LNP candidate Ken O’Dowd is steeling himself for a election stoush with sitting Flynn member, Chris Trevor.
In Emerald this week with Senator Ian Macdonald, the Opposition spokesman for Northern Australia, Mr O’Dowd’s response to Mr Trevor’s emotional press conference confirming he would recontest the seat was critical.
“This is hardly the sort of member likely to attract ministers to his electorate,” he said.
“While I appreciate Chris Trevor’s personal anguish, Flynn needs someone who will get in and fight for its families, industries and its future.
Mr O’Dowd predicted a fight down to the polling wire.
“It will be a tough contest… and we’ll see what the people of Flynn have to say about it.”
The reintroduction of local hospital boards would go a long way to solving Emerald’s medical woes, he added.
Mr O’Dowd and Sen Macdonald strongly advocated incentives to sweeten the lives of doctors and medical staff that could be lured to relocate to the area.
“A local board could look and say well we might have to pay the doctor more, but we might have to insist he and his wife go to the Gold Coast or Melbourne for six weeks every year,” offered Sen Macdonald.
“The locals can understand these things; they might buy them a beach hut down at Yeppoon and that way you can attract some of these young doctors.”
Local people on local boards was the answer, added Mr O’Dowd.
“I was talking to a doctor from Emerald Hospital out at Ag-Grow and he agreed with me, saying we’re going nowhere as it is now.
“I think our policy of having local people on hospital boards and working with the government of the day will do a lot more than the layers and layers of bureaucracy that just complicate matters, and you never get a solution.”
Sen Macdonald said talks with small business in the Central Highlands had exposed fears about a micro-economic downturn if any mine tax was imposed.
“What was the RSPT is now the minerals resource rent tax and people everywhere don’t understand it,” he said.
“Julia is supposed to have fixed it but the revenue coming in is pretty much the same as it was before she fixed it and people are seeing that.
“They’re saying should I go ahead with my expansion, should I employ these extra people because I’m not quite sure if the mining companies, once they have a serious look at it and decide it’s not for them, will decide their investments are better in West Africa or South America.
“Then the local contractors and support industries in places like Emerald are left holding the baby.
“It’s creating, in what should be a boom time for all of us, a lot of uncertainty and worry.”
Mr O’Dowd also promised his support to the Rolleston post office, facing possible closure in three months.
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