Fraser Coast will still be represented, Nationals MPs say
BOTH Hinkler and Wide Bay's incumbent Nationals MPs have denied living outside the Fraser Coast affected their representation of the region's townships.
This is despite Llew O'Brien and Keith Pitt living in Gympie and Bundaberg respectively, leaving the Fraser Coast's major cities without a Federal MP living locally.
Both Mr Pitt and Mr O'Brien were questioned on their plans to ensure how Hervey Bay and Maryborough would prosper and on how much time they spent in both towns during non-sitting weeks.
Mr Pitt told the Chronicle his time was split evenly between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay and said he had opened an electorate office in the Whale City in March.
He said any suggestion Hervey Bay did not receive its fair share of funding was "just not accurate”.
"The Hinkler Regional Deal, for example, has provided funding into both Hervey Bay, Bundaberg and the central part of the electorate,” Mr Pitt said.
"The $40 million for the Hervey Bay CBD as part of the regional deal will be a catalyst for significant redevelopment of the area (and) the upgrade at Hervey Bay Airport will improve the infrastructure and house growing local aviation activities, which means more local jobs.
"A palliative care facility in Hervey Bay will give people a choice in their end of life care.”
Mr O'Brien said his electorate office was located in Maryborough and it would remain there for him to continue representing Maryborough.
He said he had a "strong record of delivery for Maryborough”, citing the Federal Government's $28.5 million for the Rheinmetall NIOA munitions factory, $1.75 million for the Maryborough Dale and Meyers DTM Timber and $18 million for an offstream storage plant, among other projects.
"I am committed to providing strong and effective representation to achieve results for Maryborough and all communities in Wide Bay,” Mr O'Brien said.
Mr Pitt said his Hervey Bay electorate office was the first to be located in the town since Federation and had resulted from lobbying the Special Minister of State when he was first elected in 2013.
When asked if about the future of the Cashless Debit Card trial, Mr Pitt confirmed he would campaign the same way to bring the controversial scheme to Hinkler if he had the time again.
He said there were no plans to extend the card to "anyone else outside the current cohort.”
"The benefits of the card - ensuring bills are being paid, children are being fed and there is money for the necessities - outweigh the ideological opposition to the Cashless Debit Card by a small group of activists,” he said.