Senate debates

Monday, 30 August 2021


Willcox, Mr Andrew

1:47 pm

Photo of Susan McDonaldSusan McDonald (Queensland, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] I rise to congratulate Andrew Willcox on winning preselection for the federal seat of Dawson. This isn't so much a win for Mr Willcox as it is a win for Mackay, the Whitsundays, Burdekin and Townsville. In Mr Willcox the region will have another strong candidate following the retirement of the current member, George Christensen. They are both large men in stature, matched by the size of their unwavering commitment to North Queensland and, indeed, northern Australia.

Mr Willcox shares the Morrison government's enthusiasm for regional development. He has publicly backed the proposed Urannah dam, west of Mackay, and a coal-fired power station in Collinsville. He also backed the Burdekin dam stage 2 development and the Burdekin-to-Bowen pipeline, which will shore up water security and expand opportunities in agriculture.

Importantly, his lived experience and deep knowledge of a range of issues also make him an excellent advocate for the federal government's northern Australia agenda. Mr Willcox is a tomato farmer by trade and, like the current member, opposes extreme environmental activities that unnecessarily stifle development and prevent people in the region from obtaining reliable, high-paying jobs in the mining and agricultural sectors. He is in his second term as mayor of the Whitsundays region, a truly diverse local government area taking in the picturesque coastal towns of Airlie Beach and Bowen, the cane and cattle hub of Proserpine and also the coalmining town of Collinsville to the west. This is exactly the sort of person we need in our parliament, and I look forward to helping him in the next election campaign. If the people of Dawson want to preserve their lifestyles and livelihoods, if the northern Australian agenda is to thrive and prosper, they have a genuine champion in Andrew Willcox.