Dominic Doblo says a group of businessman wants to see an independent run for the seat of Capricornia.
Dominic Doblo says a group of businessman wants to see an independent run for the seat of Capricornia. Trinette Stevens

Business group stumps up $50K for Rocky candidate

CONTROVERSIAL businessman Dominic Doblo is on a quest to find a new voice for Rockhampton.

The CQ businessman fronts a business 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.

His move comes as the political battle for Rockhampton stepped up a notch this week even though Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is yet to call an election.

CHOSEN ONE: Barry O'Rourke will run for pre-selection for the seat of Rockhampton against Mayor Margaret Strelow.
CHOSEN ONE: Barry O'Rourke will run for pre-selection for the seat of Rockhampton against Mayor Margaret Strelow. Contributed

Voting stops at the close of business today for Labor branch members as Mayor Margaret Strelow and CQ housing boss Barry O'Rourke vie for the right to replace the outgoing Bill Byrne.

 

Rockhampton region mayor Margaret Strelow is running against Barry O'Rourke for pre-selection for the seat of Rockhampton.
Rockhampton region mayor Margaret Strelow is running against Barry O'Rourke for pre-selection for the seat of Rockhampton. Chris Ison ROK111017cadani1

Meanwhile, the LNP's Douglas Rodgers stepped up his campaign with a highly visible roadside push, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said her party would soon unveil a former NRL star with the Brisbane Broncos as its candidate and The Greens said it would name its representative as soon as the election was called.

Mr Doblo though said the group he represented was frustrated at the lack of action for Rockhampton from the major political parties.

LNP candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers.
LNP candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers. Contributed

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

Mr Doblo said Rockhampton had been neglected for too long.

"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."

LABOR STRONG HOLD: This graph shows how many years Labor has been a force within the Rocky political scene.
LABOR STRONG HOLD: This graph shows how many years Labor has been a force within the Rocky political scene. Contributed

Mr Doblo shared his vision for the Beef Capital.

"Our group is definitely concerned about major water storage on the Fitzroy River to create an international agricultural food bowl," he said.

"We want coal-fired power so people can afford to pay for electricity and we want Rockhampton to be the agricultural capital of Australia."

He called for more infrastructure projects to be committed to the city.

"We have had no major infrastructure built in the city since (former Mayor) Rex Pilbeam built the barrage or when the new bridge went over the river in 1981...it is an utter disgrace," he said.

Political expert, University of Queensland lecturer and researcher Dr Chris Salisbury said the entry of the independent candidates into the race would "throw a cat among the pigeons" but he didn't expect it would change the final result.

He said the seat of Rockhampton was traditionally a Labor stronghold and they currently held a sizeable margin after the last election.

"As long as Labor doesn't shoot themselves in the foot with a messy pre-selection battle to decide on a candidate," Mr Salisbury said.

"If they can promptly resolve that, I would expect that they would be favourites to hold on."



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