However the candidate field for Cook takes shape ahead of October’s Queensland general election, one thing is clear: the Peninsula Developmental Road (PDR) will again take centre stage as a political football.
The battle for Liberal National Party preselection continues, and Katter’s Australia Party has commenced a search for a replacement to Malanda farmer Bruce Logan, but the two candidates who have confirmed their runs have both flagged the state of the PDR as a major election issue for frustrated Cape York residents.
Incumbent Labor MP Cynthia Lui, who will seek re-election for a third term, said she believed she had fought hard for the development of the PDR but admitted it would remain a hot button issue.
“I will stand on my record and fight for more for my community, having delivered $29 million of works for Peninsula Development [sic] Road upgrades this financial year, a new primary healthcare centre for Pormpuraaw, capital works at Bamaga Hospital and mobile women’s health services,” she told Cape York Weekly.
“It is difficult to choose just three key issues for the entire electorate of Cook because of its size and different community needs, but if I was to narrow down three issues for Cape York alone, I would say cost of living, delivering quality health facilities and services for all, and roads and connectivity.”
After being announced as One Nation’s candidate for Cook on 8 February, Peter Campion also targeted upgrading the PDR as a priority on Cape York, arguing not enough genuine progress had been made and that sealing the road to Weipa “must be done”.
Despite there being less than 250 kilometres of dirt between Laura and Weipa, transport operators and regular PDR travellers are united in their assessment that the road is deteriorating every year.
In late 2023, Cape York truck driver Gavan Roy blasted the condition of the PDR and invited former transport and Main Roads minister Mark Bailey to join him for a first-hand experience of the road.
“We’ve got less dirt than ever before, but the dirt sections are as bad as they have ever been,” he said at the time.
Despite being on the receiving end of criticism about her government and personal representation during the current electoral term, Ms Lui said she remained committed to serving Cape York and was focused on a successful campaign.
“Serving such a huge and diverse electorate is a challenge but also immensely rewarding,” Ms Lui said.
“Few other jobs allow you to connect with and support so many people and communities with inspiring and different perspectives, strengths and cultures.
“If I am successful, I will continue to work hard for my communities, to make positive changes, big and small, for the groups, businesses and people that make Cook such a wonderful place to live and work.”
Voters will have their say on 26 October, 2024.