Reef top talking point at forum
Candidates explain their policies to the constituents of Dawson
“Well people take drugs. Should we deal drugs because it happens anyway?”
THE expansion of Abbot Point saw question time start with a bang at Tuesday’s Meet the Dawson Candidates forum, with a strong reaction from the crowd as candidates were asked if they would support the project.
Greens’ candidate Jonathon Dykyj replied with an emphatic “no”, saying his party wouldn’t support any new thermal coal projects or expansions.
“The port will continue to operate... but it shouldn’t be expanded,” he said.
Ash Dodd, standing for the KAP, said his proposed inland rail link would mean the port needn’t be expanded.
“So I support the (Carmichael Coal) Mine, if that goes ahead with the inland rail sys- tem,” he said.
The electorate’s only independent, Steven Large, said he was worried about Adani’s ownership.
“Going on the fact that Adani had its own special spot on 60 Minutes for being corrupt and not good boys, under the ownership of Adani, I probably wouldn’t really support it,” he said.
Labor’s Frank Gilbert said he would support the project, “providing that they meet our environmental standards, they meet our financial standards and they provide local jobs for local people”.
Michael Hall, of the Glenn Lazarus Team agreed, saying he would support it “providing we’ve got all the ticks, checks and balances done”.
Finally, long-time supporter of the project, LNP candidate George Christensen, reaffirmed his commitment.
“There have been so many conditions put on that it is the most conditioned project un- der the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act,” he said.
Family First candidate Amanda Nickson declined to attend the forum.
Mr Christensen went on to say coral bleaching was caused by El Nino.
“Which (the Australian Institute of Marine Science) go on to say on their website is not linked to global warming,” he said.
This caused outrage in the audience, with shouts of “ridiculous” from the crowd.
Whitsunday Coast Cham- ber of Commerce president Kevin Collins, referring to himself as the forum’s “Tony Jones”, had to step in to quiet the crowd.
While Mr Hall, Mr Gilbert and Mr Christensen all agreed India would buy someone else’s coal if Australia refused to provide it, Mr Dykyj was unconvinced of the logic.
“Well, people take drugs,” he said.
“Should we deal drugs because it happens anyway?
“That’s ridiculous; we’ve got to look at the facts and impacts.”
Kerbside recycling also featured in the debate.
All forum candidates said they agreed with the idea however Mr Hall, Mr Christensen and Mr Gilbert voiced concerns about the associated costs. With a rates increase of around $230/year required to fund recycling, Mr Christensen said it was “a simple question that perhaps ratepayers should be asked”.
The Dawson MP was then asked directly if he believed in man-made climate change.
“In some areas yes, in other areas no,” he replied.
FORUM: Dawson candidates (from left) Jonathon Dykyj (The Greens), Ash Dodd (Katter's Australian Party), Steven Large (Independent), Frank Gilbert (ALP), Michael Hall (Glenn Lazarus team) and George Christensen (LNP) face the audience.