Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has described Australia's school curriculum as a 'failure.'
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has described Australia's school curriculum as a 'failure.' Michael Nolan

Maranoa candidates state their case

MIGRANTS "will be what is needed for growth" in our electorate, and the biggest federal issue is "getting the budget under control", says ALP candidate Linda Little.

The "scourge of drug addiction" must be stopped and "a strong economy to pay for what we need and keeping Australians safe" are some of LNP candidate David Littleproud's top priorities.

The Emu Swamp Dam build would get $42m under both Labor and the LNP federal governments.

Katter Australia Party, United Australia Party, Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party, Greens Party and One Nation Party candidates each have their own policy priorities for the electorate of Maranoa, of which the Granite Belt forms part.

Here's what the seven candidates for our seat in the House of Representatives had to say to these questions from the Border Post:

  • What is the most important local issue and why?
  • What is the biggest federal issue and why? 
  • If elected what would you do to improve water security on the Granite Belt? 
  • What should be done to help residents through the drought? 
  • Are you for or against de-amalgamation of Southern Downs Regional Council?
  • Do women have the right to end their own pregnancy? 
  • Is there a role for new migrants in the Maranoa economy? 

Anthony Wallis, Katter's Australian Party:

Anthony Wallis, KAP
Anthony Wallis, KAP

"The most important local issue is the lack of water infrastructure. One of the key issues I have been campaigning on has been water infrastructure. There is a reluctance from both the federal government and the state government to invest in new water infrastructure right across Qld. I think its [sic] time to build dams to secure water for the people in the towns and to support industry.

"Energy is one of the biggest issues facing Australia. How we move forward towards renewable energy is very important. If we set ridiculous renewable targets we will continue to lose industries that rely heavily on electricity. The price of electricity will continue to go up meaning lower income households will be unable to afford electricity.

"I fully support emu swamp dam and would push for it to move forward as quickly as possible. I would be happy to support increasing dam walls or in building any other water infrastructure to address the issue of water security.

"The drought has affected both farmers and the regional towns including those in the granite belt. The government needs to have more staff on the ground to help people get assistance. It also needs to stream line the task of apply for assistance as often the task of applying for government assistance can add to the stress of dealing with a drought.

"With regard to the de-amalgamation of the Southern Downs Regional Council if this has the full support of the local community that want to de-amalgamate then they should be able to explore if this is an option. If it is what the majority of the local community wants then I support them in this area.

"I believe that ending a pregnancy is ending the life of a child. We should be doing all we can to allow these children to live.

"There are definitely rolls [sic] for new migrants in the Maranoa economy. Migrants are as welcome in the Maranoa as anywhere in Australia. I believe we need to reduce the number of total migrants that are entering the country until we have the infrastructure to support them."

Linda Little, Australian Labor Party

Linda Little ALP
Linda Little ALP

"There are many important local issues, and naming only one is a challenge. If I was being true to myself, good access to Health and Education are a priority. That's why I am committing to return $260,000 to Stanthorpe Hospital and $1.26 million to Stanthorpe Schools.

"Bringing our budget back under control. The federal government have doubled our national debt over the last 6 years, and it has to stop. We are taking real and appropriate action to address the budget issues. We are also delivering on our policy of making health care affordable. $2.3 billion for our Medicare Cancer Plan will help reduce, if not completely remove, the out of pocket expenses for cancer treatment. Cancer affects at least half of all those who live in Stanthorpe at some point in their life, and making sure your Medicare Card is all you need is important to me and the residents of the Granite Belt.

"I announced on Friday that Labor would commit to the $42 million needed from the Federal Government to build Emu Swamp Dam. This is important for the primary producers of the Granite Belt. As your elected member I would also look into dredging Storm King Dam and investigate other water sources for a guaranteed urban supply.

"It is important that while this country is experiencing unprecedented drought, that the government support the community to ensure essential services stay open for business. We are committed to affordable health care, giving every child a good education and giving tax relief to the low-income earners. We are also going to give workers a fair go by working with the Fair Work Commission to deliver a living wage. Our commitment to Emu Swamp Dam will ensure that it is able to go to the next stage and deliver a much needed boost to local jobs and productivity.

"De-amalgamation is a matter for the State Government. I have been listening to the residents and their concerns. I share the concerns of Southern Downs Labor representative Joel Richters that the QTC report misses the mark and the figures used are of some concern.

"Labor is completely supportive of a woman's right to choose. Queensland Labor legislated for this in December last year.

"Migrants will be what is needed across Maranoa for growth. Stanthorpe is already a very welcoming place for our newest Australian's and I would work with the local community and Southern Downs Refugee and Migrant Network to continue making this a safe and welcoming place. Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt has so much potential and this will be realised with the growth of migrants to the region."

David Littleproud, Liberal National Party:

"Building the infrastructure that supports local jobs like Emu Swamp Dam, the cost of living and protecting our people from the scourge of drug addiction. That's why I've funded the Granite Belt Local Drug Action Team and two counsellors to tackle the scourge of drugs, and committed $42 million to build Emu Swamp Dam. 

"A strong economy to pay for what we need and keeping Australians safe. Protecting people's housing prices and the savings of those that have retired or looking to retire is paramount. You can't keep changing the goal posts on those Australians that have built this nation. 

"I've backed Emu Swamp Dam not just with words, but money. I've secured over $4 million to do the preliminary work but have also secured $42 million to build it. It's time for the state government to do their bit. 

"Guaranteeing water security by completing Emu Swamp Dam. I've secured the $5 billion Future Drought Fund to help communities around Australia tackle drought and grow their resilience to kick back from dry times. Online videoconferencing with psychologists can now be claimed with the full Medicare rebate. The government has also invested a further $174 million in Maranoa alone to provide targeted programs to support health initiatives that help farming communities. 

"If the people of Stanthorpe want it [de-amalgamation] they should get it. I believe they were robbed of a vote in 2013 and they are the ones that should ultimately decide their council. 

"This[abortion] is obviously a vexed issue. This is also a state issue - not a federal issue. I oppose the recent Queensland Labor Government's abortion laws, particularly around late term abortions. 

"Stanthorpe in part was proudly built on rich Italian migration. It's made us what we are today in many ways. Migration should work in our national interest whilst always making sure we keep Australians safe."  

Emmeline Chidley, Greens Party:

Emmaline Chidley - greens
Emmaline Chidley - greens Contributed

"The most important local issue in this election is the lack of services and job opportunities in our communities. We need a greater investment in training, infrastructure and renewables to create jobs and grow our region, fully fund our schools and provide free TAFE and university for our young people, upgrade our hospitals, reduce waiting lists and cover dental care under Medicare, provide free to low-cost access to essential services such as disability, aged care, childcare and mental health, and support small business by cutting their energy costs through a public energy retailer and rewarding them with tax deductions for giving their workers a pay rise.

"Climate change is the biggest national and international challenge we face and is worsening the drought that is devastating our rural communities. We need to transition away from fossil fuels and drive the investment in renewables to tackle climate change, lower our power bills, and create thousands of clean energy jobs.   

"We need to take drastic action to improve water quality and protect our water resources for future generations. I will support cheaper and proven water harvesting and recycling initiatives to provide better water security and protect the environment.

"The Greens agriculture plan will provide $100 million annual support for drought-affected communities, restore funding to Landcare, protect farmers' land with a national ban on fracking, and support farmers with grants to increase production and protect land and soil, and promote sustainable environmental and water management practices. 

"I support greater consultation from the community on this matter. I believe we need more grassroots democracy and transparency in local government to ensure our representatives are accountable to the community and not vested interests.

"I support the right of every woman to control her own body. All women should have access to affordable sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion and contraception. 

"Migrants play an important role in helping to enrich and provide greater diversity in our regional communities and filling jobs and skills shortages in our local economy." 

Julie Saunders, United Australia Party

Declined to respond.

Darren Christiansen, Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party

No response to email or phone calls.

Rosemary Moulden, Pauline Hanson's One Nation

No response to email or phone calls.

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