Candidates in the seat of Cairns recognise the need to give a wider berth to cruise liners in Trinity Inlet, but their opinions about getting on with the job are as divided as voters.
Dredging the inlet was among the most contentious topics raised by constituents yesterday when cairns.com.au hosted the third in a series of interactive live chats with candidates.
Despite most Cairns candidates agreeing the inlet needed to be dredged, Katter’s Australian Party candidate Darren Hunt criticised his Labor rival because the Bligh Government is yet to finish its report on the matter. "We could fill in the numbers if ALP didn’t take so long to get the report done," Mr Hunt told voters.
The ALP’s Kirsten Lesina insists money should not be promised until it is known whether bigger vessels would bring in enough cash to recoup the cost of dredging and maintenance.
Ms Lesina also wants to know where the contaminated spoils would be dumped after the dredging operation.
That information will come from the State Government report due for release soon, but the LNP has already committed $40 million to the project if elected.
Greens candidate Geoff Holland agreed no commitment should be made until the report was seen, while North Queensland Party candidate John Piva believes the channel should be dredged and the spill sold to farmers.
Candidates were also grilled on education and health, and Ms Lesina had to defend her employment record when constituent Tom Hedley questioned her suitability given her lack of experience in the private sector.
"The role of a councillor is a dual role; on one hand you are representing people but on the other you are part of what is essentially a board of directors for a $330 million business," Ms Lesina, a former councillor, said.
"In fact it is the job that is closest to being a State Member, meaning I have more experience representing people than any of my opponents."
The LNP candidate Gavin King did not participate in the live chat because of a prior commitment.