The intensity of the race by a number of parties to win the seat of Callide was highlighted last week when Katter’s Australian Party announced it would make a $3.5 million feasibility study on the Coalstoun Lakes Irrigation Scheme in that electorate a prerequisite for obtaining KAP support to form government.
State KAP leader, Robbie Katter, in announcing its requirement for support, described the LNP as “quick to promise $50m to buy votes by upgrading a bridge in the Callide electorate” but not seeming to care about creating local jobs and businesses.
THE LNP last week committed to a $35 million high-level bridge over the Boyne River on the southern side of Mundubbera, which LNP deputy leader, Deb Frecklington said would give agriculture far better access to Wellcamp Airport and provide better access to and from NSW.
Mr Katter said while his party was supportive of building infrastructure in regional areas, “this is clearly a shallow vote-buying exercise by the LNP”.
Burnett farmer Darrin Rackemann, while describing himself as a political cynic, said he was appreciative of KAP’s backing.
He is a member of the Coalstoun Lakes Development Group Inc, which has been working to get the feasibility study for the new irrigation scheme funded.
“This election is fairly open since Jeff (Seeney’s) retired and I remain ever hopeful that something will happen,” he said.
“I’m one of the lucky ones with underground water, and I can see the potential of the rich red soil.
“It would be good to get the feasibility done.”
KAP candidate for Callide, Robbie Radel, said a study would give locals hope of better times ahead.
“It would immediately reinvigorate the community and slow the number of young people leaving the area looking for work,’’ he said.
“The study would be able to identify which of the two methods – building a weir on Barambah Creek or creating a pipeline from Paradise Dam - would be the most cost effective and beneficial for the community.”
“We have 5000 hectares of some of the richest land available, we just need to activate it.
“The resulting agriculture business that would be created would see young people returning to the area and economic benefits flowing to other regions.’’