Flight costs, mining and service delivery dominate Traeger debate

Flight costs, mining and service delivery dominate Traeger debate


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All Traeger candidates were present except Peter Relph from the Greens.

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Five of the six Traeger candidates were at the Spinifex State College to face questions from the public in a forum organised by the North West Star and ABC North West Queensland.

Around 60 members of the public were present and they were joined by thousands who tuned in to watch the debate on live Facebook.

Issues raised including the cost of flights into the region, health service delivery, mining in the region, unemployment and youth crime.

Unsurprisingly much of the focus was on sitting member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter who surprisingly refused to commit to standing the full term if elected when answering a question if he would move to the federal parliament should a seat become vacant.

Members of the public listen to the debate.

Members of the public listen to the debate.

There was agreement around some issues but the debate became most animated with the final topic, the high cost air fares.

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ALP candidate Danielle Slade threw her support behind the federal inquiry and said that the costs needed to be broken down to see “who else had their hand out” as airport charges were also high.

Independent Craig Scriven queried whether anyone had directly spoken with Qantas, prompting several people to interject saying that was not true.

When an audience member said high air prices were good because it kept money in the town, Robbie Katter said he could his point but disagreed and he had been lobbying the state government hard on high prices.

“When Qantas came out with their local residents fare, it the first time they acknowledged there was a problem out here,” he said.

When asked about long-term alternatives to mining in the region, Mr Katter agreed with other speakers tourism was important but mining would remain the backbone of the economy “for the next 50 years”.

The two independent candidates Sarah Isaacs and Craig Scriven both gave important insights into the difficult issues around service delivery, particularly into indigenous communities and Mr Scriven that while workers on the ground understood the issues political will was lacking to effect change.

LNP candidate Ron Bird was keen to talk up his party’s plan to promote investment in big infrastructure projects.

The story Flight costs, mining and service delivery dominate Traeger debate first appeared on North Queensland Register.

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