GLADSTONE voters will have a "clear choice" rather than a "strong choice" at the next election, according to local Labor candidate Glenn Butcher, after the State Government was slammed by the services union for sticking to its guns on asset sales.
Acting Treasurer Scott Emerson gave a "like it or lump it" response to a petition that generated more than 1000 signatures rejecting plans to privatise Gladstone Ports Corporation.
The petition, tabled in Parliament by Labor Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, called on the Newman government to reject plans to lease the Port of Gladstone.
However in his response, Acting Treasurer Scott Emerson made it clear the government would maintain its plans to privatise the port.
But he maintained the state would ultimately chose, with the LNP heading to the election with asset sales a major choice.
Labor candidate Glenn Butcher agreed that Gladstone people had a choice.
"The vote for any other party is the vote to keep Campbell Newman in government which is a vote to sell the ports," he said.
"You need to vote for Labor to stop the sale."
Mr Butcher said the impact on the community would be massive.
"The people who work for the port, the money they've put into this community over 40 years, and the facilities they provide staff to maintain - the marina, Spinnaker Park, Harbour Fest - all that is maintained and supplied by the GPC which is under threat," he said.
Services Union secretary Neil Henderson said privatisation would have dire consequences for the local community, as seen when the Port of Brisbane was privatised.
"The ports are one of the biggest employers in central Queensland, providing reliable, secure income to hundreds of families in the region," he said.
Mr Emerson said the feedback received was clear, with 46% of respondents "mostly choosing the sale or lease of assets".
"Not everyone will agree with every part of our plan, but there is strong agreement that we need secure finances to pay for things to support our growing population, like schools, hospital upgrades and highways."
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