New seat, new name and a lot of nervous pollies
RADICAL changes to boundaries, a new seat and a new name for an old one are all elements of the Electoral Commission Queensland plans for the future of the Sunshine Coast's state electorates.
The clean sheet of the new seat of Ninderry has already prompted one Sunshine Coast Councillor, Jason O'Pray, to seriously contemplate a shot at LNP pre-selection while others including Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie will be getting used to a future missing familiar territory.
Glass House MP Andrew Powell (LNP), who was not responding to calls yesterday, now finds himself living outside the electorate of Tibrogargan which replaces his old seat.
Maroochydore has become a narrow coastal seat bordered by the ocean and the Sunshine Motorway, basically mirroring Sunshine Coast Council's Division Eight and absent the big Coolum population base which now marks its northern boundary.
Noosa's headed north and will take in Rainbow Beach, while Nicklin will have new boundaries for the first election since 1998 in which the independent MP Peter Wellington will not play a role.
The Sunshine Coast will from the next election have eight parliamentary representatives, up from seven, of whom potentially three or four may be new to state parliament.
Steve Dickson is no certainty of retaining Buderim as a One Nation candidate, Peter Wellington retires leaving Nicklin vacant and a new member will be elected to Ninderry.
Mr Powell, who saw his margin slashed from over 20% to just 1.4% in 2015, may face a struggle to hold on with both One Nation and Brent Hampstead (Labor) who he beat by just 900 votes last time, both likely to figure prominently.
Opposition leader Tim Nicholls deflected questions about whether all current Sunshine Coast LNP parliamentarians would contest the seats they hold with Glass House MP Andrew Powell staying in Tibrogargan, when the party expected to endorse a candidate to replace the defector Steve Dickson and whether or not it was likely to challenge any of the draft boundaries.
Instead a staffer sent an audio of a Brisbane press conference the Opposition leader held with his shadow Treasurer Scott Emerson who will find himself pitted against Labor Environment Minister Steve Miles after their seats of Indooroopilly and Mount Cootha were amalgamated.
"The LNP is focussed on Queenslanders not seat boundaries," a spokesman said.
A spokesman for the Premier said she expected all members of her team to seek re-election.
"She strongly supports the work of her team, particularly in terms of creating jobs and restoring frontline services," he said.
The spokesman dismissed suggestions from Mr Dickson that the Premier may call an early poll before the changes were brought into effect.
"The Premier has committed that the election will be contested on the new boundaries of 93 seats," he said. "The Premier has also said the election is not due for almost another 12 months"