Tanika Parker to stand up for “under-resourced” Far North
The State election is just around the corner on 31 October and there are eight candidates officially vying for our seat of Cook. Over the next week through a series of candidate profiles Newsport will introduce them.
Health, jobs, and supporting local industries are on the front foot of Katter's Australia Party (KAP) candidate for Cook, Tanika Parker’s campaign as she fights for the seat in the 2020 state election.
Registered Trauma Nurse, Ms Parker, grew up in the Cooktown Hopevale region before completing her studies in Townsville at James Cook University.
Ms Parker says she is a North Queenslander through and through and is running for the seat of Cook because she is committed to making a difference in the lives of the people who also call the north home.
“It saddens and distresses me that every time I’ve returned home, I’ve seen the same problems of shamefully inadequate and under-resourced health centres, very little capacity for health professionals to be able to skill up like city folk can, and the same old lack of opportunities for young people,” Ms Parker said.
“We are the abandoned people of Queensland; politicians focus their gaze on city voters and leave us to fend for ourselves.
“The only time they pay attention is when they fly in at election time to gladhand and buy votes. It’s not right, and I want to bring a loud voice to the floor of parliament on behalf of all Cape York people.
“I’ve recently come from a Deputy CEO position at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Association in Canberra and that opened my eyes to the political arena and I released quite quickly that if you want to make real change you need to be where the big sharks are. That is where the decision making happens,” Ms Parker said.
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Her priorities, if elected, are about improving the Cape’s under-supported health services and infrastructure, as well as driving education, tourism and employment to boost the region.
It is Ms Parker’s background in health that has driven her determination to improve health services on the Cape so everyone “from Cairns to the tip of the Cape, can have city-quality health care.
“Our health outcomes are poorer than big city-dwellers, our emergency services worse, our specialist services scarcer and our skills-based health education training non-existent.”
In particular, for the Douglas Shire area, Ms Parker is lobbying for more funding to return maternity services to the Mossman Hospital, which she says in a human right.
Supporting the tourism industry is also high on Ms Parker's priorities, recognising the urgent need to set up a COVID-19 response for tourism operators and small businesses.
“This is about people’s lives, families, and businesses that have been hugely effected and that is something that needs to be supported.”
Mr Parker and the KAP will also be going into bat for local industries such as sugar and agriculture, underpinning the industry, and fighting to reduce regulations and lowering the cost of production for farmers.
“We’re not only talking about people’s livelihoods we are talking about a service to Australia.
“We need to start looking after our local business and producers and be self-reliant on our own local produce.
“Our young people need better job opportunities, our roads need fixing, we need the state government to listen to our infrastructure upgrade needs,” she said.
“As a true representative for the people of Cook, I’ll take constituent concerns straight to my party and the parliament for action. MPs from the two big parties don’t do that – they’re forced to toe the line by their Brisbane-based leaders, neglecting their responsibility to represent their constituents’ needs. It’s time to end the monopoly of the old parties and ensure the people of the regions get the equality and better treatment we deserve,” Ms Parker said.
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