Pledge for cane
THE Australia Party’s new candidate for the state seat of Cook has pledged his support for cane farmers to help develop the ethanol industry as one of his major election platforms.
Mareeba transport manager, rural fire brigade volunteer and rodeo announcer Lachlan Bensted was hand-picked by party leader Bob Katter to contest the seat of Cook against Labor’s incumbent Jason O’Brien and the CLP’s David Kempton.
Mr Bensted said farmers were still getting a raw deal, in particular cane growers, and they should be supported to help develop crops for ethanol which he says is a cheap form of fuel and can be produced for under $1 a litre.
“Cane farmers are enjoying pretty good prices for their sugar at the moment but when lean times hit they could be developing ethanol crops which again is all part of sustainable living,” Mr Bensted said.
Other key local issues Mr Benstead will fight for in the election include redeveloping the neglected west wing of the Mareeba hospital, building a co-operative-owned abattoir in Mareeba, constructing a dam in the Nulinga region for additional water and overturning the Wild Rivers legislation to ensure a proper balance between mining and environmental protection.
Asked what he would do for the people of the Douglas region if he was elected, Mr Bensted said he would be “a passionate voice for the people of the forgotten North”.
“I’m sick of people asking me where I’m from and I have to explain where that is and I’m sick of the amount of young people we keep losing from our region and become lost to the cities for work,” he said.
“We need to build sustainable towns and businesses where we don’t rely on government grants and have our own people working and stay in their own towns with their own families.
“We also need to build a live export infrastructure to support permanent live cattle export from Weipa and this would be a sustainable industry.
“There is $124 billion being spent on the road/rail upgrade in Brisbane - if we could even get a tenth of that money to spend in our Far North towns it would be brilliant but there is no way in hell that will happen without true representation.
“My biggest passion is this area and its people and I will do everything possible to see that we get our fare share of the pie should I be elected.”
The Queensland election is due in March next year.
Laying down the law: Australia Party leader Bob Katter and the party’s candidate ffor CCook Lachlan Bensted