ROADSIDE POLLING: Douglas Rodgers was busy getting his name out there to Rockhampton's commuters and testing the mood of the electorate.
ROADSIDE POLLING: Douglas Rodgers was busy getting his name out there to Rockhampton's commuters and testing the mood of the electorate. Contributed

ANALYSIS: All the Rocky candidates and their priorities

WITH the possibility of an election looming for Rockhampton residents, the candidates standing for most parties have been announced.

Campaigning is well under-way for the representatives vying for Rocky's vote so The Morning Bulletin have compiled the essential information on each confirmed candidate.

LABOR- Barry O'Rourke

Political rookie and father of two, Barry O'Rourke, has been chosen as Labor's new candidate for the seat of Rocky after political veteran Bill Byrne resigned.

The former CQ public housing boss beat Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow in the race to the seat by 11 votes yesterday after the party were forced to move quickly following Mr Byrne stepping down due to health reasons last month.

A dedicated community man, Mr O'Rourke lived on the Capricorn Coast with his wife Sue-Ann and family before moving closer to his work in the homeless housing sector in Rocky 14 years ago.

With both sons, James and Harry, educated locally Mr O'Rourke said his involvement in various community and school activities grew his love for the Beef Capital.

READ: Meet Labor's new Rocky candidate and his big issues for the region

Mr O'Rourke says his experience in the housing sector allowed him to network with people from all walks of life and he was humbled to lead the party in the upcoming election/

His dedication now lay in the improvement of the region working alongside both Bill Byrne and Cr Strelow.

 

Labour preselection candidate for the seat of Rockhampton, Barry O'Rourke.
Labour preselection candidate for the seat of Rockhampton, Barry O'Rourke. Chris Ison ROK171017cpreselectio

"The mayor will have no stronger partner than me to deliver South Rockhampton Flood Levee, which she has fought so hard for," he said.

Mr O'Rouke acknowledged the significant role Bill Byrne has played in the region since 2012 saying his "tireless work and tenacity" had not been an oversight.

"Bill fought, with everything he had, against the severe cuts by Campbell Newman and Tim Nicholls to staff and services in Rockhampton," he said. 

"Thanks to Bill and the commitment of our Premier and Health Minister Cameron Dick, Labor has employed an extra 120 nurses, 47 doctors, 23 allied health professionals and a further 67 non-clinical staff for the CQ HHS."

LNP- Douglas Rodgers

Announced as the LNP's candidate for Rockhampton back in March, Mr Rodgers prides himself on being a voice for the community.

He spent his childhood growing up on cattle and sheep stations near Barcaldine with a long family association to Rocky.

 

Douglas Rodgers, LNP candidate for Rockhampton.
Douglas Rodgers, LNP candidate for Rockhampton. Allan Reinikka ROK240317arodgers

In the 1990s, Douglas and his parents moved back to Rockhampton and into a home which has been owned by the Rodgers since 1909.

READ: LNP reveal young gun Rocky candidate

The biggest issues Mr Rodgers sees with the region is the lack of attention from government.

"There's a culture of change about and there's a lot of change in politics in general at the moment," he said in a previous interview with The Morning Bulletin in March.

"I think what all that comes down to is people at the ground level, I suppose for want of a better word the battlers, feeling like they're not being heard, they're not being listened to.

"That's something I hear a lot around Rocky."

 

Rugby Capricornia's foundation chairman Douglas Rodgers.
Rugby Capricornia's foundation chairman Douglas Rodgers. CONTRIBUTED

For Douglas, the most important element of running for Rockhampton is to get out and understand the changes people want to see from their political representatives.

He has recently been campaigning on Fitzroy St giving warm waves to motorists on the busy commute to work prior to the alleged announcement of an election.

READ: Roadside test results revealed what people think of Douglas

"I've been out 'Road-siding' in the mornings this week, getting out and in front of people as they drive to work," he said,

 

ROADSIDE POLLING: Douglas Rodgers was busy getting his name out there to Rockhampton's commuters and testing the mood of the electorate.
ROADSIDE POLLING: Douglas Rodgers was busy getting his name out there to Rockhampton's commuters and testing the mood of the electorate. Contributed

"I have been surprised just how positively I'm being received, lots of horn toots, stacks of waves, and hardly any rude gestures."

Mr Rodgers said there was disappointment with the lack of movement on Rookwood Weir despite it being a "no-brainer".  

"Rocky can't afford for their rego and power bills to continue to rise as they have in the last two years," he said.

"I'll continue putting CQ first."

ONE NATION- Wade Rothery

A FORMER Broncos player and coal miner has been announced as One Nation's candidate for the seat of Rockhampton.

 

Former rugby league player and now One Nation candidate Wade Rothery in Rockhampton today.
Former rugby league player and now One Nation candidate Wade Rothery in Rockhampton today. Steve Vit

Wade Rothery, a 40-year-old young father of four, was announced as the party's representative yesterday as speculation mounts an election is set to be called.

Graduating from North Rockhampton High School, Wade went on the play professional football with the Brisbane Broncos before moving to the Balmain Tigers.

He continued his footy career at the CQ Comets for 12 years.

Mr Rothery said now was the perfect time to stand for the party "putting people before politics".

 

Wade Rothery in his 2006 grand final.
Wade Rothery in his 2006 grand final. Brett Wortman

The Rocky man believes the "current mob" lacks focus on regional centres and places the views of locals second, which has led to a decline in jobs and business confidence.

"We have seen the two old parties become city-centric and as a result, the regional areas are losing the taxes and GST generated across Central Queensland to Brisbane," he said.

Mr Rothery said creating a third bridge for the Beef Capital would be on his agenda seeing the "ageing" Fitzroy Bridge opened in 1952.

After sighting a recent workplace injury, Wade said there was room for improvement in the medical system which he said forced patients to travel south for treatment.

New to politics, Wade said he was confident his local, sporting and mining ties would represent the Rocky region for the better.

 

Wade Rothery makes a break for the Beerwah Hinterland Bulldog's back in 2008.
Wade Rothery makes a break for the Beerwah Hinterland Bulldog's back in 2008. Michaela O'Neill

"I see positive growth for Rockhampton and neighbouring seat Keppel with the opening of Adani and the potential expansion of other mines in the Galilee Basin. We must have infrastructure, jobs and sensible planning for that growth," he said.

"I'm extremely proud to say One Nation was the first party to back the recent Black Lung Report recommendations in full, but extremely disappointed the Labor party haven't. That's like a body blow to blokes I work closely with underground and those in the open cut pits."

GREENS- TBA

Despite most candidates for Rockhampton being announced, the Greens party have been tight-lipped about who will stand up for the seat of Rocky.

Queensland Greens convenor Andrew Bartlett attended Capricornia Enterprise's Political Leaders Series last week in Rocky where he revealed there have been people identified in all 93 seats.

 

Greens senator Andrew Bartlett
Greens senator Andrew Bartlett Shayla Bulloch

He said those chosen would be announced when the election was eventually called.

"The Greens do have a strong chance of breaking through in as many as three seats in the state election coming up and if we're in the next state parliament, we can play a key role in getting some of those issues on the agenda," he said.

"Even though the seats we win might not be in Central Queensland, the fact that we'll be in the state parliament, we will give an extra avenue for people all around the state to be able to raise issues."

A Greens party spokesman said they would be campaigning on the need for greater investment in affordable housing, schools, hospitals, infrastructure and green spaces, rolling back Labor's privatisation of our electricity system so we can save people money on electricity bills, giving people more of a say in their neighbourhoods by rolling back the power of big developers, and getting corporate money out of politics.

INDEPENDENT- TBA

Businessman Domonic Doblo is still on the quest to find a new voice for the Independent party of Rockhampton.

 

Dominic Doblo pictured at his new business.
Dominic Doblo pictured at his new business. Allan Reinikka ROK280917adoblo1

As the political battle for Rockhampton stepped up this week, the CQ businessman fronts a group he says wants to invest $50,000 into the campaign for an independent candidate to contest the seat of Rockhampton at the next state election.

Mr Doblo said all the businessmen shared a concern for Rockhampton's future and wanted to stimulate the city's economy and if the right person fronted, they would get the group's full financial backing.

He says group he represents was frustrated at the lack of action for Rockhampton from the major political parties.

"We want something that is going to create long-term jobs," he said.

Mr Doblo said Rockhampton had been neglected for too long.

READ: Business group stumps up $50k for new candidate

"Now is the time, more than ever for an independent to be able to win Rockhampton," he said.

"If we can get an independent candidate over the line here, you will have a fair bargaining tool. My father always told me, if the workers got no money, nobody has got any money."

Mr Doblo shared his vision for the Beef Capital with concerns about major water storage on the Fitzroy River, calls for more infrastructure built in the city and his push for coal fired power stations to drop electricity prices.



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