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Article: Parties battle for swinging vote
« on: March 16, 2009, 07:16:45 AM »
From the Brisbanetimes click here!

Parties battle for swinging vote

Parties battle for swinging vote
Tony Moore and Andrew Wight | March 16, 2009 - 4:07AM

Both parties have targeted undecided voters in North and Central Queensland and on the Gold Coast in the final week of campaigning, if yesterday's campaign commitments are an indication.

While the two Galaxy polls that have been completed during the campaign show the LNP narrowly ahead on a statewide basis, they mask much wider variations between individual seats across Queensland.

The ALP believes it is vulnerable in Townsville (9%) , because former Speaker Mike Reynolds has retired and former Cowboys coach Murray Hurst is the popular LNP candidate.

It is also nervous about the seat of Mulgrave (9%) near Cairns, where Local Government and Main Roads Minister Warren Pitt has retired and his son, Curtis, is standing in his place after recently shifting there.

The ALP will hope the two seats around Cairns - Barron River (4.8 per cent) and Cairns (8%), will benefit from Labor's pitch yesterday to build a 2000km Great Walk from the Daintree to Cape York.

Premier Anna Bligh pitched it as creating 1100 tourism jobs.

In the Whitsundays, Labor could lose the seat of Whitsunday (0.4 per cent, Jan Jarratt), while it will try to steal Burdekin (Rosemary Jenkens, 0.9 per cent) and Mirani (Ted Malone, 1.2 per cent) from the LNP through the redistribution of seats.

Labor has promised a new $6 million cancer oncology unit at Rockhampton, extra radiation services for Cairns and a $25 million expansion of Townsville Hospitals neo-natal intensive care unit, while the LNP yesterday promised $18.9 million yesterday to rebuild the Townsville Mall.

On the Gold Coast, Labor announced it would spend an extra $3 million to build a new YoungCare facility for young people with disabilities, while the LNP agreed to back the Gold Coast's Rapid Transit light rail project.

In South East Queensland, Labor has pledged a $24.7 million plan to buy 200,000 solar hot water systems and sell them to householders for $500 each as a big hit for energy-conscious South East Queenslanders.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the $24.7 million cost over three years was affordable.

"It is a scheme that works directly in concert with the Federal Government's rebate scheme and the renewable energy certificate scheme," Mr Fraser said.

"By buying in bulk we can bring down the price and and that means, that together with the Federal Government's schemes - we can deliver the solar hot water at the guaranteed price of $500," he said.

He rejected criticism it was another scheme funded by Federal Government funds.

"I think people want to see governments working together to put the resources of two different governments together to deliver outcomes for households," he said.

"I don't think Queenslanders sit around debating the merits of different levels of government.

"I think they want to see what it means for them.

"And what it means for them is guaranteed access to solar hot water at a very, very low price."

In Brisbane, the LNP spoke of tackling traffic congestion, agreeing to contribute $260 million to the Gold Coast's Rapid Transit light rail project.

It also backed a Brisbane Rapid Bus Transit project ($93 million), underway by Brisbane City Council.

Meanwhile, the Queensland Resources Council, backed different sections of each major party's policy launch.

QRC CEO Michael Roche congratulated Anna Bligh on a $43.5 million Science Spark program to employ an extra 100 science teachers in primary schools.

He also backed the LNP's commitment to shake up the TAFE education sector.

Shadow Environment spokesman David Gibson said the LNP's environment proposals were not being reported.

Mr Gibson said the LNP would focus on "conservation triage" and would promote solar technology, questioning why the ALP did not back a change to a solar "gross feed-in policy" to boost the industry.

He also questioned the role of Greens MP Ronan Lee in protecting the Taveston Dam.

"The only endangered species Ronan Lee is interested in is Ronan Lee."
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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