FLYNN FACE-OFF: Candidates grilled as election looms
WITH a Federal Election looming in a matter of months, we caught up with Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd MP and Labor candidate for Flynn Zac Beers to find out what local issues the campaign will be fought over.
What do you see as the biggest issues facing residents of the Burnett?
Mr O'Dowd: I see three big issues: Water security and new infrastructure to meet the needs of community and farmers, upgrading the road from Mundubbera to Durong, and aged care. We need more beds and an upgrade of services for the North Burnett.
Mr Beers: The issues I hear in the Burnett are unfortunately ones I hear all over regions like in Flynn: issues with telecommunications, water security and local roads. I see them as symptoms of a Coalition Government that think it's easier to ignore issues affecting people in regional Queensland than to fix them.
What are some of your 'passion projects' in the Burnett?
Mr O'Dowd: To back the results of the feasibility study being done now to enhance the security of water projects in the regions and to back the projects listed above. Also a new bridge across the Boyne River near Mundubbera.
Mr Beers: I'll have more to say about projects in the Burnett in the coming months, but one thing I am very focused on is continuing to build our agricultural industry in the region. These industries need the certainty and investment to continue to grow and employ locals. A few weeks ago (we) launched Labor's red meat discussion paper, which is an important step towards an industry-wide road map.
What is something the electorate doesn't know about you?
Mr O'Dowd: I attended Bracewell State School (which closed in 2000), then Mount Larcom State School and Secondary Department, and 'Rocky' (Rockhampton) Grammar School, where I was school captain. By the age of 17 I had worked as a contract milker and I had picked beans on our neighbours' farms, worked on the railways as a fettler and on flying gangs and then worked on construction to build a new railway line from Gladstone to Moura.
Mr Beers: A lot of people know that I play rugby league but not many people know that I'm a life member of the Tannum Sands Seagulls, a title you get after you play 10 years of A-grade footy with the club. I'm still training with the team whenever I can, but it is hard to find the time when you are running around talking and engaging with communities across an area the size as Flynn.
Why did you want to get into politics?
Mr O'Dowd: I want to be able to contribute to the well being of my electorate and the thought that my work in this place will be meaningful and will enable the residents of Flynn are able to enjoy the quality of life that they richly deserve.
Mr Beers: I'm tired of our region being ignored by the Coalition Government. A lot of wealth is created in this part of the world, in agriculture, mining and industry, and it's time we started getting our fair share. I know that I can be a loud voice down in Canberra for this region. Another reason is that my wife Emily and I want to raise a family here. Kids here deserve every opportunity given to those in major cities, and I want to help make that a reality for them.