ELECTION: Nanango candidates outline their economic vision
This election, the economy has been one of the biggest issues in the minds of voters.
With the COVID-19 pandemic creating the worst economic situation for the country since the global financial crisis, plans to reinvigorate the states economy have been front and centre.
But there has been issues in the Burnett region for longer than the pandemic, with unemployment a long running issue.
In the March 2020 quarter, the Wide Bay-Burnett region recorded an unemployment rate of 9.2 per cent, well above the national rate of 5.2 per cent and even the regional Queensland rate of 6.1 per cent.
To help voters make an informed decision this election, the South Burnett Times reach out to the five candidates running for the seat of Nanango and asked them a series of questions on their plans for the economy.
- The Wide Bay Burnett region has the highest unemployment rate in the country – what can be done to solve this problem?
- Small businesses have faced the brunt of the COVID caused recession, what will you do to help local businesses rebuild stronger than before?
- As is the case across much of regional Australia, many young people are leaving the region for more metropolitan centres in search of careers, what can be done to encourage young people to stay in the regions?
- Agriculture is the backbone of the region – how will you support this industry into the future?
These were their responses:
Deb Frecklington – LNP:
Only the LNP has a plan to stimulate the economy, create a decade of secure jobs and lead Australia out of this recession.
It's vital we support our primary producers as they are the backbone of our region. We will lower the cost of doing business by reducing on-farm electricity costs, slashing 20% off the price of water for irrigators on SunWater schemes and providing a $300 rego rebate for cars and light commercial vehicles, directly discounting 18,237 vehicles used by agricultural businesses.
Importantly, we will review the states vegetation management framework to ensure the laws support the development of economically sustainable agricultural production.
Across the industry, we aim to supercharge the regions by making sure the food and fibre industries are supported for growth and to guarantee our food security.
We will ensure agricultural production grows from $18 billion to $30 billion by 2035, and then doubling it again to $60 billion by 2045.
Along with new and improved water infrastructure, the LNP will ensure our young people have a long term career right here in the regions. That gives them a reason to stay, raise their families and grow the local economy.
We need big, bold, visionary infrastructure projects to rebuild our economy – projects like the New Bradfield Scheme, like four-laneing the Bruce Highway through to Far North Queensland, and opening up the resources sector with a 10 year royalty guarantee.
Thousands of jobs will be created – including in the regions, giving our young people a future right here. And we’ll make sure they’re ready for those jobs by lifting participation in training so they can get the skills they need.
The LNP will build new roads, dams and bridges because we know when Queensland is building, Queensland is working.
Mark Stapleton – Labor:
The Palaszczuk Government‘s ongoing response to COVID-19 including maintaining strong borders in the face of fierce resistance, has kept Queenslanders safe.
We have already started to get on with our economic recovery in Queensland, which is so important to our regional economic recovery.
You only have to look to other parts of Australia, Victoria, and around the world to see the economic devastation that a second and third wave can bring.
The LNP’s reckless pursuit of a budget surplus in just four years means cuts to jobs and services, just as we are starting to recover from the global pandemic.
The LNP will cut more than 30,000 jobs – that’s teachers, doctors and nurses, during a global pandemic to reach surplus and pay for their unfunded promises.
In the Wide Bay region it would mean more than 1500 public servants would lose their jobs, that’s including 580 health workers.
In contrast, Labor is delivering the new Kingaroy hospital, creating local jobs.
I know that I am the underdog in this election, but fighting for jobs has made it all worth it.
A key plank of the Palaszczuk Labor Government‘s plan for economic recovery is to invest in our regions kickstarting Queensland’s regional economies.
Our plan will help the regions grow from a strong and stable base in agriculture and resources to attract talent and investment and drive sustainable economic prosperity.
We will enhance digital connectivity and will continue to invest in clean energy and water which are critical resources for the competitiveness of our regions.
Where Labor builds, the LNP cuts. I want jobs in our regions and that’s why I need your vote.
John Harbison – Greens:
The Greens have a bold and fully funded plan to reinvigorate the Queensland economy.
We will create thousands of jobs for the region and revive local manufacturing by investing in publicly-owned renewable energy and public housing.
We will create genuinely free health care and education to reduce people’s cost of living, and invest in essential services to ensure we build an economic recovery where no one is left behind.
We will help small businesses and farmers by stopping the privatisation of essential services and putting electricity and water back in public hands.
We will support the facilitation of farmers‘ markets, and effectively manage climate change adaptation in agriculture.
This could include compensation where agriculture becomes unviable and education and retraining to facilitate a transition to other industries.
One Nation candidate Tony Scrimshaw and Legalise Cannabis QLD candidate Maggie O’Rance did not respond to the South Burnett Times’ questions.