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Greens name teacher as Southern Downs candidate

Greens candidate for Southern Downs Antonia van Geuns.
Greens candidate for Southern Downs Antonia van Geuns. LucyRC Photography

ANOTHER face has joined the race for the Southern Downs State Government seat.

Last week the Queensland Greens accepted the nomination of Southern Downs Greens convenor Antonia van Geuns.

Ms van Geuns, a Toowoomba resident since the early 1980s, came into politics when she ran for the Greens in the seat of Groom at the 2016 Federal Election.

The former secondary school science teacher said representing the Greens members and supporters in the region was a privilege.

"There were a few people on the Southern Downs that would have made great candidates, but for one reason or another couldn't or didn't nominate," Ms van Geuns said.

"So as the local convenor I put my hand up to take the nomination."

Ms van Geuns said despite the traditional low numbers of votes for the Greens in the region, it was the position of the party to continue to stand up as a voice for environmental and social justice in Queensland's regional areas.

"There are a lot of real hotspots and issues across the Southern Downs that need to be addressed," she said.

"There are issues with water, Emu Swamp Dam is a hot topic of discussion as is the protection of farmland from the ever present threat of mining, such as in the Goomburra region.

"There's a lot the Greens can have a hand in on the Southern Downs."

In the 2015 State Election, with candidate Elizabeth Ure campaigning hard across the region, the Greens doubled their vote tally from the 2012 election pulling in 7.17% of the vote.

Ms van Geuns said she was a big supporter of rural communities.

"I think they get a bad deal," she said.

"It seems councils are easily manipulated by big business and the Greens are all about the reversal and winding back the power these businesses have.

"We'd like to the residents get much more of a voice and some real results to go with it."

The candidate said she would be appearing at a special meet and greet in Stanthorpe on November 9.

"I'll be at the Stanthorpe CWA Hall from 5.30pm to 6pm to introduce myself to the community and get an understanding of some of the concerns facing residents," Ms van Geuns said.

"I'm really looking forward to getting to Warwick for the opportunity to engage with the residents there.

"I want to talk about the things that matter to the people in the region."

A state-wide Greens policy centres around the formation of one public company in charge of the distribution and sale of energy in Queensland.

Ms van Geuns said this was designed to eliminate some of the rorting done by private companies.

"This includes an overhaul of Ergon's transactions as well," she said.

"Even though they're a public company, they still need scrutiny."

Ms van Geuns said she expected an election would be called for February 2018.

"There are some who predict it will happen this year," she said.

"But if that's the case it will need to be called before the end of the month."

With the upcoming retirement of incumbent Lawrence Springborg, Ms van Geuns will be up against new LNP candidate James Lister, independent Rob Mackenzie and One Nation's Josh Coyne.

As yet the Queensland Labor party have not announced a candidate.

Topics:  greens candidate southern downs state election 2018


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