By ALENA HIGGINS
THE Southern Downs might be known as one of the safest conservative seats in Queensland, but that hasn’t stopped two passionate progressives from throwing their hats into the state election ring.
Early on it looked like a one-horse race, but current member Lawrence Springborg will have some competition come 31 January.
Former Stanthorpe local Louise Ryan has recently been named as the Labor candidate for the Southern Downs, while Warwick’s Elizabeth Ure was officially announced as the Greens representative on Tuesday.
Ms Ryan admitted it would be a David and Goliath contest against a well-resourced LNP campaign, but insisted she was up for the challenge.
“I’ve heard first-hand from many friends and family how badly the LNP’s mismanagement and savage cuts have affected the quality of health services and education in the Southern Downs, so I put up my hand to give people an alternative and to say ’that it doesn’t have to be this way’,” Ms Ryan said.
“The LNP’s planned fire sale of Queenslanders’ assets will mean an enormous loss of revenue for the state finances, so we can expect to see more and more cuts to frontline services over the next years if Campbell Newman is successful at this election. The Southern Downs can’t afford another three years of this government.”
If elected, Ms Ryan said she would focus on a positive agenda for community building.
This includes taking the threat of looming unemployment off local families and providing jobs and job security as well as better health services and local infrastructure.
Ms Ure, on the other hand, plans to present policies that reflect her passion for the environment and living standards of the electorate.
“I firmly believe in the principle that every individual can make a difference to our future,“ Ms Ure said.
“A vote for me as a Greens candidate is a vote for the protection of the Southern Downs and its people, and I will never take that vote for granted.”
The determined and well-known social campaigner listed a number of concerns she wished to address, including declining healthcare services and employment opportunities, as well as water quality and availability.
Tackling the intrusions of unrestricted mining and CSG against the wishes of local residents and preparing the community for climate change also sit high on her political agenda.
“I invite all voters to visit my website www.greensforsoutherndowns.com.au and make comments to help me better understand the particular needs of our electorate,” Ms Ure said.
Ms Ryan will launch her campaign on Sunday with a barbecue at her childhood home at 632 Eukey Road at 2pm.
Mr Springborg will be invited to outline his policies in next week’s Free Times.