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Coast pollies well represented in shadow ministry

Lawrence Springborg.
Lawrence Springborg. Brenda Strong

SUNSHINE Coast politicians are well represented in Lawrence Springborg's new shadow ministry, with four of the Liberal National Party's six elected Coast representatives assigned frontbench portfolios.

Maroochydore's Fiona Simpson, Kawana's Jarrod Bleijie, Caloundra's Mark McArdle and Glass House MP Andrew Powell will represent the Coast in the shadow cabinet, announced on Friday.

Noosa MP Glen Elmes was dropped.

Eighteen LNP politicians comprise the shadow cabinet, compared to the Palaszczuk government's 14-person cabinet.

Mr Bleijie has been demoted from attorney-general in the Newman government to shadow minister for police, fire, emergency services and corrective services. He said he was "excited for the challenge".

"It flows well from what I've been doing over the past few years as the former attorney-general."

HE said Queensland was a safer place to live, work and raise a family because of laws the LNP had changed when in government.

Mr Bleijie said he would soon visit police stations to consult with police officers about how the new laws were working.

"There's a real concern (among police officers) that if the government waters down the criminal gang legislation that's going to be a real threat to the peace and welfare of our community," he said.

Mr Bleijie said he would do everything he could to hold the government to account on behalf of Sunshine Coast residents.

"When they went to the election they didn't promise the Sunshine Coast anything," he said.

"It's a hung parliament and it's going to be very close, but we'll do everything we can to show there's a better way in Queensland."

Minister for environment and heritage protection in the Newman government, Andrew Powell is the LNP's new shadow minister for energy and water.

Mr Powell, said he was "honoured" to be back in the role as member for Glass House and his new portfolio would present "some interesting challenges".

He said Labor took some "very interesting policies" to the election this year, such as the proposed merger of electricity distributors Ergon, Energex and Powerlink, which he said would create a monopoly.

"My job is to make sure that those policies are implemented in a way that doesn't see an increase in the cost of living for locals, and ensures that we continue to have the services that we need and expect."

Speaker under the Newman government, Maroochydore's Fiona Simpson told the Daily she was delighted with her new role as shadow minister for local government, main roads, community recovery and resilience.

She said she would use the portfolio to help make sure the Palaszczuk government continued the work the Newman government had started to help communities recover from natural disasters.

Ms Simpson's bid for leadership was quashed two weeks ago when the party elected Mr Springborg as party leader. She said she was content with her new role and respected the decision of the party room and would now focus on doing the job she'd been given.

"It's a great portfolio for the Sunshine Coast and I look forward to grabbing it with both hands and doing it to the best of my ability," she said.

"I'm obviously disappointed we're in opposition, but you can achieve things in opposition. You just have to work a whole lot harder, but that's what the electorate has asked us to do."

New shadow minister for health, Caloundra MP Mark McArdle said he was "absolutely" happy with the portfolio. Mr McArdle said he was passionate about finding ways to combat obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes, and labelled the former Bligh Labor government's history with the portfolio "a complete botch".

"I'm very excited and very keen to get stuck into it on the ground and look into long-term plans for Queensland Health," he said.

- NICKY MOFFAT

Coastal shadow cabinet

  • Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie - police, fire, emergency services and corrective services
  • Maroochydore MP Fiona Simpson - local government and main roads, community recovery and resilience
  • Glass House MP Andrew Powell - energy and water supply
  • Caloundra MP Mark McArdle - health and ambulance services

Topics:  lnp


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