Words and political pipe dreams need to become action when it comes to sealing the Peninsula Developmental Road (PDR) and upgrading the Myall Creek bridge, according to One Nation’s newly-announced candidate for Cook.
On 8 February, the party unveiled Tolga’s Peter Campion as the candidate who will fly the orange and blue flag while attempting to wrestle the electorate from Labor and incumbent MP Cynthia Lui when Queenslanders go to the polls on 26 October, 2024.
The retired public servant, firefighter and fire investigator said he was looking forward to the challenge and wasted no time in setting some lofty political objectives for Cape York, namely the long-touted sealing of the PDR to Weipa and raising the Myall Creek bridge.
Mr Campion came out swinging against the two major political parties when he caught up with Cape York Weekly, saying he believed both had demonstrably failed Queensland’s northernmost residents.
“We’re never going to get what we need for Cook, what we deserve for Cook … while the major parties hold power,” he said.
“The big parties do not represent the regions, and they don’t represent Cape York.
“If we get people to realise this, we can actually get the PDR sealed.”
Mr Campion is no stranger to election campaigns, having run as an independent for the state seat of Hill in 2020, and for the United Australia Party against Kennedy stalwart Bob Katter in federal electorate in 2022.
He said the catalyst for his latest foray into politics was being “quite frankly, disgusted with the state of politics in Australia”, adding he would ensure sealing the PDR and floodproofing the Myall Creek bridge were transformed from talking points to projects if elected.
“Not only should it be done, it must be done,” he explained.
“A One Nation balance of power, or government, would free up the money to ensure it can be done.”
When asked what his high-profile son-in-law, federal MP and Nationals poster boy Barnaby Joyce, thought about him campaigning in One Nation colours, Mr Campion laughed.
“It’s happened before, he’s not the least bit perturbed about it,” he reflected to Cape York Weekly.
“I’ve actually had some good talks to him about politics and campaigning.”
Mr Campion said he would have a strong focus on agriculture and mining, fighting escalating crime in regional communities, and improving vital infrastructure in the vast Cook electorate.
He pulled no punches in telling advocates for World Heritage status on Cape York to “go take a flying leap” because he believed it would cripple the region’s growth and economic prosperity, and create too much additional environmental red tape.
“[World Heritage listing] will further supress agriculture, particularly farming and fishing,” he said.
“We can do that [protect Cape York] just fine without being told how to do it by foreigners.
“We can do it just with the resources we already have.”
After first visiting Cape York in the 1980s while working for the former federal Department of Social Security, Mr Campion said he had “high hopes in getting across the electorate to every spot between now and October”.