CAN-DO While O’brien accepts $65k lifetime pension
LINE BURNER TO LAUNCH ON TV
NEWLY-ELECTED Member for Cook David Kempton has promised to put Sheraton Mirage owner David Marriner’s proposal for a $39 million conference centre partly funded by the State Government to Cabinet.
Mr Kempton won the seat for the LNP in Saturday’s election with a swing of about 5.5 per cent to unseat Labor’s Jason O’brien - significantly less than the statewide swing of 15 per cent. Katter’s Australian Party candidate Lachlan Bensted polled strongly to secure about 20 per cent of the vote.
Mr O’brien may be out of office but he certainly won’t be out of pocket as one of the last politicians to benefit from a lucrative pension scheme which will see him receive a pension of at least $65,000 for the rest of his life for his eight years in parliament.
He was unavailable to comment to the Gazette on his future.
While it is unlikely Mr Kempton will be announced as a member of Premier Campbell Newman’s Cabinet tomorrow, the Member for Cook has shown support for Mr Marriner’s plans for a conference centre to be built at the Sheraton and yesterday promised to put it forward to the LNP Cabinet.
“I made a suggestion that the money spent by Labor on the cyclone shelter (presently being built at the Port Douglas State School) could have been put into the convention centre which in turn might have been a bigger cyclone shelter,” Mr Kempton said.
“I will take the submission on the convention centre to Cabinet for consideration but as I said before, the state has a huge debt which we must get under control and therefore we have limited funds.
“The site of the cyclone shelter will be reviewed if it is not too late.”
Mr Kempton also reaffirmed the LNP’S pledge to start working on a proposal to de-amalgamate from Cairns Regional Council in the first 100 days in office by establishing a boundaries commissioner and having Treasury look into the cost implications.
“But before we have the referendum, the costings report is a vital pre-requisite,” he said.
As for the Port Douglas Waterfront Master Plan, Mr Kempton said he agreed the revitalisation of the town and the waterfront and location and design of the lagoon are issues “that have not been correctly addressed by Cairns Regional Council and the town itself”.
“Before anything can be done, the town needs to work out what it wants and expects from the lagoon project,” Mr Kempton said.
“I believe the Cairns Regional Council’s Master Plan has upset a number of people in the community and it must be resolved before any funding can be made available.
“Even after the years of consultation there now appears to be more confusion than ever.
“The community needs consensus on what they want and I will work toward achieving that outcome.”
But he did say he would move immediately to get the roundabout built at the entrance to Port Douglas on the Captain Cook Highway.
“As soon as we get the new Parliament organised and people are given their portfolios and as soon as we can we will work out the costings and process to get it happening I will, I won’t let it fall off the radar,” Mr Kempton said.
Smiles: David Kempton and Campbell Newman (inset)
artist impression of the proposed conference center