Reef top talk­ing point at fo­rum

Can­di­dates ex­plain their poli­cies to the con­stituents of Daw­son

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Rory Sheav­ils

“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.

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