We chat with Cynthia Lui, a proud Iamalaig woman from the Kulkalgau Clan of Iama (Yam Island) and the Kulkalgal Tribe of the Torres Strait. Cynthia was elected as the Member for Cook at the 2017 Queensland State election. She grew up on Iama (Yam Island) in the Torres Strait, and has earlier worked in health, child protection and family support services around Far North Queensland.
What inspired you to join the political world?
Having grown up in the northernmost region of Australia, I am acutely aware of the tyranny of distance for people in remote and regional communities. I have devoted my life and career to help closing the gap between the regions. One of the most rewarding things about being the Member for Cook is that I have played a role in achieving greater outcomes in health and educational services to all communities in Cook, including those in the more remote areas.
What are your three top priorities for the Cook electorate?
1. Building stronger communities.
2. Best possible education for everyone regardless of where they live.
3. Best possible health services and facilities for everyone regardless of where they live.
What are your top three priorities for the Douglas Shire?
- I will continue to support projects such as the Wangetti Trail and the Newell Beach Boat Ramp that will promote environmental values and bring great enjoyment to both tourism and locals.
- Greater support for small businesses as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to support economic development opportunities such as the $25 million the State Government made to Far Northern Milling Pty Ltd to establish the innovative bio-refinery at the Mossman Mill.
- Creating job opportunities for locals in the region.
What do you see as the biggest issue facing the Douglas Shire for 2021?
By the far the biggest issue for Douglas in the coming year is to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to see businesses back on deck and we want to see tourists flocking back to this special place.
Douglas Shire Council has received $1.43 million to support 33 jobs under the Palaszczuk Labor’s $200 million COVID Works for Queensland (W4Q) program. This economic stimulus plan will enable the council to roll out smart water, upgrade aerators and diffusers at its Wastewater Treatment Plant, upgrades to the Mossman Caravan Park and the Mossman Pool.
What are you most excited about for our region in 2021?
The Palaszczuk Labor Government has invested heavily in infrastructure, health, education and roles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We have supported over 200 small businesses in the Douglas Shire to look at ways of staying in business during this stressful time. I look forward to seeing all these things come to fruition in the coming year and to achieving the economic benefits that will come.
How will you specifically support tourism to get back on track?
The Palaszczuk Labor Government is already supporting the tourism get back on track. We have invested more than $41.4 million into the development of the Wangetti Trail and the new $4 million Newell Beach Boat Ramp. Other support includes:
- Marine Tourism Rebate for eligible Port Douglas tour boat operators – fee relief to offset the cost of private marina berthing fees
- $15m – $15 million for flights within Queensland to support 15 regional airports and Brisbane airport to negotiate with airlines to establish new routes or reopen pre-COVID19 services in regional Queensland and into Brisbane.
- $500 Electricity and Water Rebate for small business
- Land Tax relief
- Pay Roll Tax relief
- Job Support Loans for small business
What are your views on development in the Daintree? ie the proposal to build a bridge, and to introduce microgrid power?
Firstly, the Daintree is protected under the Wet Tropics of Queensland.
I encourage all Douglas Shire residents to participate in the council’s public consultation process in relation to the Daintree River crossing. They are the most affected by a decision to either build a bridge or to adopt a two-ferry solution.
They will have to weigh up the pros and cons of both options, so I hope everyone thinks long and hard in their deliberations as they and future generations will have to live with either option for decades to come.
The decision has implications for the council budget and for ratepayers. Clearly, there are economic considerations ratepayers need to be aware of, people need to consider the impact increased usage will have on the pristine environment that attracts visitors to the region.
Following the release of the Queensland Government’s study into power supply options in the Daintree, the Commonwealth Government is currently undertaking its own inquiries into potential power supply options including a microgrid.
The Queensland Government looks forward to considering the outcomes of the Federal Government’s report once its released, it is important that both levels of government work together on a long-term solution.
What are your thoughts on the LNP’s proposed curfew for kids in Townsville and Cairns?
It’s difficult to comment on a policy that has no details other than it will treat our hardworking police like babysitters. The LNP should instead look at matching Labor’s promise of a record number of new police officers – 150 in North Queensland – which builds on the more than 100 extra police already recruited by the Palaszczuk Government.
When you have a snippet of it, how do you enjoy your down time?
I like nothing better than spending time with my family. Family time is precious to me.
What is your favourite place to escape to within the region?
What is your personal mantra?
My personal mission as Member for Cook is to help “build stronger communities” and to “connect communities” in Cook.
Who is your personal hero or heroine? And why….
My parents – Mum was a teacher and Dad’s involvement in local politics since he was 21 years of age. I love their passion and drive for positive change and influence for people.
Where can Douglas Shire residents catch up with you next?
You will find me at various booths during the pre-polling. I look forward to meeting and chatting with everyone.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s strong health response and tough decisions on borders has kept the people of Cook safe. It has allowed our stable government to deliver our regional economic recovery plan. Our plan is focused on creating jobs in more industries right across Queensland, and supporting small business, and manufacturing right here in Cook.
Unlike the LNP who wanted the borders opened 64 times putting the health and safety of all Queenslanders at risk. As Campbell Newman’s Assistant Minister Deb Frecklington sacked 14,000 Queensland public servants. Now is not the time to risk the LNP.
Image / via Facebook