Whitsundays councillor to shake up state election race
A Whitsunday councillor with a long history in politics, and who is outspoken in his support for the mining industry, is primed to shake up the race for the Burdekin in the October state election.
Former coal miner, Bowen and Whitsunday mayor Mike Brunker and now Labor candidate will be a "strong voice for the Burdekin" at the election on October 31, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
This will not be his first tilt at a state election, taking on Liberal National Party member Dale Last at the 2017 election.
He secured more first preference votes than Mr Last, but lost in the two-party preferred result by 467 votes.
In 2010, he ran for the federal seat of Dawson.
Ms Palaszczuk said "local champions" like Mr Brunker would be able to deliver the state government's coronavirus economic recovery plan, support businesses and restore jobs.
"Economies around the world have been impacted by the global coronavirus pandemic. Australia is not immune. Queensland is not immune," Mr Brunker said.
"We're continuing to manage the health response, and Queensland's plan for economic recovery is well underway. That means we're supporting local businesses and local jobs."
Mr Brunker said he was proud to be part of a team that was backing the state's recovery from the pandemic.
"The Palaszczuk Government's nation-leading health response has kept Queenslanders safe and healthy, and put our state in the best possible position for economic recovery," Mr Brunker said.
"I will work alongside our Burdekin community to reinvigorate local businesses and get Queenslanders back to work."
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said Mr Brunker would hit the ground running for regional Queensland if elected by fast-tracking infrastructure projects to keep Queenslanders working and connected.
"Labor has always invested in health infrastructure but now it is more important than ever," Mr Miles said. "Building better hospitals strengthens our world-class free public health system and creates jobs.
"I know Mike will be a strong advocate for health services in Townsville."
Mr Brunker has been critical in the past of the party's approach to the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine project, warning them ahead of the federal election that if they turned their backs on Adani, they would lose votes in North Queensland.
Mr Brunker will not be required to resign from his position as Whitsunday Regional Council Division 6 councillor during the race.
Originally published as Labor man to take on Last's seat Brunker