Craig Butler to stand as independent for Gladstone

Video: Candidate to focus on jobs, port and funding

FORMER Gladstone councillor Craig Butler has announced his intention to run as an independent to replace Liz Cunningham in the January 31 election.

Mr Butler contested the Gladstone mayoral election in 2012.

>> Video: Decision not to run 'extremely hard'

>> Gladstone seat now back in play, expert says

Mr Butler and Mrs Cunningham held a press conference on Wednesday to announce the news.

The newly-minted candidate said if elected, he would focus on four main needs for the Gladstone region - creating more jobs, protecting the Gladstone port from being sold or leased, improvements to the Gladstone Hospital and obtaining more funding. 

Roads and the Gladstone State Development Area are also high on his agenda.

Outgoing Gladstone independent MP Liz Cunningham announces that former councillor Craig Butler will be an independent candidate for Gladstone in the January 31 state election.
Outgoing Gladstone independent MP Liz Cunningham announces that former councillor Craig Butler will be an independent candidate for Gladstone in the January 31 state election. Paul Braven

"It's a key piece of infrastructure and a key piece of the puzzle to driving this region forward," Mr Butler said.

"We need to develop the state development area in conjunction with the port, in conjunction with road corridors to make sure that jobs are created in this region for the long term.

"Jobs I'm talking about are for the diversity of industry. We need to get away from but focus on different industries apart from the LNG industries, coal, alumina, aluminium. We need to diversify."

Mr Butler has lived in Gladstone his whole life, and his family roots in Gladstone extend back more than 100 years.

"I believe there is a great future in the Gladstone region for jobs," he said.

"We just have to be strategic about how we do things in this area and focus on the bigger picture, the 10-15 year vision for our region."

Mr Butler had 15 years experience in local government and held the positions of deputy mayor in the former Calliope Shire Council.

He was a councillor for Calliope Shire and Gladstone Regional Council.

Mr Butler is an engineering and mining surveyor with experience in the development, mining and construction sectors.

Current Gladstone MP Liz Cunningham on Tuesday announced she wouldn't be running in the election, but she believes Gladstone still needs a strong independent candidate.

Mrs Cunningham encouraged Gladstone residents to continue their support for the independents.

"Consider who can best represent you, who can speak for you and who won't be bound by party solidarity.

"Pick someone who has a proven community involvement and someone who can speak freely for you," she said.

Mr Butler will take on Labor candidate Glenn Butcher.

What do you see as the main election issues in Gladstone?

This poll ended on 30 January 2015.

Current Results

Lease of Gladstone port

27%

Cost of living

24%

Gladstone Hospital

23%

Getting funding from Royalties for Regions

20%

Other

3%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The LNP is yet to announce a candidate. The Greens have said they are "highly likely" to run a candidate.

Mr Butcher contested the last state election in 2012, winning 29.2% of the vote to Mrs Cunningham's 49%, followed by the LNP candidate Russell Schroter on 10.9%.

After preferences, Mrs Cunningham had 64% of the vote to Mr Butcher's 36%.



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