red tape, being hit with soaring electricity prices, dealing with decreased water security, and facing extreme vegetation management laws under this Labor Government.

The LNP will launch a consultation process within its first 30 days, with the intention of delivering the reviews of those laws' findings by mid-2021.

An LNP government's approach would be based on providing certainty of process to encourage investment and acknowledging and accommodating Queensland's unique biodiversity.

 

Bundaberg Labor candidate Tom Smith:

The Great Barrier Reef contributes $6 billion to the economy and supports 60,000 jobs.

Poor water quality is a major threat to the Reef and urgent action is needed now. Decades of peer reviewed expert scientific evidence backs this.

All the requirements under the Reef Regulations are based on the cane industry's own Six Easy Steps approach.

The requirements allow growers to tailor fertiliser use across their farms, considering different soil types and constraints so they can optimise fertiliser use and maximise profitability.

Since the new reef regulations were introduced, the government has also invested an additional $10 million in rebates to assist farmers in reef catchments to seek agronomic advice.

 

Burnett independent candidate Ric Glass:

I have not done enough research on this.

I see it on TV, I listen, I see the farm run-off killing the reef as well as whatever else is in the rivers and tributaries, but I haven't heard a convincing conclusion only one side defending against allegations of the other.

I would investigate this myself and pretty fast but "not rushed". Is there an answer?

Have these scientists and farmers come up with a solution.

I don't think so and asking the public wont help.

I need to see scientific reports and talk to "both sides" to make an assessment of my own to minimise harm without killing an Industry or damaging the reef.

 

Burnett LNP incumbent Stephen Bennett:

Our local farmers take their responsibility to the environment and especially the Great Barrier Reef seriously.

Reef regulations need to be about collaboration and co-operation; that is why the LNP has written to 28 agricultural groups including AgForce, Canegrowers, Australian Banana Growers Council, and regional cane and horticultural groups pledging to fix Labor's unworkable reef regulations.

We are all striving for the same outcomes - healthy landscapes and reef, a strong and viable agriculture industry, and vibrant communities.

Our reef is absolutely vital to our region, but so are our farmers.

Unfortunately, these draconian reef regulations fail to strike a balance between preserving the environment and protecting local jobs.

The LNP fully supports Queensland farmers and we are determined to unlock the state's agricultural potential, to supercharge our regions and create jobs.

An LNP government will work with the agricultural sector and environmental groups to develop new environmental reef standards which will be enshrined in legislation.

The five key principles to the LNP's approach include:

• Improving water quality standards to protect the Great Barrier Reef

• Protecting and securing our valuable agricultural sector

• Legislating minimum standards

• Respecting property rights

• Incentivising best practices

 

Burnett Katter's Australian Party candidate Paul Hudson:

Bleaching is a natural phenomena. It's time to stop blaming farmers for everything.

I will quote Dr Peter Ridd, the scientist who was fired for "wrongthink" over the reef.

Quote: "The world has been completely mislead by scientists about the affect of bleaching and rarely mention the spectacular regrowth that occurs. For example, the 2016 bleaching event supposedly killed either 95%, 50% or 30% of the reef depending upon which headline and scientist you want to believe. But the scientists only looked at very shallow water coral - less than 2 meters below the surface which is only a small fraction of all the coral, but by far the most susceptible to getting hot in the tropical sun." End quote.

 

 

What will candidates do to aid in recovery from Covid?
What will candidates do to aid in recovery from Covid?

 

TOPIC: COVID RECOVERY

Post Covid every community in the state is going to be crying out for cash for various things - a lot of people feel like that regional areas like Bundaberg miss out to the south east so what specifically are you going to fight to get into the budget for Bundaberg?

 

Bundaberg LNP incumbent David Batt:

As Bundaberg's MP I've worked hard to push this Brisbane centric Labor Government to listen to Bundy and have delivered hundreds of positive outcomes for locals.

As we come out of COVID, we need a bold ambitious plan to get Bundy and Queensland working again and it's only the LNP that will unlock the untapped potential for our region. Through projects like the New Bradfield Scheme and four laning Bruce between Gympie and Cairns, we'll create a decade of stable jobs.

We will lead Queensland out of this recession and secure the future of our children and our grandchildren. Building our economy means we can provide greater support for our hospitals, schools and law enforcement.

It means we can better invest in local projects like fixing Paradise Dam to deliver water and economic security.

We will also commit to the Hinkler Regional Deal and start work on projects like de-maining Quay Street.

And, we will deliver a full budget in the first 100 days of government and fast-track the detailed business case for a new Bundaberg hospital. Because without a budget, we can't build a new hospital.

 

Bundaberg Labor candidate Tom Smith:

If elected, my job is to fight for our fair share. I've already secured $100,000 for lighting at Salter Oval, $42.5 million for the Bundaberg East Flood Levee and $42.5 million for vital upgrades along the Isis Highway.

Moving forward, I'm backing safer roads, even better schools, delivering our new hospital and any future projects and programs that create and support local jobs.

 

Burnett independent candidate Ric Glass:

It is simple, when we get restrictions lifted as soon as shops re-open, people will turn up. People are still not confident it is safe, when they are confident, retail will lead the recovery, followed by manufacture, wholesale and services industry is already firing up as we speak.

 

Burnett LNP incumbent Stephen Bennett:

The LNP team wants a secure economic future for you and your family right here in Bundaberg and the Burnett.

A future where Queensland's best days are ahead of us.

Unfortunately, we are in the midst of the worst recession in almost a century, but the Palaszczuk Labor Government has failed to provide an economic plan for recovery.

The LNP has an ambitious plan to stimulate the economy, create a decade of secure jobs and drag Queensland out of this recession.

Our vision is to make Queensland the economic powerhouse of Australia once again, the best place to get a job, get ahead and raise a family.

The LNP's economic plan will get Queensland working again.

Our plan for a stronger economy and secure jobs is based on four foundations:

• Investing for growth

• Unleashing Queensland industry

• Supercharging the regions

• Securing our children's future

 

 

A modest display of corflutes on the corner of Maryborough St.
A modest display of corflutes on the corner of Maryborough St.

 

TOPIC: PREFERENCES

Where will your preferences be going?

 

Bundaberg LNP incumbent David Batt:

The LNP is making no preference deals with any minor parties.

No matter how preferences are listed by candidates, it is up to the voter to decide how they preference.

All I ask is you put a one (1) next to my name and number every box.

 

Bundaberg Labor candidate Tom Smith:

Our preferences are clearly listed on the how to vote cards.

However, the clear choice this election is to support the strong and stable Palaszczuk Labor Government that has kept Queenslanders safe during the global pandemic.

 

Burnett independent candidate Ric Glass:

I am not preferencing anyone. Lib/Lab both the same to me.

I am an independent and have to work with whichever government is elected.

I am not a ring-in, I am not a stooge, I am not here to get another party elected by directing any preferences which might not get the best party to win.

Some parties don't care about constituents, they just want leverage and "the balance of power" to get their own agenda passed.

My agenda is to be 100% dedicated to my constituents for no other reason than get them the best deal, and work with local and state government to do that symbiotically.

The closer the election is and the fewer seats the majors get the more power independents get "Wellington" comes to mind.

A Hung parliament would get Burnett a great deal with an Independent, same as a minority government.

It would rain money on Burnett in those circumstances.

Put a 1. Next to my name "Ric Glass" and go down the list and put the last number at the top.

 

Burnett LNP incumbent Stephen Bennett:

The only way to change the government is to vote 1 LNP.

History shows that a vote for other parties or independents elects Labor governments.

Queensland needs a majority government.

If you're unhappy with preference voting - talk to Robbie Katter.

He backed the Labor government's compulsory preference voting bill - in stark contravention of Fitzgerald Inquiry recommendations aimed at stopping electoral fraud in Queensland.

Now he's whingeing about preferences and the impact they may have.

For Robbie Katter to claim that preferencing Greens over Labor is a recipe for chaos.

At least with the Greens we know what we're getting - an anti jobs, anti progress agenda. Labor lies, and shifts positions, according to what their union mates tell them. Ask Robbie - did Labor lie to you?

Why would you support them again?

 

Burnett Katter's Australian Party candidate Paul Hudson:

The preferences go wherever the voter decides.

Our how-to-vote cards are merely a suggestion.

We ask that you vote 1 Hudson KAP and then number every box in order of your own preference.

Our HTV cards are a suggestion only.

Your preferences go where you want them to go.

 

Bundaberg Regional Council offices.
Bundaberg Regional Council offices.

 

TOPIC: COUNCIL PROJECTS

Bundaberg council released its advocacy list recently that included 29 economic, social, community and environmental priorities - which items on there, if any, will be a priority for you and why?

 

Bundaberg LNP incumbent David Batt:

The LNP will prioritise fixing Paradise Dam to deliver economic and water security for our region.

We will also sign up to the Hinkler Regional Deal and start work on projects like de-maining Quay Street.

Most importantly though, we will deliver a full budget in the first 100 days of Government and fast-track the detailed business case for a new Bundaberg hospital. Because without a budget, we can't build a new hospital.

 

Bundaberg Labor candidate Tom Smith:

We always work best when we work together.

Recently, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a $400 million regional investment in Works for Queensland - supporting local councils to deliver shovel-ready projects.

We have stood shoulder to shoulder with our local governments to create jobs right across the state and we're not going to stop now.

Labor is committed to delivering the new Bundaberg Hospital with a detailed business case underway and preferred site identified.

We have also committed $42.5 million for the Bundaberg East Flood Levee - the next step in delivering the 10-year action plan.

It is worth noting the LNP have made no commitment to either of these projects, again showing that it is only the Palaszczuk Labor Government that is truly investing in Bundaberg.

 

Burnett LNP incumbent Stephen Bennett:

My top priority project on the Bundaberg Regional Council's state election wishlist is fixing Paradise Dam.

Water is life in the Bundaberg and Burnett region and the BRC and I have always been on the same page when it comes to the dam.

An LNP Government has already committed to fixing Paradise Dam by working with international experts to work on stabilising the dam wall.

I was very pleased to see the Bundaberg Regional Council state election wishlist of projects as it reinforces the fact that we have the same goal when it comes to securing the economic, social and environmental future of the region.

I hope I will be able to continue to work with the Bundaberg Council to deliver a number of these projects as I know our beautiful Burnett region has even better days to come.

While we need to see the State Labor Government stop playing politics with the region and sign off on the Hinkler Regional Deal that would attract more investment and jobs to the region.

 

Burnett Katter's Australian Party candidate Paul Hudson:

Council have a huge list of extravagant white elephant vanity projects planned.

Perhaps they are doing this in an attempt to justify their own existence.

The more numerous and more elaborate the projects, the more important the council will become.

This is what they want.

It's called "empire building". But someone has to pay for it.

And it will be the ratepayer and the tax payer.

Government at any level cannot spend money it has not taken from someone else.

We really need to attend to the essential things first before we even consider any of these hugely expansive and disruptive projects.

The only thing that is wrong with the CBD is that the rates are so high that nobody can survive running a business.

Instead of wasting huge sums of money doing studies about the fantasy of rebuilding the CBD (complete with palatial new council HQ) they should be encouraging local business and shops by offering a rates holiday.

How about reducing the rates for farmers, business and industry instead of placing ever increasing financial burdens on them? How about clearing the hospital waiting lists?

I find it absurd that the council is planning such vastly extravagant projects when we have so many other really important things that need to be dealt with.

 

What will candidates offer our young people?
What will candidates offer our young people?

 

TOPIC: YOUNG PEOPLE

In addition to jobs and opportunities, there has long been ongoing concern with retaining young people in our region and providing them opportunities to stay put. What would you do to help make the region a more enticing location for youths and young professionals?

 

Bundaberg LNP incumbent David Batt:

Fighting for a new level 5 Bundaberg hospital has always been my number one priority and it will continue to be.

A new hospital with level 5 services and new university training facilities would provide our young people with more opportunities to stay here in beautiful Bundaberg and it will also entice other professionals to relocate here as well.

The LNP is also committed to fixing Paradise Dam which one in five local jobs depend on. By creating a growing and vibrant economy, young people won't have to move away for jobs. We are working with regional universities to enhance training offerings, so that young people can get the skills for the jobs that will flow from the Bruce Highway upgrade and the remediation of the Paradise Dam.

 

Bundaberg Labor candidate Tom Smith:

As a local teacher, I understand that education creates opportunity. That's why I was incredibly proud to announce a $4.35 million upgrade to Bundaberg TAFE for an agriculture and horticulture centre.

We need to provide young people with the skills and training so they can break into local industries.

Labor recently announced it would also extend our free TAFE and apprenticeships program to under 25s.

That means another 37,000 young people throughout Queensland will be able to get world-class vocational training for free.

We have been backing young people to help them prepare for the job market, as part of our ongoing plan to recover from the global impact of COVID-19.

 

Burnett independent candidate Ric Glass:

Jobs, jobs and more jobs.

Proper pay and proper hours. Farm jobs. We get hundreds of visa holders taking our kids' jobs, train them give them confidence, pay them fairly and they will stay.

It is a matter of fact in regional towns there are not enough jobs.

Kids with dreams and ambition want to find a good job anywhere, it isn't easy.

My daughter had to travel to Brisbane at 18 for her career.

Now she works in Bundaberg, my son has his own business as well.

You might have to do your traineeship or apprenticeship in the city and get qualified before you can achieve this goal.

Their half brother went to West Australia and worked in the mines, hasn't been back for 20 years.

Oh! Do not discount the ADF, my kid's half-brother is in WA and got the job in Rio Tinto and now Alcoa by staying there after he was discharged from the navy.

I put one in mechanics apprenticeship, one in the navy and one in retail management who then went to dentistry.

 

Burnett LNP incumbent Stephen Bennett:

We are extremely lucky to live is such vibrant and beautiful part of the world with so many opportunities on our doorstep.

Sadly the unemployment rate in the Wide Bay is at an all-time high under Labor but that is why the LNP will set a unemployment target of 5 per cent to get Queensland working again. The LNP's economic plan will create 150,000 jobs by investing in job-creating infrastructure, lowering taxes and reducing electricity prices.

We will also restore the 19,000 manufacturing jobs lost under the Palaszczuk Labor Government and stop hitting manufacturers with taxes.

Thousands of jobs will be created right here in the Wide Bay with the design and construction of the four-lane Bruce Highway from Curra to Cairns.

These government contracts and jobs will stay local.

The LNP recognises the need to inspire the next generation of business owners in the region which is what our Young Entrepreneurs pilot it all about.

The program will deliver 8000 students living in high youth unemployment regions the opportunity to receive life-changing training.

Our Young Entrepreneurs Program will ignite the spark in Queensland's youth and showcase the opportunities available to them.

Whether students are interested in a traditional trade or an emerging technology, the young entrepreneurs' program will introduce them to business and financial literacy skills that will help them chart their business future.

Only the LNP has a plan to stimulate the economy, create a decade of secure jobs and lead Queensland out of this recession.

 

 

What will our candidates offer the elderly and disabled?
What will our candidates offer the elderly and disabled?

 

TOPIC: ELDERLY/DISABLED

The region has a number of elderly and disabled. What would you strive to do to help make their quality of life better?

 

Bundaberg LNP incumbent David Batt:

I am so proud to have fought for and secured state-wide changes to Queensland's Disability Parking Scheme to allow visually impaired residents the ability to obtain a permit for their carer's vehicle.

Because of our hard work here in Bundy, 18,000 visually impaired Queenslanders can now obtain a disability parking permit, making their everyday lives so much easier and safer.

Importantly we will provide real cost of living relief for the elderly.

Every owner of a registered car will get $300 before Christmas.

We are also working to drive down the cost of electricity by introducing competition into the regional market, saving households approximately $300 a year and allowing our residents to keep cool in air-conditioning without having to worry about their next electricity bill.

 

Bundaberg Labor candidate Tom Smith:

I have been very fortunate to have learned many life lessons from my grandparents, and still make sure to answer Gran's calls every week.

She serves as a reminder of the challenges elderly locals face.

That is why I am passionate about quality healthcare close to home.

Our $10 million seniors' accessibility assistance program provided grants of up to $5000 for critical home maintenance - things like shower rails or access ramps - so people can safely stay in their own homes.

Being a teacher and having a close family member with autism, I know how important inclusive education is.

The Palaszczuk Labor Government has a three-year agreement with Supporting People Experiencing Learning Difficulties (SPELD) and I strongly support this partnership continuing. Every Queensland kid deserves a great start through a world-class education, especially those with learning difficulties.

 

Burnett independent candidate Ric Glass:

Connectivity with anyone (volunteers) who will talk and listen to them on a phone.

A lot are alone and one neighbour died last year and no one missed her for over a week.

Connect people.

I have a lot of old neighbours and they are more capable these days than ever before, I needed help after surgery and my help came from people 72 to 85!

Taking, ringing, dropping in for a coffee, I didn't think I would make it, what they did worked for me and would work for others.

Organisations like Men's Shed keep any eye on each other and the community.

Which reminds me, did we get that commitment from Stephen Bennett in writing for a Men's Shed in MPB or was it just a "lip service" and promise?

Now's the time to nail him down boys.

 

Burnett LNP incumbent Stephen Bennett:

The LNP has a plan to reduce the cost of living for our elderly residents and those living with a disability.

The first and most important commitment is our guarantee of no new taxes.

We want Queensland to be the state of opportunity once more.

We will also end Labor's electricity divide between the southeast and the rest of Queensland by implementing the findings of Labor's own Productivity Commission report into electricity pricing to introduce retail competition into the regional electricity market. Competition will drive down prices and the LNP believes people in regional Queensland deserve the same deal as those in Southeast Queensland.

We will also scrap Labor's heartless and greedy Grey Nomad Tax and save motorhome consumers thousands of dollars. This means more drive tourism, more campervan sales and more local manufacturing jobs too!

The LNP will refocus our public health system on patient outcomes and ensure better health services are provided to Queenslanders.

We will partner with the private sector to slash waiting lists and ensure elective surgery is completed in medically recommended timeframes.

This is part of our plan to improve frontline health services and ensure our public health system is improving patient care by helping Queenslanders when they need it most.