Meet the Candidates: Gladstone seniors feeling left out
YARALLA Sports Club hosted a Meet the Candidates for Gladstone event yesterday organised by a group which has felt abandoned during the election cycle.
More than 120 people from the Gladstone branch of the National Seniors Association attended to listen to MP Glenn Butcher and LNP challenger Chay Conaglen speak on issues facing the local community.
Fellow Gladstone candidates, the Greens' Peta Baker and One Nation's Amy Lohse were invited but did not respond to the NSA.
After winning a coin toss and speaking first, Mr Conaglen pressed home the issue of the rising cost of electricity, taking a swipe at the ALP's 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.
Mr Conaglen and Mr Butcher both used the example of seniors having to contemplate turning off their airconditioners during a hot summer day in an effort to combat rising power bills.
The candidates were offered 10 minutes of speaking time before taking questions.
Mr Conaglen spoke for seven minutes with Mr Butcher speaking for just over 10 minutes.
Arthur Timms asked the candidates what their party has offered in election promises or benefits to seniors.
"I've only heard two small snippets here today about old people or seniors," Mr Timms said.
"Every policy speech I hear there's very little that comes out about what's been promised for seniors.
"In this town a lot of focus is on industry, but when you come to think of it, the aged people are an industry.
"We put a lot of money in to the town; spend money on ourselves and our families. They've left town and are still leaving."
Both candidates agreed more needed to be done in aged care in Gladstone.
Roy Jones asked about the future of electricity, raising the option of nuclear power.
Mr Butcher cited various nuclear incidents around the world which had all levels of government "stand offish" on the idea, but acknowledged technology had changed since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
Mr Conaglen said there was "a long way to go with nuclear", called Labor's renewable energy target "ridiculous" and said "coal power is the way".
The audience became animated when Cynthia Davies raised the issue of unsolicited telemarketing calls.
"This is harassment - I want something done about it," Ms Davies said, to applause from the audience.
Mr Conaglen said he was happy to look into it, while Mr Butcher suggested signing up to the Do Not Call Register, although he admitted he had done that himself and was still receiving unwanted calls from telemarketers.