One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is seen after popping a bottle of champagne before boarding the One Nation 'Battler Bus' in Brisbane. Hanson will conduct a regional tour of the state speaking to residents about the major issues for them leading into the Queensland election campaign.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is seen after popping a bottle of champagne before boarding the One Nation 'Battler Bus' in Brisbane. Hanson will conduct a regional tour of the state speaking to residents about the major issues for them leading into the Queensland election campaign. DAVE HUNT

Hanson's 'Battler Bus' wants to hear from CQ locals

SEEING One Nation's 'Battler Bus' roll through Rockhampton today will be a sight for sore eyes for struggling and disillusioned CQ residents and dyed-in-the-wool party supporters.

Standing at the helm of the 'Battler Bus' on its regional listening tour of Queensland's east coast is polarising figure and party leader Senator Pauline Hanson who has lent her star power to Queensland One Nation leader Stephen Dickson's campaign.

The resurgent One Nation party has an estimated 18 per cent support currently throughout Queensland and are on the verge of mirroring their achievements from two decades ago when they captured 11 seats and secured a quarter of the primary vote in Rockhampton.

After spending last night in Gladstone, Ms Hanson said she couldn't wait to get to CQ to speak with her local candidates, Rockhampton's Wade Rothery and Keppel's Matt Loth, to get an understanding of the important issues for their electorates.

"It's been absolutely fantastic, we've had so much support along the way, people are really enthused about voting for One Nation this election," Ms Hanson said.

"I've been to Rocky quite a few times in the past, we're going to meet up with our candidate Wade Rothery there and he's actually going to talk with us about the issues that are there.

"He has already run some of them past me what he'd like to actually do and I'm going to be guided by Wade."

Ms Hanson said the man he'd entrusted to win the seat of Rockhampton had a lot of good ideas for the region including allocating $130m for the construction of the Rookwood Weir.

Keppel One Nation candidate Matt Loth said he was expecting the 'Battler Bus' at Yeppoon around 9 to 9:30am today.

"My support has been growing exponentially throughout this campaign, but over the past week and a half it is becoming increasingly noticeable," Mr Loth said.  

"The word I keep hearing is lack of employment opportunities, boat ramps and GKI. A lot of constituents in this region see this as the " this is it election " they have lost faith in the two tired old parties.

"We have just over two weeks left until election day you'll never know what exciting thing we will announce coming up to the day." 

Ms Hanson said she had been talking with Great Keppel Island Resort developer Terry Agnew

"He's been trying for 12 years to get that resort going," she said.

"He's got our full support and if we get the balance of power, we'll get him the (boutique gaming) licence that he needs and once he has that, he'll be able to go ahead with that development which is much needed in the area.

"Especially for Rockhampton and Yeppoon, because of the 1500 jobs it will create."

With the potential for international visitors to a GKI resort, Ms Hanson believes Rockhampton airport would need to be flood-proofed.

Another initiative Ms Hanson had earmarked was an apprenticeship scheme that would see employers paid a subsidy to put on apprentices and trade colleges opened to increase the numbers of apprentices which subsequently reduce youth unemployment and decrease the country's reliance on skilled migrant labour.

The number of small business closures in Rockhampton has not been lost on Ms Hanson and she attributed it to the rising cost of power.

"The biggest cost of power to the consumer is going into poles and wires, 49 per cent of the bill goes towards it," Ms Hanson said.

"Queenslanders already own the poles and wires, and they are paying 7.4 per cent interest on their infrastructure - they should not be paying half their electricity bill to these companies for their infrastructure, year in, year out.

"The Queensland Government who own it, they've pulled in $1.466 billion into government's coffers and because of this we're actually shutting down a lot of industries and my concern is that we're going to lose the aluminium smelter at Boyne Island because they've cut back 14 per cent because of electricity costs."

She planned to drop power bills by 20 per cent by stopping this from occurring.

Ms Hanson also planned to scrap the Queensland Government's 50 per cent renewables target and to build a coal-fired power station in North Queensland.

When asked about Rockhampton's former Mayor Margaret Strelow defecting from the Labor Party to run as an Independent, Ms Hanson regarded the move with suspicion.

"I think she's still wearing the Labor's colours, she wanted to be the Labor candidate, she didn't get it, so she's Labor through and through," she said.

"Labor is going to be running two candidates in Rockhampton."



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