Senate candidates share their plans for Bundy
THE LNP's first, second and third listed senate candidates for the upcoming federal election paid a visit to Bundaberg and say if elected, their priorities would be to grow jobs and encourage tourism.
Having spent the weekend in Bundaberg, candidates Paul Scarr, Susan McDonald and Gerard Rennick said they believed the growth of the port was a key to job creation.
"If agriculture can get the port going, we can expand on that," Mr Rennick said.
The candidates said developing a major agricultural export port would benefit not only the Wide Bay, but create jobs in a corridor between Bundaberg to the Darling Downs.
"I see vacant land (around the port), I see opportunity," Mr Scarr said.
The trio said if elected, they would use their resources to advocate for infrastructure such as freight rail links and the duplication of the Bruce Hwy north of Gympie that would support the growth of Bundaberg's port.
"The young people in Bundaberg deserve the same opportunities as the people in Brisbane have - to get work and to raise a family," Mr Scarr said.
"We want to make it easier, not harder, for young people.
"My concern is if Bill Shorten gets in, unionised labour will make it difficult to afford to employ people.
"We need to give opportunities to the young kids here."
Ms McDonald, who has a background in agriculture and retail, explained why they were interested in the region as senate candidates.
"As senators we'll be working hard for all of Queensland," she said.
"Senators can be advocates for industry and regions - the role is to provide the oversight of direction for the country - practical, sensible direction.
"We need to stand up and protect our people in the regions," Mr Rennick, who has a background in farming and finance, added.
The untapped potential of the area which could be utilised to address unemployment issues and create jobs was raised by the three.
Mr Scarr, a mining executive who says he has created myriad opportunities for the poor in Laos, says there is no reason the same principles can't be applied at home in Australia.
"In terms of tourism, there's a lot of great history in Bundy - agriculture, aviation, architecture, the river itself is beautiful as well and Bundaberg should be a destination," he said.
Mr Rennick said he wanted to see Queensland's tourism grow and return to its former glory when stars such as George Harrison owned holiday homes in the sunshine state.
"We need to start promoting tourism again," he said.
"The question is, is the State Government going to fix up the debacle with the Tobruk?"
Mr Rennick suggested Bundaberg's calmer beach waters should be marketed to our Asian neighbours.
Ms McDonald, who runs butcher shops, said she believed a key to ensuring long-term employment was to ensure local produce for export was being both grown and produced here.
"The important part is Australia doesn't just become the paddock," she said.
"It's important we do the value-adding here."
Ms McDonald said this would help ensure higher paid jobs were available in the region.
"At a retail level, we have to understand what the rest of the world wants, and Bundaberg does understand what the world wants."