Can­di­dates ahead of the game

Chinchilla News - - NEWS - Jorja Mc­Don­nell jorja.mc­don­[email protected]­ern­starnews.com

HOPE­FUL can­di­dates for fed­eral gov­ern­ment launched their cam­paigns in the Mara­noa elec­torate this month, with both La­bor and Kat­ter’s Aus­tralian Party rep­re­sen­ta­tives throw­ing their hats in the ring for a 2019 elec­tion yet to be an­nounced.

KAP

KAT­TER’S Aus­tralian Party can­di­date An­thony Wal­lis started off his pre-elec­tion run in Toowoomba.

Mr Wal­lis, who farms at Han­naford, west of Tara, has lived in the Mara­noa for most of his life, and said his de­ci­sion to run for of­fice was not only for the re­gion, but for his fam­ily.

“I’m a mar­ried man with four kids; watch­ing my kids get older and watch­ing the di­rec­tion we are tak­ing on a lot of is­sues, I thought ‘I want them to have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties I have had grow­ing up’,” he said.

“I want them to have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties for jobs, and also the same pride that I have had in Aus­tralia.”

Look­ing to shake things up in a long-held seat, Mr Wal­lace said he thought there was “a bit of a dis­con­nect”. “In the past, Mara­noa has been a very strong LNP and for­mer Na­tional seat, and I think the LNP is los­ing touch with this bush,” he said.

La­bor

La­bor-en­dorsed can­di­date Linda Lit­tle is from Black­butt, in the north­ern reaches of the Mara­noa elec­torate, where she lives and farms with her hus­band and two fos­ter chil­dren.

Ms Lit­tle said com­mu­nity in­volve­ment and time spent in small busi­nesses had helped her un­der­stand re­gional is­sues, namely em­ploy­ment and ed­u­ca­tion.

“My years of ex­pe­ri­ence on the land and within our com­mu­nity work­ing on the front line, along­side lo­cals in our area, has best pre­pared me to un­der­stand the real is­sues fac­ing our com­mu­nity,” she said.

“I know how tough it can be for work­ers to find se­cure work in our re­gion.

“We get plenty of lip ser­vice from the LNP but I’m 100 per cent com­mit­ted to prop­erly fund­ing our re­gion’s schools and health­care ser­vices, and

cre­at­ing more lo­cal jobs.”

LNP

The in­cum­bent Mem­ber for Mara­noa and cur­rent Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, David Lit­tleproud, has held of­fice since 2016. See­ing other lo­cals start their cam­paigns for the fed­eral seat, Mr Lit­tleproud said he was ex­cited about the lead-up to a fu­ture elec­tion.

“That’s the beauty of democ­racy. I wel­come the can­di­dates and it’s a beau­ti­ful thing that we live in a coun­try where peo­ple can put their names for­ward to want to rep­re­sent the com­mu­nity,” he said.

Hav­ing been in the Mara­noa seat for more than two years now, Mr Lit­tleproud has ticked off a num­ber of achieve­ments.

“I’m proud to say that just last week I tipped over $4 bil­lion worth of fed­eral gov­ern­ment sup­port to the elec­torate of Mara­noa over the two-and-a-half years I’ve been the fed­eral mem­ber,” he said. “That’s around in­fra­struc­ture, roads, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, ed­u­ca­tion and health, but more im­por­tantly one of the is­sues that I’ve been cham­pi­oning and that wor­ries me the most is around drug ad­dic­tion.

“I’ve been at the fore try­ing to make sure we get the most ap­pro­pri­ate amount of re­sources for peo­ple in Mara­noa to tackle the scourge of ad­dic­tion and par­tic­u­larly the scourge of ice.”

Look­ing for­ward, the min­is­ter is happy to main­tain the course when it comes to rep­re­sent­ing the fifth-largest elec­torate in the coun­try.

“I think the im­por­tant thing is con­tin­u­ing on with mak­ing sure we get our fair share of in­fra­struc­ture and fed­eral gov­ern­ment spend­ing,” he said.

As for the date of an elec­tion, that’s the PM’s call.

“That’s at the dis­cre­tion of the Prime Min­is­ter, but ob­vi­ously we’ve talked about hav­ing a bud­get in early April and we also have to have a half-se­nate elec­tion by May 18,” he said. “Con­ven­tion says that we would nor­mally have a house of rep­re­sen­ta­tives elec­tion com­bined with that.

“So, some­where be­tween now and May 18 is when I would ex­pect the Prime Min­is­ter to call an elec­tion.”

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