Katter to decide PM
WITH the national media spotlight firmly fixed on Bob Katter, the politician who even Barnaby Joyce calls a maverick, the Gazette has asked some of Mr Katter’s electors what they think their MP’s priorities should be.
Not that we expect Bob to listen to the voters of Julatten and Mt Molloy when he’s chewing on the oversized ears of Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.
The independent who won 69 per cent of votes in his seat seems to have plenty of confidence in himself to represent the views of his electors.
While Kennedy’s MP lays down the law in Canberra, back in the electorate rural transport is shaping up to be the biggest concern, along with support for rural areas suffering from high prices and limited services.
“I want him to get the Rex Range road fixed properly,” said Sue Hadley, proprietor of Nine Mile Roadhouse.
“That would be the biggest thing. They reckon there’s a big crack in the hill there, and there’s a big fight about whose job it is to fix it.
“It’s going to make us very nervous this wet season if nothing’s been done. I also don’t want to see 12 per cent superannuation.
“As a small business owner, that would really kill me.”
Michelle Newcombe, the proprietor of the Mt Molloy General Store, agreed that roads in the area were a drawback.
“There’s a sign at Bushy Creek which says ’Better Roads for Queensland’ and it makes me laugh,” she said.
“That’s the worst road in the area, and when Bushy Creek floods you can be cut off from the coast for days.
“There’s also a lot of paperwork for businesses.”
KathyColless,co-ownerofWhetherby Station, said rural businesses were hurting.
“I like the way he’s asking for a fair go for the people on the land,” Ms Colless said. “I’d like to see tax breaks for rural businesses. As Bob said on the telly, deregulation of the milk industry is having an effect.
“We’ve lost the abattoir at Innisfail, so these days we have to send our animals to Townsville.”
The locals also voiced some support for Mr Katter’s spruiking of alternative energy solutions.
“Winds farms are a very good thing, and I’m a great supporter of solar,” Ms Colless said.
“The incumbent government looked at those things, but there wasn’t really a lot of money for them.”
Adrian Baranyi, the principal at Julatten State School, said he hoped Mr Katter would use his clout to improve rural education services.
“If I had the chance, I’d ask Bob Katter to do more to get quality teachers into regional and rural areas,” he said.
“There’s a real lack of specialists for kids with learning disabilities, and high school teachers of maths and science.
“The national broadband network is another big one. Professional development is all moving online.
“Without the NBN, we’re going to be banging our heads against the wall.”
Not surprisingly, most voters who expressed a preference pushed Mr Katter towards the Coalition.
“Definitely don’t put Julia in charge,” Ms Hadley said.
“I personally hoped they would go for the conservatives,” Ms Colless said.
“There’s been so much waste. All that giveaway money went to China.”
Ms Newcombe thought her MP would be able to cut through where both major parties had struggled.
“From what I can see, both parties have told a lot of lies,” she said.
“That’s why people are giving the independents a go.”