MEAT AND GREET: At Saturday’s ALP barbecue, tug boat worker Andrew Baines chats with Annastacia Palaszczuk about the future of the Gladstone port.
MEAT AND GREET: At Saturday’s ALP barbecue, tug boat worker Andrew Baines chats with Annastacia Palaszczuk about the future of the Gladstone port. Mike Richards

Opposition leader reaffirms port’s importance

OPPOSITION Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk's second visit to Gladstone in the past fortnight was spent meeting locals concerned about the LNP's election plan to lease the Port of Gladstone.

Labor's plan was to not lease the port, she said, but deal with the state's debt by paying it down slowly, over a longer period.

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She made no new election commitments at the public barbecue held at the Gladstone Marina on Saturday, but spoke about Labor's commitments to health in the region.

Around 60 people attended the public meet and greet, offering their support ahead of the January 31 election.

A number of attendees spoke about their concerns and the importance of keeping the port.

Among those was Mark Charlton, a seaman of 24 years who works at Gladstone harbour.

"I am against the sale of the harbour because I am worried about unemployment on the local LNG ships," he said.

"My son is 19 and unemployed. He wants to work in the marine industry. It's all I'll ever do and it's all he wants to do."

Eleven-year old Hayden Pullen said he didn't know much about Labor, "but I do think Glenn should win".

"The LNP shouldn't sell our assets," he said.

Born and bred Gladstone woman Viv Pengelli agreed.

"Selling the port as an asset is a no-go," she said.

Michael Quirk told The Observer it was "important to retain the port and make sure we retain those services".

Ms Palaszczuk said over the next five years the Port of Gladstone would bring in more than $500 million.

"Once these assets are sold they are gone," she said. "Labor will not sell your assets and the LNP will.

"Gladstone Port must remain in local's hands. Once Campbell Newman sells them they will be gone forever."

Ms Palaszczuk said she was frequently stopped at the Gladstone airport by residents asking about the future of the port.

"The port belongs to Gladstone families," she said.

Labor's health focus, Ms Palaszczuk said, would be getting young people employed.

An ALP spokesperson said under Labor's nursing guarantee, 15 extra nurses would be allocated to the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, and they would then allocate nurses to Gladstone and Rockhampton hospitals based on need.

If voting today, who would you vote for in Gladstone?

This poll ended on 30 January 2015.

Current Results

Craig Tomsett, Greens

4%

Craig Butler, Independent

31%

Michael Duggan, LNP

14%

Glenn Butcher, ALP

49%

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



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