By Louise Gleeson
Noosa Greens candidate Jim McDonald is planning to take the support of the Noosa electorate all the way to the Senate.
Dr McDonald gained 25% of the two-party preferred vote at the last state elections and is now the current opposition to Glen Elmes.
This was the best result for the party in Queensland and Dr McDonald put it down to more than the traditional environmental Greens’ policies.
“I plan to contribute and represent a complimentary side to what the Greens are about,” Dr McDonald said.
“Pre-selections start in a couple of weeks and I hope to get the lead seat,” he said.
“The Greens are gaining more support in regional areas.”
Dr McDonald, a former Industrial Relations official and senior university lecturer in industrial relations said he stands for social justice and wants to encourage small businesses in renewable energy and low-impact industry.
“Small businesses need to be encouraged to address the new economy, the new economy is coming, it’s on our doorstep,” Dr McDonald said.
When asked if he was concerned about Clive Palmer “settling in” on the Sunshine Coast, he said it worried him in a lot of ways.
“It is an example of wealth and development with not much environmental responsibility attached,” he said.
“What I fear most of all is that they’ll turn the Mary Valley into coal seam gas mines.
“We’ve reached peak oil and this is what this is all about, there’s a desperation to ensure we have enough gas, I think coal seam gas is going to be the big issue.”
Dr McDonald said the reason for the focus on the potential of coal seam gas in the Mary Valley was because the seam comes all the way down to Point Arkwright, and further south is the Nambour Basin.
University of the Sunshine Coast senior politics lecturer Bronwyn Stevens said there were many reasons the Greens gained support in the area, including coal seam gas.
“I think there’s a lot of hostility about the Traveston Crossing Dam controversy and it hasn’t played out well up here,” Mrs Stevens said.
“The cost of water also, and the fact that Sunshine Coast water was diverted to Brisbane and there’s no return pipeline, those things annoyed traditional Labor voters,” she said.
Mrs Stevens said it is a possibility Dr McDonald will gain a Senate seat, and it would “be nice to have a Senator from the Sunshine Coast” in Canberra.
Dr McDonald also commented that the local Sunshine Coast Regional Council have basically ignored his petitions to put a stop to coal seam gas in the area, and that he will be chasing a response.
“Noosa is a special place because of the conservation work that was done in the 70s and 80s to preserve the area, now that’s under serious threat, he said.
“I have always believed the individual can make difference, I am a member of a political party, not just an environmental group”.