Health issues top for LNP candidate

HAVING grown up with three older brothers Tania Wright is more than used to holding her own - a skill which will be invaluable if she enters the rough and tumble world of Queensland politics.

The former Maryvale girl and LNP candidate for Southport could join Lawrence Springborg in government after March 21 if she snares what's been earmarked as a “must win” seat for the Borg camp.

Ms Wright needs a swing of about eight per cent to wrestle Southport from the grip of sitting ALP member Peter Lawlor, the incumbent member since 2001.

But she reckons the momentum being generated by the LNP campaign is being felt on the coast, where key issues such as health are set to be vote-changers.

The 33-year-old - who in recent times has run her own marketing and management consultancy - has been based on the Gold Coast for the past decade and while a relative newcomer to the political scene says she is “focussed” on sending the LNP message to voters crying out for change.

As well as a dedicated band of LNP volunteers helping to run her campaign, Ms Wright also has the moral and practical support of her parents, Colin and Loraine Wright, who retired to the coast a couple of years ago.

“I've always had a passion for the Gold Coast, ever since we used to holiday as a family here every summer like many other people from Warwick,” Ms Wright said.

“Entering politics has been an interesting journey for me but I could see so many issues around here which need addressing and I decided it was time to try and get in and make a difference.”

Before starting her own business, Ms Wright worked in business development for a prominent Gold Coast accounting firm and before the move to the coast was employed by Main Roads in Warwick.

The bright lights of the coastal strip are a long way from the dairy farm at Maryvale where she grew up with older brothers Peter, Ivan and Glen but Ms Wright said after a decade there she felt she had a strong grasp of the issues confronting a fast-growing area.

“A major issue is the plan to close down the old Southport Hospital and replace it solely with a new hospital being built at Parkwood,” she said.

“This is a short-sighted decision - Southport Hospital needs to be refurbished and kept open, simply because of the population growth on the coast.

“It has been widely acknowledged, now even by the Productivity Commission, that Queensland's hospitals are by far the worst resourced in Australia.”

Ms Wright said jobs were another huge concern for coast dwellers, who like other Queenslanders had been left with “a public debt of about $74 billion after 11 years of Labor”.

Ms Wright, who was pre-selected unopposed to run for the LNP in Southport, plans to “rope in” various family members to help hand out how-to-vote cards on election day.

She will spend the nervous wait on the final figures on the night of Saturday, March 21 with family and supporters at her Southport campaign office.

Sitting member Peter Lawlor has won the seat three times after running as the unsuccessful ALP candidate three times before the 2001 election.

Southport was previously held by former rugby league international and National Party MP Mick Vievers.

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