LNP’s masterplan for North Qld
THE LNP is beefing up its North Queensland presence by vowing to send Senate candidate Susan McDonald to Townsville if she's elected.
Ms McDonald, the managing director of Super Butcher Group and a Beef Australia board member, will move north if she wins a Senate seat at the next federal election, likely replacing Ian McDonald.
Ms McDonald's number two spot on the LNP Queensland Senate preselection ticket is widely considered "winnable".
The position is currently held by Senator Barry O'Sullivan, and LNP sources said it was "highly likely" the party would receive sufficient votes to send Ms McDonald to the Senate.
If this occurs Ms McDonald would effectively step into the role of veteran Senator Macdonald as the LNP's northern-based representative.
Senator Macdonald lost his top spot on the Senate ticket to Brisbane-based mining manager Paul Scarr.
Ms McDonald's move from Brisbane could go some way to quashing fears among LNP members that dumping Senators O'Sullivan and Macdonald would lose the party votes in the region.
LNP president Gary Spence said the party had "always" been actively engaged in Townsville and the North.
"Senator Ian Macdonald will continue to serve, as he has done for 28 years, and the LNP can announce today that Susan McDonald will be moving to Townsville and be based in the North," he said. "Susan McDonald is already well known in the North and northwest, and will be a fantastic representative for North Queensland."
Mr Spence said he believed Ms McDonald would be a "very strong voice in the Senate" following her career in the beef and agriculture industries.
Mr Spence defended the LNP's apparent candidate revitalisation, particularly in the North where political newcomer Phillip Thompson beat former MP Ewen Jones in the Herbert preselection race.
"We now have a fantastic candidate for Herbert, Phillip Thompson, who has spent his working life serving our nation," he said.
Ms McDonald grew up on a cattle station south of Cloncurry, and said the experience would inform her policy platform.
"Growing up in remote regional Queensland, I see infrastructure as the key," she said.
"The nation seems to be stuck in the mindset of not building anything. We have to build for the future, if we do that industry will fall in behind."