MP’s elec­torate of­fice on the move

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

WHIT­SUN­DAY MP Jason Costi­gan wants to move his elec­torate of­fice from Proser­pine to Mackay.

The sec­ond-term LNP MP said most of his con­stituents lived in Mackay’s north­ern beaches. Nonethe­less, Mr Costi­gan said the lo­ca­tion of an MP’s elec­torate of­fice was a mat­ter for the par­lia­ment to de­cide.

“It is the par­lia­men­tary staff who lay out the facts and, in my case, the vast ma­jor­ity of con­stituents do not live in the Whit­sun­days,” he said.

“In fact, two-thirds of them live in Mackay, ei­ther in the sub­urbs or in small ru­ral or coastal com­mu­ni­ties in the Mackay lo­cal gov­ern­ment area.” How­ever, Neil Lau­rie, Clerk of the Par­lia­ment, con­firmed it was Mr Costi­gan who had made the re­quest for a re­lo­ca­tion from Proser­pine.

Mr Lau­rie said ap­proval had been given for the of­fice to be re-lo­cated in the 2015/16 fi­nan­cial year.

“(But) re­lo­ca­tion may or may not oc­cur, depend­ing on a whole range of fac­tors, in­clud­ing the avail­abil­ity of other suit­able lo­ca­tions,” he said.

Mr Lau­rie said a fi­nal de­ci­sion would be made by ei­ther him­self or the speaker of the house, tak­ing into ac­count fac­tors such as ac­ces­si­bil­ity for con­stituents and the views of the mem­ber.

“But we haven’t even started look­ing at this point in time... it’s far too early to say where it would be in the elec­torate,” he said.

Re­gard­less of where the of­fice is lo­cated, Mr Costi­gan said he would con­tinue to work for the bet­ter­ment of his com­mu­nity.

For­mer lo­cal LNP chair­man and long-time Whit­sun­day res­i­dent Tony Large has his doubts.

“It’s an in­jus­tice,” he said. “If the of­fice ends up in Mackay then you’ve got a three­hour drive to the Bur­dekin of­fice, which is the next one - it doesn’t make sense.”

Mr Large said he had con­cerns about fu­ture rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the Whit­sun­day re­gion, not­ing that elec­toral bound­aries were al­ways sub­ject to change as a re­sult of pop­u­la­tion growth.

IN OF­FICE: Whit­sun­day MP Jason Costi­gan.

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