Wildcard to contest
A WILDCARD has thrown his hat into the ring to contest the Federal seat of Flynn in the upcoming election.
Nathan Fletcher, a 29-year-old Queensland Alumina Ltd process technician, said he decided to put up his hand after talking to people close to his age who felt disenfranchised by the political parties in Australia.
"For me, I am very much a people person," Mr Fletcher said.
"Sometimes it does get me in trouble because I take on their issues.
"But again, if it is an issue for (the voters), it will become an issue for me."
The independent candidate said he offered to residents an excellent alternative to the major political parties.
"A lot of people are disenfranchised with the major parties at the moment and are looking for a better alternative across the general Australian public landscape," Mr Fletcher said.
"I would like to think that I can offer a better alternative through the various elements that I am looking at campaigning about.
"I am part of a number of community clubs so I help or have in the past helped run the Calliope Community Carols, helped with the youth club at Calliope, and I am also part of the Rotary Club out there.
"I basically like to keep myself as busy as I can through the community.
"I also run a not-for-profit small business going to teach business groups, schools, community groups… basically anyone who wants to listen about social justice and human rights issues.
"That's obviously something I am extremely passionate about."
Mr Fletcher said the key issues he had so far highlighted for his campaign included youth unemployment, university study options for the region's students and more funding.
"Looking at youth unemployment, youth training and youth retention in regional areas because, at the moment, obviously quite a large number of our students do have to go away from home to study," he said.
"I would love the ability to be able to provide a better offering of courses in regional areas.
"Youth unemployment is obviously a big one, so trying to look at ways we can increase employment in that particular area.
"(And) talking with a number of groups around town, there are a lot of black holes in terms of lack of funding in certain areas, and particularly for Gladstone itself for the size of our town, and to not offer some of these services I think is not good enough," he said.
Mr Fletcher said he and his wife would be celebrating their second wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks.