Tough election choices for Lockyer farmers

Queensland election 2017: Tough election choices for Lockyer farmers


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Labor’s Nicole Lincoln may provide an interesting dynamic in the seat of Lockyer with solid support in eastern parts of the electorate.

Labor’s Nicole Lincoln may provide an interesting dynamic in the seat of Lockyer with solid support in eastern parts of the electorate.

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A relaxed Labor Lockyer candidate Nicole Lincoln in the main street of Gatton on Tuesday.

A relaxed Labor Lockyer candidate Nicole Lincoln in the main street of Gatton on Tuesday.

Ms Lincoln’s manner was relaxed during an interview with Queensland Country Life in the hotly contested seat this week, but she faces a tough battle against the likes of One Nation candidate Jim Savage and local cop and LNP candidate Jim McDonald. 

Polls show Ms Lincoln has a slim chance of winning the long-held conservative rural seat but Labor did enjoy a 7.5 point swing in the seat of Lockyer during the last election. 

While much of the focus in Lockyer has been on the contest between the LNP and One Nation during this campaign, no one is claiming a secure victory with incumbent LNP member Ian Rickuss not running for re-election.

The LNP has displayed a strong enthusiasm to retain the seat with initial campaigning kicking-off in the Lockyer Valley. They promised $1 million in funding for another ‘business plan’ to hopefully unlock Federal money from the National Water Infrastructure Development fund. 

LNP Lockyer canidate Jim McDonald talks with locals in Gatton on Tuesday.

LNP Lockyer canidate Jim McDonald talks with locals in Gatton on Tuesday.

The Lockyer has two irrigation schemes and local farmers have long campaigned for a more secure water supply for the region’s $250 million horticulture industry by building a pipeline from Wivenhoe Dam to local water shortages.

“Our business plan will meet The Treasury guidelines while others may make promises ours will meet The Treasury guidelines to gain Federal funding,” Mr McDonald said.

Meanwhile, One Nation candidate Mr Savage has promised $10 million for a feasibility study into building the new water infrastructure pipelines to supply irrigation water to Lockyer farmers.

“The $10 million isn’t to figure out if we should do it, it’s to figure out how we do it,” he said.

“The real issue is there’s no water allocated from Wivenhoe Dam for the Lockyer Valley and without it there’s no chance of gaining any Federal funding for a pipeline with no water to put in it.

“The councilors, farmers and local irrigators I’ve spoken with are sick of business plans and want a fully funded feasibility study to gain Federal funding.”

Emerging from a corn crop is Lockyer One Nation candidate Jim Savage.

Emerging from a corn crop is Lockyer One Nation candidate Jim Savage.

Labour’s candidate, Ms Lincoln, has signed a commitment to work with the Lockyer Valley Regional Council on water infrastructure.

“Water is a big issue for all our farmers and something I’ve explored extensively,” she said.

The building of a new water pipeline to the region is expected to cost $340 million.

One Nation claim they will fund a feasibility study with money from canning Brisbane’s planned $5.4 billion ‘Cross River Rail Project’, while LNP are yet to release their costings to fund its Queensland election promises.

As the race to Saturday’s election finish line nears, Labor has placed One Nation last on its ‘How to Vote’ cards and the LNP second last, while One Nation has LNP third and Labor forth.

It comes down to the rural and regional voters across the Lockyer choosing between an ‘on the nose’ LNP, trusting a 2016 One Nation party ex-retiree or a relaxed Labor ‘slim on commitment’ approach to the electorate.

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