Cr Roz Frohloff, Cr Scott Henschen and Cr Kathy Duff prepare to ask questions at Wednesday night’s candidates session

October 15, 2020

An innovative idea by the South Burnett Regional Council to give electors a chance to compare the five candidates standing for Nanango at the October 31 State Election has fallen flat with only two taking part.

South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto invited the five candidates (in ballot order): Tony Scrimshaw (PHON), Deb Frecklington (LNP), Mark Stapleton (ALP), Maggie O’Rance (Legalise Cannabis Qld) and John Harbison (The Greens).

Mr Harbison declined the invitation, while the Mayor was unable to contact Ms O’Rance, who has been ill.

Mr Scrimshaw accepted the invitation to address Council on Wednesday evening and Mrs Frecklington, who had been campaigning with Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Townsville, arranged to Skype in to the meeting.

The answers by Mr Scrimshaw and Mrs Frecklington were livestreamed on Council’s website.

Mr Stapleton had been due to speak to Council on Thursday evening, but media were notified on Thursday morning that this had been cancelled.

The plan was for each candidate to have a one hour session with the Mayor, six Councillors and CEO in the Council Chamber.

All candidates were sent the same set of seven questions (see below) which were based on the South Burnett Regional Council’s advocacy plan

Cr Danita Potter, Cr Kirstie Schumacher and Deputy Mayor Gavin Jones

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The Seven Questions

  • Water security and reliability are major issues for our region. What commitments can you make to the people of our region on urban water supply for Kingaroy and water security and reliability for industry and agriculture?
  • The Bunya Mountains is a major tourist attraction for our region. Council has invested in works on the major intersections of the Bunya Mountains-Maidenwell Road, however the road is desperately in need of sealing an unsealed section of approximately 2.4km at an expected cost of $3.5 million. To what extent will you support the funding of this project?
  • Mental Health is an increasing issue across our region. What commitment can you make to delivering improved services and funding for mental health services across the South Burnett? Furthermore, homelessness is often ignored by our State politicians yet because of mental health and other factors, it is on the rise in our region – how will you look to address this?
  • Enhancing internet connectivity across our region has the potential to serve as a significant economic enabler. Our council is currently working on options for accessing the State’s network through QCN fibre to Tarong to deliver future high speed connectivity to the CBD of Kingaroy as a regional hub. To what extent will you support such in terms of advocacy and funding?
  • The Mundubbera-Durong Road forms part of an important freight route for rural southern Queensland. Major capital works are required to complete the final stage of the road within the South Burnett region, the expected cost of such is $20 million. To what extent will you provide a commitment to supporting the funding of this project?
  • Agriculture is very important to this area, in particular the pork industry and the supply chain that goes with it are vital to our regional economy. How are you going to help protect the pork industry from disease, at the same time help grow the sector to bolster new jobs?
  • The LNP under Deb Frecklington will make sure people contracted to government are paid on time – what will you do for small businesses in our community to help job growth and support our local economies? Have you any new ideas that we can look forward to?

Councillors also sprang a “surprise question” … will you support the continuation of the Works 4 Queensland funding program?

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Pauline Hanson’s One Nation candidate Tony Scrimshaw with South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto on Wednesday evening

Major Points From Tony Scrimshaw’s Responses

  • One Nation would stop the sale of water overseas and support the Bradfield Scheme
  • The party can’t commit to anything substantial because no Budget has been handed down by the current State Government
  • Infrastructure and roads are very important for business, agriculture and tourism
  • Without water, the South Burnett will become a dustbowl
  • Water security has to be the “number one” priority
  • Rural areas lack mainstream mental health services
  • One Nation would support all the recommendations from the Disability Royal Commission
  • We need to bring jobs back into rural areas with more Australians – not just backpackers – working on farms
  • It would be foolish to commit to the $20 million for the Mundubbera-Durong Road upgrade without any knowledge of what’s in the State Budget
  • A 10-point “starting list” includes a low-emission coal-fired power station, a sporting complex to tackle youth crime, a regional airport, and working to fix mobile phone black spots
  • One Nation would work with farmers and shooters to eradicate feral animals and secure biosecurity
  • One Nation would work to lower the cost of electricity and rents for small business and campaign for people to “buy local”

Full coverage of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Candidate Tony Scrimshaw’s answers (53 minutes)

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Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington answered questions via Skype as Mayor Brett Otto, CEO Mark Pitt and councillors listened

Major Points From Deb Frecklington’s Responses

  • LNP has promised a Statewide water audit to develop a 30-year plan for water security across Queensland
  • LNP has already committed to keep Works 4 Queensland
  • Regional roads are underfunded – she acknowledged the problems with the Tanduringie Bridge, Maidenwell-Bunya Mountains Road, Byee Road, Mundubbera-Durong Road, Kilkivan-Tansey Road
  • Mrs Frecklington said improving mental health outcomes in the South Burnett was one of the reasons that she originally entered politics
  • The ‘wonderful people’ in the South Burnett who provided mental health services need help
  • LNP has committed to a full-time paediatrician in the South Burnett
  • The new Kingaroy Hospital under construction has less beds than the old hospital
  • LNP would encourage the private sector back into the “build to rent” market
  • Connectivity gaps in the region were highlighted during the COVID-19 lockdown when students were studying from home
  • She was frustrated that money for upgrades on the Mundubbera-Durong Road had gone to a section which wasn’t as urgent as the single lane section
  • Member for Gympie Tony Perrett has been working on biosecurity, tick line issues and R&D for the LNP
  • LNP would bring in severe laws to target protesters who break into farms and abattoirs
  • From July 1, 2021, the price of Sunwater irrigation water would decrease by 19.4 per cent, as recommended by the Queensland Competition Authority
  • “Common sense” laws in regards to native vegetation would give certainty to the agricultural industry

Full coverage of LNP Candidate Deb Frecklington’s answers (47 minutes)

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables

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