Old rivalry reignites in the battle for Maryborough

MARYBOROUGH, the State's second most marginal seat, will be a nail-biter come Saturday night with Anne Maddern and Chris Foley in their third showdown for the seat.

Tied at one apiece, Mr Foley and Ms Maddern have battled at two previous elections, in 2009 and 2012.

While forced to preferences in 2009, Mr Foley was still able to hold off Ms Maddern.

But in 2012 the State-wide swing toward the LNP was enough to push Ms Maddern over the line by 170 votes.

On September 10 last year Mr Foley was splashed on the front page of the Chronicle with the headline, 'He's back.'

He was the first challenger for the seat, and Ms Maddern welcomed her challenger into the democratic election.

Mr Foley has played the underdog in this short campaign, attributing Ms Maddern's advertising and sign blitz as the benefit of incumbency.

Anne Maddern
Age: 59
Occupation before politics: real estate property valuer and business owner

Chris Foley
Age: 58
Occupation before politics: senior partner in an accounting/financial planning practice

What three local projects/initiatives have you championed for Maryborough?

FOLEY: I provided $1.349 billion dollars in rail contracts over nine years. In health I pioneered the hydrotherapy pool, Yaralla Place, Maryborough Stores Warehouse and establishment of telemedicine services. 

I helped establish the region's tactical crime squad, widen the Lamington Bridge and build an overpass and path for cyclists to the TAFE college.

MADDERN: Prior to my election, I led a strong community campaign to receive a dialysis unit at Maryborough Hospital (and) after much work by the community, it was implemented while Mr Foley was the Member.

Since election, with the support of the community, I helped bring a rehabilitation/learning garden to the hospital.

The garden supports the work of the rehabilitation unit (which is almost complete).

I also secured funding for the hospital's palliative care facility, and work has now started on this.

I also secured funding to upgrade the intersection of Petersen and Craignish Roads, as well as the installation of traffic lights at the intersection of Woongool and Gympie Roads (due for completion in the short term).

I also fought for suitable funding to operate the Susan River Boot Camp.

What will be your main focus, should you be elected?

FOLEY: Putting Maryborough back on the map.

Jobs, jobs and more jobs.

Stimulate the economy so that large and small business has every incentive possible to set up in our region.

This proud and prosperous city has been spiralling downwards, and only an independent can work with either side of politics and put the needs of the electorate ahead of the agenda of a political party.

Bringing Maryborough Hospital up to the same standard of Accident and Emergency (A&E) that Hervey bay hospital enjoys, including a CT scanner.

MADDERN: To build on the services already provided i.e. our hospital, schools, roads and community services, and to attract more jobs to the region by supporting business so they are able to employ more staff.

How will you bring jobs to the region?

FOLEY: Fight for the re-establishment of Maryborough as the main train building city for the whole of Australia.

Why has the Queensland Government sent our train building contracts overseas?

Lead trade delegations with the Fraser Coast Regional Council and other stakeholders to meet with national and state companies to relocate part or all of their operations to Maryborough.

Negotiate the use of unallocated crown land to make Maryborough the light-manufacturing centre of the region.

Work hard to help the council get big projects like the Mary Harbour Development, and the Marine Industry Precinct off the ground as these will employ huge numbers of workers

MADDERN: I will focus on three specific areas - history tourism, growing agriculture by sourcing additional water and land supplies, and kick-starting the housing construction industry to supply unmet demand for new housing.

What will you do for the Maryborough Base Hospital?

FOLEY: Bring Maryborough A&E up to Hervey Bay Hospital standards and establish it as the major highway centre.

Re-establish the Maryborough Pathology Lab that the LNP closed down despite saying last time that the only way to keep it was to vote LNP.

Work to facilitate the hiring of senior doctors specifically for the Maryborough Hospital Audit the whole range of services offered in the district, (including birthing) to see what needs to change to re-establish as many services as possible in our electorate.

MADDERN: I have a strong working relationship with hospital management and the Health Minister, and will work on behalf of the community to establish new services and equipment.

I've already had many successes in this area and my goal is to ensure that as few people as possible have to travel to receive their treatment.

Why will or won't asset sales benefit Maryborough?

FOLEY: Why would you sell off the only assets that are making money for Queensland ?

The current government is pork-barrelling Queensland with promise of things like a $150 million Sports Stadium in North Queensland, when it has no money and a budget in huge deficit.

If Campbell Newman was serious about fixing the economy he would use the money raised by asset sales to pay off the deficit instead of going on a spending spree to buy votes with money he doesn't even have yet.

It's like taking a whole bunch of people you want to impress to a shopping centre and shouting them a whole bunch of goodies on a credit card.

Spending money you don't have and at the same time imploring people to pull their belts in doesn't work.

MADDERN: Despite the mistruths being thrown around by Labor and their union mates, there is no plan for asset sales.

We have a plan to lease (or if you like rent) some government owned assets for a 50-year term with an option.

Renting these assets and bringing forward the rental income will allow us to pay down Labor's debt.

It is a fact that Maryborough's residents and businesses are - right now - having to contribute to the $450,000 each and every hour being what Queensland has to pay in interest on that debt.

That is dead money - money that could be used to build new hospitals, schools and roads.

The return on these leases will help free up capital to invest in major infrastructure, and will put downward pressure on electricity costs for local residents by removing the component of their bill which relates to solar input costs.

What will you do with the TAFE campus?

FOLEY: As Maryborough is central to the Gympie/Maryborough/Hervey Bay region, the Minister could make Maryborough TAFE the main hub for all apprenticeship related training for the region.

It has the best facility by far and the Government will get next to nothing for it if they tried to sell it. This could be done at the stroke of the Minister's pen.

MADDERN: With the relocation of TAFE's learning arm into the Maryborough CBD, locals will have easier access to training, a great outcome. In terms of the Nagel St campus - which has only been used to 11% capacity - the future vacant site holds great potential for our community.

There are ongoing discussions about its potential uses and how it could benefit local businesses and industries.

And finally, why should voters elect you on Saturday? 

FOLEY: Experience, I know the job inside out as I have already done it for nine years.

I'll put people first and not political parties.

If you have a government member, you have an apologist for the system.

I have proven that I have no other priority than the whole of my electorate and will not be silenced or told what to do by a political party.

No more asset sales.

These assets are owned by every Queenslander and should not be sold off to pay off deficit budgets or in the current governments case, sell them off to buy votes.

I am ready, willing and able to lead the fight to bring back the Maryborough Electorate.

MADDERN: The LNP's first-term plan to reduce waste, grow the economy and provide front line services has been delivered.

I am a member of a strong team which has a plan to build on those achievements over the next three years-a plan which will grow services, grow the economy and grow jobs to create a stronger Maryborough Electorate.

The choice the voters have is between a strong team with a plan, Labor - which its own candidates admit does not have a plan-or independents who have no capacity to deliver.

It is crucial that Maryborough has someone at the table of government to fight and deliver on our behalf.