Political debate gives insights to candidates' plans


Victoria Stone-Meadows


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DEBATE: All the candidates for Leichhardt discussed the big issues facing the far north today.

The first debate between the federal candidates for the seat of Leichhardt was held in Cairns today with the major players in attendance to answer questions from the community.
Hosted by Cairns Chamber of Commerce, Advance Cairns, and TTNQ, candidates were quizzed on their plans with a strong focus on small business and tourism.
Each candidate was given a chance at the beginning of the day to give the 200 strong crowd an introduction to who they were and their main platform points.
Incumbent MP, Warren Entsch, spoke about the funding he has secured for the region in his time as MP and said there must be a strong focus moving forward on diversifying the industries and business opportunities across the far north.

He specifically mentioned the Mossman Mill as an example of regional development and diversification of existing industry.
Labor candidate Elida Faith spoke about education, health, and the environment as specific areas of concerns for her campaign.
She also shot back at a questioner regarding welfare citing her 12 years working at Centrelink and disparaged the concept of people on welfare being “bludgers.”
Independent candidate Chad Anderson said his background as a teacher has given him a strong focus on education and growing the skills of local people as the key in building strong local businesses.
The only indigenous candidate for Leichhardt, Gary Oliver for the Greens, made clear there must be a focus in linking the environment to the economy to allow both to prosper.

He also said the main focus for his party this election is ensuring big companies pay tax and redistribution of the GST to fund free education from early learning all the way through tertiary education.

United Australia Party candidate Jen Sackley said the best way for businesses to grow in the far north is through tax reform, specifically by reviewing the provisional tax laws and to ring back zoned tax laws.

Daniel McCarthy, standing for Katter’s Australian Party, said to grow business there must be a focus on building industry-enabling infrastructure, not just social infrastructure.

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