Kat­ter to de­cide PM

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - RICHARD KOSER

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.”

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