Burnett hopefuls hit the hustings
Meet the candidates who want your vote on January 31:
AN IMPOSING record in local government during his time in England should make Labor candidate Bryan Mustill a tough challenger for Stephen Bennett.
But the 62-year-old will start his campaign well behind the eight-ball after Premier Campbell Newman called for the state’s first January election.
Mr Mustill said he had a detailed itinerary sorted with a March election in mind, but that was blown to smithereens by the LNP’s tactically clever move.
The radiologist, who works at Bundaberg Hospital, was caught so far off-guard he said he did not have any material printed more than a week into the campaign.
How Mr Mustill will make up for lost ground is not yet certain, but the former four-term councillor and former mayor has targeted health, jobs and asset sales as his major issues.
It was cuts to the health industry that compelled Mr Mustill to return to the political realm, years after he completed university as a mature student.
“I wasn’t going to run for parliament again,” Mr Mustill said.
“I spent 16 years in government in England and got out of it to do radiography, so I went back to university.
“Uni was very difficult. You knuckle down and just make sure you keep your deadlines.
“But when Campbell Newman started cutting the health service, sacking nurses and threatening doctors with new contracts that didn’t work, it was time to get back into politics and do what I do best.”
Mr Mustill began his political career as the chairman of his local ratepayers’ association, where he said he spent most of his time “fighting the council”.
But when you can’t beat them, you join them, and that’s exactly what Mr Mustill did.
“The best way to do it is to get on the council so I went in, as I could help the population better than I could before,” Mr Mustill said.
“Only reason I went through four elections was I related to the people.”
It is that pedigree that Mr Mustill believes can deliver a local victory for Labor.
When Town & Country spoke to Mr Mustill, he could not identify any issues raised by Isis residents but said he had people on the ground in the area to bring him up to speed.
In the meantime he will embark on discovery tours, with trips to the northern end of the electorate (Agnes-Water, Miriam Vale) before he gets to Isis.
“It’s a very wide electorate – problems in Childers aren’t problems in Miriam Vale or Burnett Heads,” Mr Mustill said.
“They’ve all got their little things, so it’s a lot of work.
“All I need to do is get out on the streets, get the face out there and meet people.
“Campbell Newman promised much at the last election, delivered nothing, and he’s promised much this election again.
“Catch me once, shame on you.
“Catch me twice, shame on me.”
IMPRESSIVE RECORD: Labor candidate BryanMustill believes his previous experience in local government should help deliver him victory in Burnett.