CANDIDATES: LNP's Colin Boyce, ALP's Darren Blackwood and KAP's Robbie Radel.
CANDIDATES: LNP's Colin Boyce, ALP's Darren Blackwood and KAP's Robbie Radel. Vanessa Jarrett

Callide candidates discuss major issues

LAND clearing, coal-fired power stations, electricity prices, health services and small business red tape.

Callide Dawson Chamber of Commerce organised a meeting with the Callide electorate candidates for the upcoming state election and these were the major issues the audience put forward.

As the audience members asked various questions, each candidate responded as to their party's stance on the issue and what their commitment was.

The most important issue brought up was the price of electricity, the promise of a coal-fired power station, their thoughts on coal-fired power versus renewable energy and renewable energy targets.

LNP candidate Colin Boyce said this was the biggest issue that would win or lose the election.

"The LNP will support and facilitate a coal-fired power station in north Queensland,” he said.

"It supports our coalminers and our power station workers. If we have coalmining phased out, for a town like Biloela it would be an economical disaster.”

KAP candidate Robbie Radel agreed, however raised the possibility of not needing to build a new site.

"We are in support of coalmining and a coal-fired power station, but I for one can't see anything wrong with starting up the ones that are sitting there not being used to their capacity,” he said.

"Personally I would like to see around 20% for the renewable energy target. When you get a high renewable target, that is when the prices go up.”

ALP candidate Darren Blackwood argued renewable energy was a good industry for the future in terms of climate change.

"Solar panels are there to reduce your power bills,” MrBlackwood said.

"There will always be a need for coal-fired power stations and base load power, but (solar) is good, cheap energy so why not go with it?” he said.

The issue of land clearing legislation was strongly supported.

"The tree-clearing issue is probably the second biggest issue for Callide,” Mr Boyce said.

"The farmers need the security to produce their cattle and land however they wish and we don't need any more legislation.”

Mr Radel agreed.

"We voted against the legislation and we will continue to,” he said.

"Allow farmers to clean up any amount of regrowth and allow farmers to actively clear trees and maintain their land.”

Aged care, more health services, the desperate need for an upgrade to Biloela Hospital and the better utilisation of services were also raised.

"The entire Callide and Central Queensland region, and the further you get from the coast, is all lacking in health services,” Mr Radel said.

"The KAP is committed to building aged care facilities throughout Callide. We have an aged care population and we need to look after them.

"They don't want to go to the coast or the city, they want to be where their family is, where they have lived all their lives.”

Mr Boyce said the lack of health and aged care services needed action.

"The Biloela Hospital remains on high priority on the list, however it remains on the current government's purse strings.

"As the demographic gets old they need to be addressed and Biloela needs to be supported so it can be a health service centre hub.”

Small business red tape, paperwork, fair work and workplace health and safety were other issues looked at.

"I have seen that first-hand, the whole workplace health and safety is a monster out of control. The problem is how do you address it, how you liquefy it? But I do believe it needs looking at,” Mr Boyce said.

Mr Radel said: "It needs a massive overhaul, the red tape needs to be cut out to the bone.

"You should only have to employ someone to further your business and not write down every little thing that could happen - get back to where small businesses can have rights again.”

Sharon Lohse, candidate for One Nation, was unable to attend the meeting and sent her apologies.

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