7 June 2024

Thursday Island health worked launches Cook campaign as independent

| Lyndon Keane
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Yen Loban says living the struggles associated with cost of living pressures and home overcrowding has convinced him to run as an independent candidate for Cook at the October state election. Photo: Supplied.

The first independent runner to announce their candidacy for Cook has launched his campaign with a simple question for voters: who do you really trust?

Thursday Island health worker Yen Loban will try to unseat incumbent Cynthia Lui at the 26 October state election and said cost of living pressures, health and local employment opportunities were at the forefront of his platform.

Not to be confused with his uncle, the former Torres Shire Council mayor and Torres Strait Regional Authority board member of the same name, Mr Loban said his lived experience under what he described as decades of government neglect of Cook had triggered his candidacy.

“I’m turning 40 and life beings at 40, mate,” he told Cape York Weekly.

“I believe that I have a passion for my people, and would like to serve them as the elected Cook member.

“I’ll be addressing all the issues; I’ve lived the struggles myself; I know the hardship and I understand what people go through, and I will be serving them on the ground.”

READ ALSO ‘Pedigree, passion’ as LNP looks to past for Cook election battle

After growing up in a family of 12 in a three-bedroom house, Mr Loban slammed recent local and state government leadership in failing to find a solution to remote housing and overcrowding.

“I’ve seen the struggle and I’ve seen the disadvantage for young people,” he said.

“Leaders have failed us … and I’m talking about Parliament and mayors in local government.

“It’s just not on; something needs to be done to have these issues addressed.

“When you look at Torres Strait, I like to use Torres Strait as an example, I come from a household of 10 siblings, and with mum and dad, there were 12 of us in a three-bedroom house; that causes a lot of the stresses when you look at a lot of the social determinants of health, education and crime.”

Mr Loban said he would be “spreading myself as thin as possible” to campaign across the mammoth Cook electorate between now and when voters went to the polls.

“I want to cover as far north and south as I can, and east and west,” he explained.

READ ALSO Policing swapped for politics as KAP reveals Amos as Cook candidate

“I’ll be in every community, and campaigning as hard as I can; I want to sit down with people in the community, hear their issues and have a frank discussion about those communities I’ll represent.”

So far, the Cook ballot paper will feature five names: Mr Loban, Labor’s Ms Lui, former MP David Kempton for the Liberal National Party, Peter Campion for One Nation and Duane Amos for Katter’s Australian Party.

Mr Loban said his campaign would be a simple one focused on generating measurable positive change for the electorate.

“It’s just about going forward,” he said

“Who do you really trust?

“Who do you really have faith in to make the changes you really need in your community?”

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