GLOVES OFF: Claims Whitsundays lacks state representation
CLAIMS have been levelled at Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan suggesting the region has been "without effective state representation" for some time.
But Mr Costigan has bitten back, saying the comments were "deception at the highest level".
At the opening of the Whitsunday Regional Council administration building in Proserpine on Tuesday, Mayor Andrew Willcox slammed Mr Costigan during his speech.
"It is not a secret that we have had no representation in the Whitsundays for quite some time," he said.
"So I wish all the candidates in the upcoming election all the best for the next term."
Dawson MP George Christensen continued the criticism of Mr Costigan while congratulating Mayor Andrew Willcox on securing funding for the new facility.
"I want to pay particular tribute to the mayor," Mr Christensen said.
"Can I just say … this area has really been without effective state representation for quite a long time.
"The mayor has played the role of basically being the state MP."
Mr Christensen continued, saying Cr Willcox had done a "tremendous job" of balancing his responsibilities as mayor while pushing for funding.
"You've effectively run the gauntlet going to the Premier and the Treasurer and all the people down south and fighting for what the region needs," he said.
"There are contenders and pretenders, but Andrew Willcox has been the real thing."
Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said he was not invited to the opening and Mr Christensen's comments were "deception at the highest level".
"It was Jason Costigan who made sure we got the money, for example, the millions of dollars for the restoration of Shute Harbour," he said.
"The mayor would have never got the opportunity to revive the council-owned asset that is Shute Harbour without me putting on a song and dance about it.
"I've seen enough of it to know that the gloves have come off in the battle for the Whitsundays."
Mr Costigan said his relationship with the council "soured" during Cyclone Debbie when the cyclone shelter in Proserpine was "locked up like Fort Knox".
He also criticised the council's recent policy on election signage.
"If we hadn't had strong representation, why is the council working so hard to blunt my election campaign by making up rules to effectively shut me down?" he said.
"The major parties are scared of us and the council in the Whitsundays in this case, they're terrified that we're competitive in this election, which is a David versus Goliath battle."