Landry: Neaton trying to score political points on Shoalwater

Capricornia ALP candidate Leisa Neaton
Capricornia ALP candidate Leisa Neaton Allan Reinikka ROK10061616aneato

4.50pm: CAPRICORNIA MP Michelle Landry has hit back at comments by her opponent about the handling of the compulsory land acquisition issue, saying the ALP grandstanded the whole time.

The ALP candidate Leisa Neaton made comments after a political expert said Ms Landry would have lost the seat in the 2016 election if the compulsory acquisitions were public knowledge before the election.

Ms Neaton said Ms Landry had handed the LNP government.

"It seems to me she had a powerful lever at her disposal, which could have brought an end to the suffering of the people impacted on by the Shoalwater Bay proposal, but she did not use it," Ms Neaton said.

"She could have threatened to resign from the Parliament if compulsory land acquisitions weren't taken off the table."

Meanwhile, Ms Landry, who is in Canberra this week, said Ms Neaton was trying to score political points.

"I scored an outcome for the community," she said.

"No land owner will be forced to sell their property - because I fought for the farmers of Capricornia and took their concerns directly to the Prime Minister.

"While Labor were politically grandstanding I was meeting with the Prime Minister and arguing the case for my constituents. I took this matter to the highest office in the land and got the desired outcome for the community.

"The Prime Minister listened to my concerns, as well as those of the Deputy Prime Minister, and acted decisively - and as a result, nobody will be forced to sell their property."

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Ms Landry said the $2.25 billion investment in Queensland ($1 billion near Rockhampton) will put more money in the pockets of business and residents in the community and it will give small businesses an unprecedented opportunity to increase their profits and create more jobs for the people of Capricornia.

"I am focussed on what we promised at the federal election - and what the Labor candidate failed to match - my $330 million jobs, growth and water plan for Capricornia," she said.

"That includes a continued push for Rookwood Weir which so far only the Coalition has backed with $132 million; I look forward to the development of Rockhampton's hospital car park (which Labor's candidate failed to back in the federal election); $14 million in sports and recreation facilities - including at Emu Park, Mt Archer and the Rockhampton Hockey Club as well as a new Mackay Sports precinct at CQUniversity in Ooralea; a $30 million Bowen Basin jobs and investment package and over $230 million in local road projects."

11am: THE marginal seat of Capricornia left its sitting member in a very powerful position in Canberra which she failed to use for Shoalwater farmers, the opposition says.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry's main opponent from the 2016 Federal Election - ALP's Leisa Neaton - has criticised Ms Landry's handling of the compulsory land acquisition part of the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area expansion.

"It was said when the outcome for the seat of Capricornia was known after the election, that Michelle Landry had handed the LNP government," Ms Neaton said.

"It seems to me she had a powerful lever at her disposal, which could have brought an end to the suffering of the people impacted on by the Shoalwater Bay proposal, but she did not use it.

"She could have threatened to resign from the Parliament if compulsory land acquisitions weren't taken off the table."

Ms Neaton's comments come after Queensland Universirty of Technology's Professor Clive Bean - an expert in voting behaviour and elections - talked about the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area expansion's role in voting behaviour in the 2016 election.

Mr Bean yesterday said had the compulsory land acquisitions been public knowledge prior to the July 2, Ms Landry would not have retained the very marginal seat.

Read the full story here: SHOALWATER: Expert says Landry should have lost Capricornia

And for once, Ms Neaton has agreed with Ms Landry. But it is only about one point - no one can really know why people voted the way they did in the marginal seat of Capricornia in the 2016 election.

"I agree with Michelle Landry that we cannot discern why people voted the way they did, nor make generalisations," Ms Neaton said.

However, that was the only part of Ms Landry's reaction to Prof Bean's analysis that Ms Neaton agreed with.

"She states she has made it a very tight seat. If she wants to take the credit for that status, she's welcome to do so," Ms Neaton said.

She went on to react to the developments in the past year in relation to the compulsory land acquisition for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"As the person who stood against Michelle in the July 2 election I am embarrassed, personally and politically, that I did not ask more questions about the expansion of the Shoalwater Bay Military Training area," Ms Neaton said.

She said she never believed compulsory land acquisitions were part of the deal.

"My mind did not comprehend that a National Party Member would ever contemplate the mindless handover of prime agricultural land for 'war games', particularly with this land's proximity to the Beef Capital of Rockhampton, and the deep connections we know these families have with their land," Ms Neaton said.   

"I also never believed that a sitting National Party Member would go against her constituents, without offering any form of resistance."

Ms Neaton, who attended the public meeting in Marlborough on January 9, hit out at Ms Landry's absence on the day.

"Michelle's failure to turn up at the rally or the community meeting is regrettable," she said.

"I'd like to believe in my heart that she wanted to turn up to support our farmers and businesses but that she didn't know how to stand against her government on this issue."

Ms Landry was in London at the time of the meeting visiting her daughter. When the meeting was first set, she was due back in Rockhampton in time to attend, however, the meeting was pushed forward to January 9 and she was unable to change her holiday plans.

Ms Neaton went on to praise the work the landholders and business owners impacted by the compulsory acquisitions, along with a number of ALP politicians and councillors from the area in fighting to get the compulsory component scrapped.

"It is thanks to the proactive citizens of Marlborough in particular, and a number of Senators, MPs and Councillors, as well as the support of our community, that the people of Marlborough, Stanage Bay and Ogmore can sleep without the looming threat of compulsory land acquisitions.," she said.

"The three Labor MPs Brittany Lauga, Minister Bill Byrne and MP Jim Pearce were unwaivering in their support for these people.

"I can only say that if I had been successful in my bid to become the Member for Capricornia, I would have shown the same courage, and stood with constituents and State Members to oppose compulsory acquisitions."  

Topics:  federal election 2016 leisa neaton michelle landry mp shoalwater bay expansion shoalwater bay military training area

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