How the LNP candidate plans to transform Gladstone
WITH 50 days until the state election, the LNP's Ron Harding held a meet the candidate night on Thursday evening.
Supporters gathered in a large room next to his Hanson Road CQ Tools premises to discuss issues leading up to the October 31 poll.
Renowned pianist Izak Labuschagne entertained those who gathered, playing and singing Australian and international music.
Mr Harding was seen talking to people throughout the room about his five-point plan for Gladstone, including health services, electricity, manufacturing, the Great Barrier Reef and jobs.
After being in business for 25 years, employing up to 50 locals across two businesses, Mr Harding said he had donated more than $1 million to local community groups and events.
He said he was passionate about the port city and ensuring Gladstone gets its fair share from the state coffers in Brisbane.
"After meeting with local doctors, I have been made aware how critical it is to get Gladstone Hospital upgraded from a level three to a level four facility," he said.
"Gladstone previously had level five specialists working in the city who have since left, so we need to get more doctors as qualified as they were, back here for the locals.
"By attracting those specialists, the people of Gladstone won't have to brave the Bruce Highway to go to Rockhampton or further for treatment."
Electricity drives Gladstone's manufacturing sector and Mr Harding said we needed to utilise the natural resources we have.
"Gladstone is often referred to as the manufacturing hub of Queensland and we must ensure cheaper power prices so this can continue and prosper," he said.
"Cheaper power prices will attract more industry to Gladstone, creating more jobs and wealth for the city, the state and the nation.
"This will allow us to train the next generation of apprentices, to ensure a secure employment future for the our children.
"We also need to harness the potential of the port for employment opportunities and the world's largest living organism on our doorstep that is the Great Barrier Reef.
"Tourism is a $200 million-a-year industry for Gladstone according to the GADPL and I believe we can increase this figure by providing more jobs across the sector."
What goes hand-in-hand with boosting tourism around the Great Barrier Reef is protecting this natural wonder of the world.
"Gladstone is home to the east coast's premier port and we need to develop its potential for the benefit of the city and all Australians," Mr Harding said.
"Combining a new container terminal with the inland rail system would see freight delivered to Sydney and Melbourne within 48 hours, while employing locals and boosting the economy.
"This is possible through meticulous planning, investment and construction, while ensuring the natural asset of the Great Barrier Reef is protected for future generations."