”I HAD A LOT TO LEARN”: MP hopeful Joel Richters said he’s used the last three years to gain a better understanding of the Southern Downs and its people.
”I HAD A LOT TO LEARN”: MP hopeful Joel Richters said he’s used the last three years to gain a better understanding of the Southern Downs and its people.

Labor candidate contests Southern Downs seat

IT could be second time lucky for Goondiwindi man Joel Richters, who intends to contest the Southern Downs seat in the state election later this year.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Mr Richters as the Labor Party candidate this morning, stating he had the "experience and energy" to be a strong voice for his community.

Mr Richters first ran for election in 2017, losing out to Liberal MP James Lister.

"I had a lot of learning to do," Mr Richters said of the experience.

"But I've spent the last three years really getting to know the people and the region better.

"I understand the issues facing the people on the Southern Downs."

The foremost of which, according to Mr Richters, is drought.

"We are still in the midst of drought and we cannot waver from that," he said.

"We need to be clearly focused on how we can diversify water supply in the region, looking at everything from the pipeline from Toowoomba, to the bores, recycled water and increasing the size of the weir in Goondiwindi."

Mr Richters said having a local representative in the governing party would be crucial should Labor win re-election in October.

"We haven't had that opportunity on the Southern Downs for a very long time," he said.

"I know I have a lot of work to do to convince people it might be time for change, but it just hasn't been working for us.

"At the moment (State Member for the Southern Downs) James (Lister) has not been able to deliver."

Labor has historically delivered on infrastructure promises, including Storm King Dam and the weir in Goondiwindi, according to Mr Richters.

"That's what I want to bring: New infrastructure," he said.

"I want the intersection looked at, at the eight-mile, and I want to get Emu Swamp Dam started."

Experience within the health sector could prove a timely advantage for Mr Richters, who claims to have "deeper understanding" of what is needed to help the region recover from COVID-19.

"I can bring more to the table than James," he said.

"I want to close the gap between rural and city health outcomes … and I have some ideas about how we can do that."

The Daily News has contacted Mr Lister for comment.


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