Subjects: Dawson, Belinda Hassan, infrastructure, tourism, State of Origin.
HOST: Anthony Albanese is coming to Mackay for an event. He is joining us this morning. Albo, hello mate, how are you?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.
HOST: You are coming to Mackay. Why are we kicking off the campaign here in Mackay?
ALBANESE: Well I am kicking of the campaign because we have got a fantastic candidate, Belinda Hassan, and she is born and bred in Mackay. She has been active in the community there her whole life. She has raised her four kids there. She works in a local business and I think that it is about time that Mackay and the whole region had a candidate who had the respect of people in Canberra and she would do that and be able to deliver.
HOST: Obviously it is important thing to have candidates for whatever party you are running in to be in the town that you are actually residing in and trying to fight for I guess, isn’t it?
ALBANESE: Absolutely and Belinda is a true local. She is someone who is not a career politician. She is someone who has had a career, not just in business, but also helping out in the local community. She is active in Lions and a range of other community organisations and she has decided to put herself forward. I will be very proud to launch her campaign there tonight with some locals and of course for Mackay and the region my portfolio is particularly important – Infrastructure, Regional Development and of course Tourism – that’s critical for the Whitsundays and the entire region.
HOST: I think the big question for a lot of people is: When can we see the tide sort of turning when it comes to tourism and infrastructure because, as you know, I don’t think you need me to tell you, our region has taken a really hard hit over the last couple years.
ALBANESE: Absolutely, particularly in the aftermath of the devastation that occurred there and it is important that that be turned around. It’s such an important employer of locals and a generator of economic activity. That’s one of the things that I will be keen to talk to people about while I am in Mackay. Today I will be meeting the Mayor of Mackay. We’ll be having a media conference with Belinda about the importance of the Ring Road Stage II. It was myself as the Infrastructure Minister funded the first stage of the Ring Road and it will be good to be there today talking with locals.
HOST: Now if you want to go along and see Albo and of course Belinda, who is a good friend of the Breakfast Show here as well, at Souths Leagues Club, pop along – 6.30 tonight to 7.30 – and if anybody has any question they can ask you on your thoughts on where we need to go tourism-wise and infrastructure.
ALBANESE: Absolutely. I am looking forward to tonight.
HOST: It should be good.
ALBANESE: I am a Souths fan of a different variety of course, a bit closer to where I live. But when I saw the event was at South’s Leagues Club, I thought: Oh well, that is a natural home for me.
HOST: Speaking of the sporting side of things, game three State of Origin next Wednesday – not this Wednesday, the following Wednesday – I know the Blues have already got it. What do you think is going to happen in that instance?
ALBANESE: Well I think that Inglis being out is a big blow. I think he has been Queensland’s best player in the first couple of games. Indeed, in the first game I thought he was the best player on the park. Every time he got the ball he made yards. He was obviously inspired by having the captaincy. But it will be Billy’s last game of course and he may well be captain of Queensland for that last game and the Queensland side always lifts at Suncorp and I have no doubt that they will again. I hope it is a great game.
HOST: Fingers crossed. We will find out the result on the team line-up for that game coming up later today and we will have the details of that on our website. I know we got off topic there for a second but I always love talking football as well.
ALBANESE: Thanks for having us mate.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.