Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Brunker Must Step Up

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Brunker Must Step Up

Article excerpt

MIKE Brunker, as the pre-selected ALP candidate for the seat of Dawson, will rapidly need to extend his current parochial outlook in the lead-up to the next Federal election.

It's all very well to move from Collinsville to Bowen and become monarch of Whitsunday Regional Council (WRC) but it is another thing altogether to represent an electorate in the Commonwealth Parliament, which stretches from just south of Townsville to south of Mackay.

Mr Brunker is undoubtedly a passionate advocate for the region he currently represents, but the question is: Will he be able to extend that to the region he seeks to represent?

It is worth noting that in the 2008 local government elections 14,241 votes were cast in the WRC mayoral contest, of which Mr Brunker received 7318; whereas in the 2007 Federal ballot 83,062 electors voted in Dawson.

The challenge for Mr Brunker is to broaden his horizons to encompass the whole region and particularly in relation to the bulk of the constituency he intends to serve: The area of Mackay and district.

Significantly, Regional Development Australia is an initiative of the Federal Government in conjunction with the states, territories and local government to develop and strengthen regional communities.

In the Whitsunday region, RDA involves the area of Whitsunday Regional Council together with those of Mackay Regional Council and Isaac Regional Council in an effort to achieve business growth, environmental solutions and social inclusion.

To be credible, it will be necessary for Mr Brunker to articulate coherent plans as to how he envisages these objectives are to be achieved if he is to be elected.

The same goes for the LNP nominee, George Christensen, who will need to shed the narrow confines of a Mackay regional councillor; likewise other candidates from their perspectives.

Mackay is fortunate the local State MP, Tim Mulherin, has a responsibility for regional Queensland including in respect of RDA and it is to be hoped that whoever is elected the concepts sought to be promoted by RDA are advanced.

NEIL FRANCEY, Mackay

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