CAN-DO While O’brien ac­cepts $65k life­time pen­sion

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Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

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

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