September 8th 2006
10 questions for local candidates
This Saturday Queensland will vote for a new government and to help local readers get some idea of the policies on offer magneticimes.com put 10 questions to our local candidates in Townsville, Mundingburra and Thuringowa.
Unfortunately many of the candidates have, it seems, declined our request. Those who did respond were the Labor Member for Townsville, the Greens candidates for Mundingburra and Thuringowa, a One Nation candidate from Thuringowa.
It is disappointing that we didn't get to hear from the Nationals, Liberals and independents because we believe that the questions asked were of importance to Magnetic Islanders as well as probing of some of the bigger issues that underpin the operation of government. Townsville Greens' candidate John Boucher has not responded due to his withdrawl from the election.
We accept that the candidates for Thuringowa and Mundingburra would have less motivation to respond to Magnetic Island questions but with no response from Townsville Liberal candidate Jessica Webber and Independent Steve Todeschini our Island readers remain in the dark on important matters.
Steve Todeschini comes up in a Google search with no information regarding policies. What we learn is that he owns a boat shop in Townsville and that he features largely in fishing tournaments. Clearly his preparations for catching voters are less sophisticated than his ability to kill fish. Jessica Webber, by comparison, has a web page (here) but her antics representing James Cook University last year at a student's conference in Ballarat, where Young Liberals disrupted the meeting with chants of, "We're sexist, We're racist, We're homophobic" (view here - Jessica in the pink headscarf), tell a very different story.
Following are the 10 issues/questions we put before the candidates. We gave each candidate a 100 word limit for each answer.
1. Urgent state funding for Magnetic Island Community Care respite centre for the frail and elderly on Magnetic Island - one which might also double as a much needed public cyclone shelter.
Mike Reynolds (Townsville Labor): The Magnetic Island Community Care Respite Centre is a priority project for me as local Member and one which I have been lobbying for vigorously. The Minister for Health Stephen Robertson has informed me that he is looking at the project in the current capital works round and is trying to locate a funding source from which this project could be funded. I am determined to continue to fight to make sure this important project becomes a reality.
Jenny Stirling (Mundinburra Greens): Community based care is important for the quality of life of the frail and elderly, and probably also takes pressure off our hospitals. It is also shocking that there is the situation where the is no public cyclone shelter for Magnetic Island. This needs to be urgently addressed.
Frank Reilly (Thuringowa Greens): Strongly support.
Bill Hankin (Thuringowa One Nation): Support that
2. Completion of pedestrian walkways around dangerous Nelly Bay to Arcadia headland.
Mike Reynolds (Townsville Labor): While there are no State roads on Magnetic Island I am fully supportive of this project going ahead. As a regular on magnetic Island I often walk these roads and fully appreciate the concerns of locals and tourists alike.
While the State has no official role to play I would be keen to work with the Townsville City Council to see what State assistance could be provided through the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme.
Jenny Stirling (Mundingburra Greens): Support. Infrastructure to assist people move around without major environmental impact should be supported, where it doesn't produce more environmental damage itself.
Frank Reilly (Thuringowa Greens): Strongly support
Bill Hankin (Thuringowa One Nation): Supporting
3. Do you support continued coastal development in storm-surge prone areas?
Mike Reynolds (Townsville Labor): Unfortunately this is another example of the Greens scaremongering when they have no genuine solutions. The Beattie Government's environmental record is the best of any Queensland Government in history. We are committed to ensuring that no development goes ahead unless it meets strict environmental safeguards.
While the Greens like to talk about climate change the Beattie Government is getting on with the job of addressing it. We have already positioned Queensland as a world-leader in climate research and application.
A re-elected Beattie Government will strengthen the state's leadership in climate change by establishing the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence.
Jenny Stirling (Mundingburra Greens): We do not support coastal developments in storm-surge prone areas. Such events will become more intense and destructive with the rising sea level, and more extreme weather conditions. This will subsequently cost our communities in terms of environmental damage, damage to infrastructure, and possibly loss of life.
Frank Reilly (Thuringowa Greens): Strongly oppose
Bill Hankin (Thuringowa One Nation): Yes
4. What would you propose to solve the health issues and in particular the shortage of Doctors and hospital beds in the region?
Mike Reynolds (Townsville Labor): Solving workforce shortages is the key to improving our health system. The Beattie Government's $9.7 billion Health Action Plan will address many problems in our health system but we need the Commonwealth to start doing their job.
The Commonwealth is responsible for training and we have already forced them to provide hundreds more training places.
It is no good having great new facilities like the $182 million Townsville Tertiary Hospital if the Commonwealth refuses to train more doctors.
A re-elected Beattie Government will provide 100 new beds at the Townsville Tertiary Hospital with 22 of those beds presently under construction.
Jenny Stirling (Mundingburra Greens): We need to address health, and not just sickness. This means increasing funding to preventative heath services such as dental care, and mental health, as well as diet and lifestyle services. The birthing centre is another good example for taking pressure off hospitals. This must be prioritised above capital works, such as the $400M court house for Brisbane. http://qld.greens.org.au/policies/health/
Frank Reilly (Thuringowa Greens): Organisational and cultural change.