Meet your candidates: Nicklin

IT'S time to meet your candidates for the seat of Nicklin 



JULIE Doolan is without a doubt the election candidate most qualified to tell her rivals to take a hike.

In fact she's written a book about it.

The Greens Nicklin candidate's great-grandparents were early North Coast settlers, farming on what is now known as Doolan Rd, Nambour. She was born, grew up in the town and now lives there.

But she had a stint, which she wasn't looking forward to, when she lived in Brisbane. What was anticipated as likely to be one of the less pleasant segments of her life was saved by a book.

Every weekend she and her sister, guided by Great Brisbane Walks, would set out to discover new suburbs, paths and parklands, connecting them to the city's environment and hidden secrets.

Ms Doolan returned to Nambour with a passion to replicate the formula in a book about her own region.

So, with the help of an incredibly talented illustrator brother-in-law, Know Where to Walk was born.

It also set her on another, unanticipated path.

The guide to more than 40 suburban walks across the Sunshine Coast was an instant hit, sold out and left Ms Doolan with a supply problem after the local printer who did such a fantastic job on the project went out of business.

But that was after she set up a stall to promote it at the Big Pineapple. Next to her was another stall Transition Town, which was promoting the shift from a carbon-based economy.

That connection brought her into The Greens and has led ultimately to her standing as a candidate on January 31.

The two stalls were a perfectly compatible fit. Know Where to Walk's great strength is that it links pathways creating circuits all of which can be reached by public transport.

It's why in the rush to commercialise national parks, she says some thought should be given to providing public transport links for people accessing the Sunshine Coast hinterland's Great Walk which is a logistical nightmare requiring at least two vehicles - one to take you to the set off point and another back to where you started.

Caught out with her husband last week after walking from Mapleton to Flaxton they then had to find their way back in the rain along the footpath-free range road.

The use of public transport is close to Ms Doolan's heart. It is just one area of modern life that needs greater focus in what she sees as an inevitable shift to a more sustainable way of living.

It is the reason she applauds the LNP commitment to extending the rail duplication to Landsborough, although she is no fan of the funding source.

Money was also needed to fund research into and implementation of renewable energy sources.

"Carbon-based economies are archaic,'' Ms Doolan said. "Internationally

financial advisers are warning coal is not the way of the future.''

That, she says, is an issue of some concern given most of her 16-year-old son's mates see their futures in the mines.

What she isn't pessimistic about is the future of her home town.

"I'm feeling really positive about Nambour as a business hub,'' she said.

"I love where it's heading.

"It's finding an identity again and I'm excited about that."





PETER Wellington claims one of the first acts of the Newman Government after its landslide victory in 2012 was to cut funding for a disability access at Nambour Rail Station.

The matter rankles to this day. He sees it as typical of what he calls the vindictiveness the LNP has displayed in the last parliament.

Mr Wellington is convinced the historic numbers standing in queues waiting to enrol before the close of voter registration was a sign that they wanted a voice and were angry.

He said his electoral office phones had rung hot with people wanting to vote.

"The LNP spent $300,000 plus at the last election to beat me and when that failed they took it out on those who had voted for me," Mr Wellington alleged.

He enters his seventh campaign for the seat of Nicklin against a field of political novices after seeing off big-spending LNP candidate John Connolly three years ago.

Mr Wellington has been involved in a running battle ever since with the LNP in parliament.

And in recent months he's been engaged in a social media assault on a government he sees as arrogant and ignorant of many of the principles that underpin our democracy.

"I normally get at least 100 written responses to messages I send on an issue," Mr Wellington said.

"History shows this government is vindictive to anyone who speaks out. How often do we hear Coast MPs speak with anything but the same words?"

He said the government had "abused the trust and confidence Queenslanders placed in them three years ago".

"They've walked away from core principles of governance," Mr Wellington said.

"The removal of people's rights; failure to understand the separation of powers; sacking the PCMC, parliament's most powerful committee simply because it didn't like criticism of its appointed chairman - something that's still unresolved - and the circumstances of the Chief Magistrate's appointment."

He said he was driven by the same passion for community that saw him first engage in politics at Maroochy Shire Council where he served two terms.

Mr Wellington and his wife Jenny still filled a regular slot delivering Meals on Wheels, something they had done for the past 25 years.

"I was a solicitor during the day and into the community at night," he said of his days before politics.

"Then I ran for council and the rest is history. Without community I wouldn't be here.

"Bullies need to be brought into line. There is a need for people to stand up for little people. I don't get it right all the time, but I'm trying to do the right thing and people know that."

Mr Wellington dismissed LNP claims he was soft on bikies, saying he treated everyone as he found them.

He said government needed to also get tough on white collar crime, arguing that events like the Walton Construction collapse which cost

Coast subbies their homes could be stopped at the stroke of a pen.

Mr Wellington said no-one else could juggle money from one entity to another but it happened every day in the building and construction industry.

"Law and order is not just about tatts and bikes."





WHAT motivates a young man of 33, with five children at home and an expanding dairy farm to manage, to pursue a political career in arguably one of the toughest Sunshine Coast seats to crack?

Matt Trace, the LNP candidate for Nicklin, was born in Cooroy and grew up on the family dairy farm at Kenilworth.

His politics were always going to be conservative but it was Labor's Traveston Dam debacle that truly politicised him.

"It was clear political games were being played,'' he said.

"So many people felt upset and victimised. We need water security for our cities but everyone knew the site. It was basically an open sand mine going down 40m.

"Like many I though Bligh would have walked away from it when she became premier.

"When she didn't we were horrified.''

Mr Trace, now the chairman of the Gympie branch of the Queensland Dairy Organisation and a director of Premium Milk Pty Ltd, the body that negotiates prices and supply conditions for farmers supplying Parmalat, finished the last two senior years of his education at Maleny High School.

He had ambitions to attend university and then return to dairying on the family farm. Deregulation of the industry changed that. His parents were struggling and he wanted to help.

The Traveston Dam plan saw the farm sold to the government but the family kept control through a long-term lease arrangement. Mr Trace was also able to absorb the next door neighbour's property through a commercial tender after it too was sold to the government.

He and his wife Michelle were well on the way to their second child by the time he turned 21 and there are ambitions for a daughter to join the five boys.

"After three they become a bit of a mob and help each other out,'' Mr Trace said.

He worked on John Connolly's Nicklin campaign three years ago and is well aware of the differences in funding and profile but is not deterred by them.

"In Nicklin I think we can do better with a voice in government. I'm a big believer in the party system.

"I really think Nicklin needs a strong voice at the table, not outside the room. I intend to be that voice but election day will determine how I've been received.

"When you look at Nicklin and know the towns as well as I do you see so many young people leave for employment opportunities.

"We are close to state average in every demographics except the 20- to 30-year-olds.

" There are jobs here but not enough, particularly professionally and trade-qualified jobs.''

Asked why the Coast's plethora of state and federal members has not delivered better outcomes he said the LNP was starting to deliver.

"The budget has been repaired and services improved. The dual rail line is to Landsborough and I would love to see it go to Nambour. It's a big commitment and a start.''

Mr Trace said the LNP's fall from favour with voters compared with three years ago has been an issue of style with the electorate more familiar with what he described as the Bligh/Beattie concentration of style over policy substance.





LABOR'S Nicklin candidate Justin Raethel is unlike some of the fly-in, fly out representatives the party has parachuted into Sunshine Coast electorates in the past to make up the numbers.

The 35-year-old lives and works in Nambour in the heart of the electorate and has a firm grasp on reality.

He knows the LNP in 2012 could not dislodge the vice-like grip independent Peter Wellington has had on the seat now for the past seven election cycles despite a big-spending campaign and a high-profile candidate.

Mr Raethel, who runs IT systems at a Nambour high school, says that at some point the opportunity would arise to beat the incumbent.

As for now he says they share a desire for the seat not to go to the LNP.

"I believe a lot of Labor supporters vote for Peter Wellington,'' he said.

"I'm here to show people I have a head on my shoulders and am a reliable candidate. I intend to run again.''

Mr Raethel returned home in 2001 after living and studying in California. He had an Australian flag but no political convictions.

"Mum asked if I supported John Howard,'' he said.

"I didn't know who he was so I checked him out and realised I didn't. My ideals aligned with Labor so I joined up."

Even then his engagement did not extend beyond attending an occasional party meeting and handing out how-to-vote cards on election day.

Campbell Newman changed that.

Motivated by what he saw as the LNP Premier's arrogance, Mr Raethel said he joined a Labor Party branch and began becoming really involved.

"This one's the first where I've got really involved,'' he said. "I began getting really serious a year ago. The question was where - locally or in Brisbane? I live here and would like to take some responsibility."

Mr Raethel understands the grind of commuting to the city to work. He did it until two years ago and said the long hours staring at the back of someone else's head could be avoided if there were a greater focus on local jobs, buying local and local industry.

He said Labor's $40 million Business Development fund would help small businesses expand.

"There is a big gap here in angel investment (compared with) the US,'' Mr Raethel said. "That's an area where government can help. It can also ensure there is a good supply of skilled workers through well-funded TAFEs, schools and universities. Keeping people healthy also improves productivity.''

Key issues for his campaign are public servant job cuts, the impact of asset sales on job security and what happens to LNP promises if the sales fail to find a buyer at the price being sought.

"I wonder why there is surprise that the economy is not doing well when the LNP fired so many people,'' he said.

"That was a huge hit to the economy. If asset sales go ahead more people will lose jobs, see wages cut and benefits lost.

"Campbell Newman says asset sales won't go ahead if he can't get a fair price. What projects go then? Hey presto, there'll be no rail funding.''

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