Latter cites key issues for Mirani
WHY stand outside the tent trying to get attention when you can be inside talking to the people in charge?
After almost a decade working as Canegrowers Mackay CEO, Kerry Latter decided it was time to aim to get inside the tent by running as the LNP candidate for Mirani.
The large electorate stretches from the outer suburbs of Mackay south to parts of Gladstone and takes in several small coastal towns and northern suburbs of Rockhampton.
Mr Latter has spent the campaign wearing down the tyre tread, but said he wants to understand the issues at the heart of the community he could be representing if the ballot falls his way on the weekend.
Mr Latter has served in the Royal Australian Air Force, a career that's equipped him with "self-discipline and a sense of duty and commitment to the work".
Following his time in the RAAF, Mr Latter studied commerce part-time and entered the building society sector.
Mr Latter and wife Toni are also part-owners of a small business, giving him a good understanding of the challenges facing other owners in regional Queensland.
"It's really that practical, non-political experience I hope to bring to the table," he said.
During his travels around Mirani, Mr Latter said he had heard three recurring issues which were high priorities for the community.
Adani's Carmichael coal mine and the opening up of the Galilee Basin is something he believes is crucial to addressing the deep need for jobs and job security in the region.
Crime is another issue MrLatter said had been raised with him by many, including an elderly couple whose car was stolen and torched, and their house burgled.
"They're petrified now," he said.
Mr Latter said he had also observed plenty of vehicle-related crimes, including car and number plate thefts, in his role at the service station he part-owns.
He said cost of living, particularly power prices, was the last major issue consistently raised by the community.
"We need to see we not only talk about it, but actually have policy which drives prices down," MrLatter said.
"There's no sense getting $50 a year (as a rebate) if your power still goes up by 10 per cent.
"And in some forms of agricultural tariff for instance, power in the last 10 years has gone up by 130 per cent.
"So you try to factor that into running your business and it's very, very difficult.
"It doesn't matter which end of Mirani I'm talking to people at, they are the three key things."
Mr Latter said it was his advocacy in Canegrowers which spurred his decision to throw his hat into the ring in this election.
When it comes to agriculture, a critical issue is the legislation regarding sugar marketing which MrLatter said needed to be protected.
"I just think choice is the Australian way," he said.
"It's not hard; give somebody a choice.
"It means the miller could then dictate the price a grower is paid, whereas if you have competition ... the little guy gets looked after rather than just the big guy."
Mr Latter said land management laws were also a high priority for him and those in his electorate.
"I think we need to have guidelines ... but I think in this day and age of economic reality, the cowboys are gone," he said.
"The young farmers coming through now are strong business people ... so it's got to stack up as a viable proposition.
"That way they invest in their property, they manage it. So I think there's a great deal more of their land management capacity and the ability to ensure they're acting sustainably than there was 20 years ago."
Mr Latter said there were two very contrasting choices for voters, but he believed they were being fully considered before arrival at the ballot box.
"It's going to be an interesting election, but I think the voters have got a significant choice this time," he said.
"I think a lot of voters, the ones that have spoken to me, they've been thinking about the issues and worrying about them.
"So I think we will see a few people casting their votes on some well-thought out issues they have and the answers they are seeking."
Kerry Latter (LNP)
Stephen Andrew (Pauline Hanson's One Nation)
Jim Pearce (Australian Labor Party)
Christine Carlisle (The Greens