Blair's candidates set out their plans for big issues

THE Somerset region and sections of the Blair electorate might not be in a city location, but it does not mean the needs, wants and concerns of the community are different.

At the Gatton Star, we put forward another four questions to the Blair Federal Election candidates to get their thoughts on four key issues for the region.

The questions we asked the candidates are:

1. How will you improve infrastructure in the region?

2. Farming is a key industry in the electorate, what will you do to ensure its sustainability?

3. ARTC's Inland Rail project continues to divide the community, how will you work to ensure the project benefits the region?

4. Blair has a rapidly growing population - how will you ensure development and growth is sustainable?

 

Simone Karandrews, independent candidate for Blair.
Simone Karandrews, independent candidate for Blair. Cordell Richardson

Simone Karandrews - Independent

Infrastructure

FOR Blair and its neighbours we need to solve the local/ state/federal impasse for major infrastructure investment. I would drive a co-ordinated approach for action on substandard public transport in the region, improved NBN, waste infrastructure, development of a circular recycling industry, training options in trade skills/tertiary areas.

Farming sustainability

WATER security for food and agriculture is paramount. Without fair, equitable access to water and continuity of supply the conversation stops. National policy to effectively address/mitigate possibilities and effects associated with weather pattern change is essential. I will work for water security, power and use of renewables, and the effects of CSG.

Inland Rail

AN interstate rail line to reduce road traffic is primarily a good plan. But it creates issues of concern for members of the electorate. This would be one of the areas I would look to understand by meeting with stakeholders and aim to provide sufficient advocacy regarding impact on community amenity and environmental factors as well as any potential economic boost that could be created through increase in local jobs.

Development

BLAIR is growing nearly three times the Australian average. Managing this requires high-quality long-term strategic plans that value natural assets, community and economy. It is essential that we plan for better growth not just bigger growth.

 

Shayne Neumann, Labor Candidate, Blair
Shayne Neumann, Labor Candidate, Blair Contributed

Shayne Neumann - Labor

Infrastructure

IF elected, we will invest more into roads including the Willowbank interchange on the Cunningham Hwy, fund upgrades to facilities at North Ipswich Reserve, and provide additional funding to finalise stage one of the Ipswich Showgrounds upgrade, which includes a convention and emergency evacuation centre.

Farming sustainability

WE will establish a Dairy Commissioner and task the ACCC with investigating the viability milk floor price. Labor will help farmers build defences to drought, review water rule restrictions, and secure the funding of a Primary Industries Education Foundation so Australian kids are taught where there food comes from, and the importance of farming to the economy.

Inland Rail

LABOR has committed to conduct an independent inquiry into the Inland Rail project. We will have public hearings about the route selection and processes. This will provide an opportunity for rural land owners to have their concerns be properly investigated. Labor wants to get the project right so we can maximise rail freight and reduce the number of freight vehicles on the road.

Development

AS the population grows, so too does the need to properly invest in jobs, health, education and infrastructure. We're committed to reversing cuts to state schools, providing $29.4million in funding for Blair schools. We'll properly fund hospitals with a $2.8billion Better Hospitals Fund which includes $45million to blitz waiting lists.

 

Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party candidate for Blair Peter Fitzpatrick.
Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party candidate for Blair Peter Fitzpatrick. Contributed

Peter Fitzpatrick - Conservative National

Infrastructure

BY pursuing state and federal awareness and funding for the area. By hitting the streets and speaking with the people and hearing what they think needs to happen. It is easy for a politician to say "this is what I am going to do" - most of the time they don't do it and follow their own agenda.

Farming sustainability

AS a third generation farmer, I understand the strain first hand of drought, the pressure from outside "know-it-alls" trying to push their own agenda, and the hardship of watching crops die and having no feed for livestock. We need to support our farmers on not only a financial basis, but also mental health and wellbeing. Our young farmers also need access to training, traineeships and apprenticeships to build on their skills.

Inland Rail

IT is important to listen to the people, as they are living in the areas that the rail will run. Transparency needs to be maintained to ensure that issues, especially flooding, are taken into consideration, where natural waterways and flood plains will be blocked. I will push for all tender opportunities to be given to local businesses first.

Development

FOREMOST, we need to support local suppliers and businesses wherever possible. For new infrastructure - locals should be given the opportunity to apply first. For local governments to have approved vendors from local businesses for all the regions work where possible. For the development of a farming taskforce to co-ordinate goals to assist these important agricultural areas.

 

LNP candidate Robert Shearman.
LNP candidate Robert Shearman. Cordell Richardson

Robert Shearman - LNP

Infrastructure

THE Government is investing $100billion into transport infrastructure that will bust congestion, connect the regions and boost our economy by creating more jobs and opportunities. The Morrison Government is investing $226.5 million in new congestion-busting projects across southeast Queensland. The government's record funding in road and rail projects will benefit so many Queenslanders as they travel across the state, including those in Blair.

Farming sustainability

WE'VE committed $6.3 billion to support our farmers and rural communities. I'm also proud to say that, if re-elected, $3.9 billion will be invested in the Future Drought Fund and this will grow to $5 billion over the next decade.

Inland Rail

THE Inland Rail is an historic investment that stands to benefit not only Queensland but the people of Blair. The government is investing $9.3 billion to construct this project and it promises to change the way freight is moved between Melbourne and Brisbane. It is an exciting concept that will deliver numerous benefits to our region.

Development

OUR plan to manage population growth in Blair, includes capping and freezing immigration growth, will help ensure our congestion-busting program for roads and rail can catch up with population growth. Wewill also cap the numbers of migrants coming to Australia as refugees at 18,750.

 

United Australia Party's Majella Zimpel is a candidate for the seat of Blair in the 2019 Federal Election.
United Australia Party's Majella Zimpel is a candidate for the seat of Blair in the 2019 Federal Election. Rob Williams

Majella Zimpel - United Australia Party

Infrastructure

THERE needs to be effective planning to ensure our communities are liveable and that housing and infrastructure is occurring in a complementary way. Public transport needs to be reviewed, with community consultation. Consider options such as park-and-ride services to decrease traffic while ensuring outer-lying areas have adequate public transport services.

Farming sustainability

STOPPING the sell-off of our agricultural land to foreign powers and keeping our herds and pastoral and grazing properties Australian owned. Labor and Liberal blocked Clive Palmer's 2014 bill to set up the Australia Fund to support Australians in times of natural disaster. We need to implement it to provide feed and financial support to farming families when needed.

Inland Rail

COMMUNITY consultation is key here - to determine the issues and negotiate successfully. Projects should only be supported if it benefits us. I'm concerned Blair will not have road infrastructure needs met, super dumps and incinerators brought in against community wishes and the rail project to go ahead regardless if we don't have effective representation in Canberra.

Development

WE NEED to be proactive about it now - put a halt to immigration until our services and infrastructure has caught up. Plan ahead and start the work on infrastructure now - fixing our highways, improving the resourcing of our hospitals and police force.

 

Michelle Duncan, Greens candidate, Blair.
Michelle Duncan, Greens candidate, Blair. Michelle Bowden

Michelle Duncan - Greens

Infrastructure

OUR federal roads are unsafe. We have so many new housing developments and we need jobs, education and healthcare for everyone - both current and future residents. Before a large development is approved, we need to ensure that infrastructure plans are prepared and in place in order to create sustainable growth for the region.

Farming sustainability

MY FAMILY are cattle farmers and I have seen first-hand the issues they've faced for many years. I have also learnt just how environmentally minded our farmers are - they have to be able to make a living from the land. We need to protect their land and water from coal and gas mining corporations. We want to regulate fairer prices for Australian produce to ensure farmers get paid their fair share.

Inland Rail

IT IS clear that far more community consultation needs to be done and that it needs to involve honest discussions with landowners, rather than the ARTC just ticking boxes. A project of this size cannot be rushed. Tens of thousands of homes and farms are estimated to be affected in Southeast Queensland alone.

Development

THE growth of our region is a positive thing but only if we have the infrastructure to go with it. Our state and federal representatives need to stop passing the buck regarding a long-overdue upgrade to our roads. I would fight for increased funding for our hospital and schools.

 

Sandy Turner - independent candidate for Blair.
Sandy Turner - independent candidate for Blair. Contributed

John 'Sandy' Turner - Independent

Infrastructure

BOTH the Cunningham and Warrego Highways are in dire need of repairs and upgrades to make them safe for public use. The bypass at Amberley is the most pressing of these, followed by the Mount Crosby interchange on the Warrego. We also need to raise the wall of Wivenhoe Dam as a flood mitigation measure and upgrade the Brisbane Valley Highway to dual carriageway both directions.

Farming sustainability

THE cost of production for farmers has risen markedly. Under my proposed taxation and monetary policies those costs will tumble, making it possible for farmers to deliver to markets at a fraction of the cost. This means the cost of living for the public falls as the produce is able to be sold at a more realistic price, while boosting income for producers.

Inland Rail

ARTC's Inland Rail project has ignored the needs of businesses, landholders and the public. The consultative process has been a farce. It has been routed to benefit those who hold favour in government, rather than to serve best the industries that will utilise it. In some instances it will increase the flood risk to properties.

Development

THE rate of population growth in Blair is unsustainable in the longer term. This country will not sustain a large population continuously. We must cut back our migrant intake significantly and implement a monetary and taxation model that does not require continual growth to remain viable.

DID NOT RESPOND

THE Gatton Star contacted all nine candidates for Blair, however Sharon Bell (PHON) and John Quinn (Democratic Labour Party) did not respond in time for deadline.


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