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Thursday, 18 September 2003
Page: 20590

Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (12:51 PM) —I would like to talk about the wonderful opportunity the community of the Sunshine Coast will have at the next state election to elect a number of Liberal and National Party members. They will provide appropriate levels of representation to the Sunshine Coast, which will be much improved on the deficient representation the Sunshine Coast is currently receiving from state Labor members. The Sunshine Coast community will have the chance to put into electorate offices a very strong team that will push the interests of the Sunshine Coast in Brisbane. We have four candidates: Glenn Elmes for Noosa; Fiona Simpson, the sitting National Party member for Maroochydore; and, most importantly, two very strong candidates in the state seats of Caloundra and Kawana.

Former Liberal state leader and Deputy Premier Joan Sheldon, after many years of service, has announced her retirement as the member for Caloundra and at the next poll her name will not be on the ballot paper. The Liberal Party, however, will be well served by its choice of Mark McArdle, a solicitor on the Sunshine Coast, who is committed to representing all of the people of Caloundra regardless of their political preference and to ensuring that the interests of Caloundra continue to be well served in the state parliament. Mark is a person I know well; he is a close friend of mine. He believes that orderly and controlled development is important for Caloundra. He also believes that adequate provision of services for residents of the city of Caloundra is essential. Mark will continue to fight for adequate staffing, resourcing and funding for the Caloundra and Nambour hospitals; infrastructure improvements, particularly to the roads in and out of Caloundra; education; better equipped police officers; and more employment opportunities for the residents of Caloundra.

I think it is fairly sad that the current state ALP government has penalised the people of Caloundra because they have never elected a Labor Party member. Sir Francis Nicklin, who was the Premier of Queensland when the seat was known as Landsborough, was succeeded by the Hon. Mike Ahern, who was also Premier of Queensland. When he retired, he was succeeded by Joan Sheldon, who became the Liberal leader and Deputy Premier of the state. The area of Caloundra is used to having representation at a very high level of government, and I am confident that Mark McArdle, if and when elected as the member for Caloundra, will continue that high level of service to the Caloundra community. It is sad that the people of Caloundra have been denied an adequate level of funding from the state government simply because of the bloody-minded attitude of the state government, which has essentially said that, because the people of Caloundra have chosen conservative representation for as long as anyone can remember, they are to be penalised in some way, shape or form for exercising their democratic choice.

Harry Burnett is the Liberal candidate for the neighbouring state seat of Kawana. I know Harry Burnett well; he worked for the high-profile chartered accounting firms of KPMG and PriceWaterhouse before beginning his own practice. He knows how important it is to provide adequate representation. Kawana was a safe Liberal seat. I think it had a 20 per cent margin for the Liberal Party prior to the last poll when, as part of the landslide towards Labor, the excellent state member Bruce Laming surprisingly lost his seat to the current member for Kawana, Chris Cummins. Harry Burnett will provide a very good level of representation for local people. He has identified law and order and health and education as the main issues facing the residents of the Kawana electorate, who have also been neglected by the current Beattie government.

Harry believes that Beattie's `smart state' needs to be more than a silly numberplate and a budget in deficit. He is already working to represent the best interests of the electorate, campaigning to have the state government look after the Mooloolaba fishing industry by dredging the sandbars at the mouth of the Mooloolah River and ensuring that the industry can remain effective and provide an important economic boost for the Sunshine Coast. In fact, the fishing industry provides more than $90 million to my electorate through Mooloolaba. Both the Kawana and Caloundra communities can support Harry Burnett and Mark McArdle with confidence, as they will deposit into the Queensland parliament a wealth of experience in small business, the local economy, financial management and how to cost a budget.

Question agreed to.

Main Committee adjourned at 12.57 p.m.