10 May 2023

Labor candidate has her sights on fixing housing

| Matt Nicholls
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ELIDA Faith believes she is a better candidate than in 2019 and can fix some of the major problems facing Cape York communities.

The Labor hopeful is eyeing off the seat held by long-standing Liberal MP Warren Entsch and was hard at work spreading her message in the opening week of the election campaign.

Ms Faith spent the first few days of the campaign in the Cape, visiting Weipa, Mapoon, Napranum, Lockhart River, Kowanyama and Pormpuraaw.

She was back in Cairns on the weekend to spend time with Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.

“So far, so good,” she said of the campaign.

“It was great getting up to the Cape last week – of course it wasn’t the first time I had been to those communities – but it’s fantastic to have another chat and see how things are going.

“Unfortunately the issues are still the same.

“Housing is the biggest issue, not just in the Cape but in the Torres Strait and even places like Cairns.

“I remember having these discussions before the last election and it’s unacceptable that nothing has happened.”

Ms Faith said people living in Cape York’s Aboriginal communities were living in third world conditions and faced massive overcrowding.

“We know that having a roof over your head and good living conditions – not being overcrowded – leads to improved overall wellbeing,” she said.

“Not having those conditions can lead to diseases, including Rheumatic Heart Disease, which is something we shouldn’t have in Australia.”

The Labor candidate blamed Mr Entsch and the LNP for the overcrowding problems in the Cape and Torres Strait and vowed that an Albanese government would address the issue.

“Warren has been promising for three years to fix housing but there was not one cent in last year’s budget for social or affordable housing,” she said.

“The LNP has done absolutely nothing for our communities and it’s a disgrace.

“Only Labor has a plan around housing and it is our $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund which will spend $200 million just on maintenance repairs to housing in remote Indigenous communities.”

Ms Faith said the cost of living was another issue raised on her Cape York trip and believed families in places like Weipa and Cooktown would benefit from the ALP’s policy on child care, which promises to ease the cost of care for 95 per cent of families.

Ms Faith acknowledged she had a huge fight on her hands to topple the incumbent MP but believed she was better equipped than her failed run at the last election.

“I’m more experienced as a campaigner and people know me better now than they did three years ago,” she said.

“What you see with me is what you get.

“I’m a passionate person, a Far North Queensland local for 23 years and a working mum.

“I want to take the FNQ voice to Canberra because I am sick and tired of our region being neglected.”

While there were no new major funding announcements for the Cape from Labor, the party did promise to spend $107.5 million to help secure the Cairns water supply into the future.

This promise, announced by Mr Albanese and Ms Faith on the weekend, came just a few days after the LNP promised the exact same thing in what appears to be a sign of things to come in this campaign.

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