The proposed redistribution of the Capricornia electorate by the LNP has Michelle Landry taking more of Mackay.
The proposed redistribution of the Capricornia electorate by the LNP has Michelle Landry taking more of Mackay. Australian Electoral Commission

Landry enters 'ALP land' as Capricornia boundary change looms

MICHELLE Landry won the seat of a Capricornia at the last election by a whisker - just 1% - and now it looks as though her Liberal National Party is trying to give her more of Mackay's Labor voters to contend with at the next.

The LNP made the suggestion that Capricornia absorb some of Mackay's voters to make up the population shortfall as the Australian Electoral Commission carried out its seven-yearly redistribution.

But according to a top Labor member, it's just a ploy to get enough voters into the seat of Capricornia to allow the LNP to abandon residents in the mining town of Collinsville.

As the numbers sit, Capricornia is below the 103,203 quota, with 98,847, while Dawson is just over, with 103,910.

On this, the two parties agree. They both want to further divide Mackay and give voters in south Mackay, currently in the seat of Dawson, to Michelle Landry's Capricornia.

To adjust the numbers, the LNP proposes that Mackay voters around the airport, east of the City Gates and south of Bridge Rd to the coast be moved from Dawson to Capricornia.

This alone could cause trouble for Ms Landry as she won the July 2 election by just 1111 votes. In the 2016 election 56% of voters in this area preferred Labor.

But those numbers are ideal compared to the 60.3% preference the Labor party has in Collinsville, also part of Ms Landry's electorate, which the LNP is trying to offload.

Its rationale to the electoral commission was that, "Collinsville lacks community interest and is without established transport and communication with the division of Capricornia. It is proposed to be transferred to the division of Kennedy, aligning it with communities with similar inland characteristics."

ALP state branch secretary Evan Moorhead said Ms Landry should be fighting for Collinsville residents, not running away from them. "The LNP's submission abandons Collinsville," he said.

Ms Landry said those claims were "absolute rubbish" and she wasn't part of the team which put the redistribution submission together.

She denied the suggestion to drop Collinsville was because of the Labor voters in the mining town but was to 'gel' the electorates together. According to the Rockhampton-based MP, it takes at least eight hours to drive to Collinsville, a trip she makes a couple of times a year. "I was only up there a couple of weeks ago and it doesn't particularly bother me if I have to keep making trips up there," she said.

"(Capricornia) is a marginal seat and I just have to keep focussing on the issues that help people."

She said one thing that got her over the line in the 2016 election was her stance on coal. She believes it won votes in coal mining towns like Collinsville.

Former coal miner Kevin Jones was born in Collinsville and in a couple of months he will turn 80 there. He said he hadn't seen Ms Landry in the town since she was first elected in 2013.

"She came for the memorial day for the Collinsville Mine Disaster," he said. "She was good to talk to, she listened, they all listen but nothing ever happens."

Mr Jones said Collinsville was the town no politician wanted to represent.

"If, in two more years, we are still mining coal, it will be 100 years of mining coal in Collinsville," Mr Jones said. "You take a drive around this town and see what royalties have come back here... it's bloody disappointing I tell you."

The thought of being moved into Bob Katter's Kennedy electorate, which is the LNP's suggestion, wasn't all bad for Mr Jones who said Mr Katter looked after people in the bush.

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