WITH the state elections four weeks away – Ingham Daily Press reached out to the five people who have put their hats in the ring to be voted Hinchinbrook’s voice in Queensland’s parliament for the next three years.
Each candidate was sent the same script of questions.
Here are MP Nick Dametto’s responses:
Who: Nick Dametto MP
How old: 37.
What party: Katter’s Australian Party.
Where from: Hawkins Creek.
Where do you live now: Burdell.
What is your background: I’m a qualified mechanical fitter and boilermaker, spent ten years in the mining and construction industry and
I’m a former tourism operator with Townsville Watersports.
What’s your connection to Hinchinbrook: I was born and raised in Ingham and most of my family live in the Herbert River district. I grew up on my Nonno’s cane farm at Hawkins Creek and went to school at Our Lady of Lourdes and Gilroy Santa Maria College.
When and why did you decide to go into politics: I received a call from Katter’s Australian Party founder and Kennedy MP Bob Katter out of the blue one day in late 2017, asking if I wanted to run as a candidate for Hinchinbrook.
What convinced me to say yes were two things. The first was I had an opportunity to stand as a candidate with a party whose core values and principles I strongly identified with.
The second was I wanted to make a difference in Hinchinbrook. I thought we have a whinge about what’s wrong with the state, but if I wasn’t prepared to put my hand up when asked and try and fix some of these issues, then I had no right to complain again.
It was time for me to stand up for my region – that I felt had been badly neglected.
Why are you standing in this election: After three years as the Member for Hinchinbrook, I’m proud to say that together, we have had
some significant wins. But I believe it’s more important than ever to keep the ball rolling on some of the bigger projects I’ve been working on. Knowing how badly the Brisbane-based major parties neglect our region, I could not possibly stand aside and allow that to happen again. That’s why I’m here to fight for Hinchinbrook’s fair share for the long run.
Why should people vote for you: I’m a part of our community. I’ve immersed myself into the role as your local State Member. Every day I’m working on the issues that matter most to Hinchinbrook, whether it’s the cost of living, infrastructure, agriculture, health services, education or crime. I have done everything in my power to make our part of the world better to live, work and play in.
Simply put, I love Hinchinbrook. From the reef to the rainforest, we have so much to offer. But the best part is the people that call our little patch of paradise home. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I understand what makes our region tick. Without someone protecting the agriculture, mining
and tourism industries, Hinchinbrook would cease to exist. That is why I’m so passionate about representing us in parliament.
Why did you join your political party: Fundamentally, Katter’s Australian Party is all about personal freedoms and ensuring that regional Queensland gets its fair share of funding for infrastructure and services. To do this, the KAP strongly supports extensive investment in game-changing nation infrastructure projects that generate jobs, lowering the cost of living, supporting agriculture and protecting the freedoms Queenslanders have
to enjoy in the great outdoors without government bureaucracy getting in the way.
What in your view are the major issues Hinchinbrook faces:
Each part of the Hinchinbrook electorate faces is own challenges. The key issues Hinchinbrook faces are crime, the cost of living, jobs and infrastructure and protecting our agricultural industry. Katter’s Australian Party has a comprehensive plan to tackle each of these issues and more, which you can view by visiting our website: https://www.kap.org.au/policies/
What’s going well:
Hinchinbrook has had several wins over the last three years. These include:
- More than $160 million in upgrades for the Bruce Highway between Townsville and Ingham.
- $1.5 million in federal funding for the dredging of Cardwell’s One Mile Creek.
- Up to $4.3 million in conditional state funding towards the replacement of Port Hinchinbrook’s Sewage Treatment Plant at Cardwell.
- $1.2 million in state funding to repair Lucinda Jetty.
- $1.3 million in state funding for the clean-up of Cape Richards.
- $2.4 million for Herbert River Improvement Trust provided under the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
- Working with council and Biodiversity Australia to successfully remove Ingham’s problem
- Forcing the government to change legislation to allow vision-impaired persons the right to park in a disability car park. This followed the KAP introducing their own bill in parliament last year.
- Overturning the state government’s overzealous firearm trading ban during the Covid-19 lockdown.
What would you like to do if you are elected:
Continue to work on unlocking government support for the vital infrastructure, services and jobs that Hinchinbrook residents demand.
See my answer to goals for a list of projects I’m working hard to get across the line.
What do you do in your spare time:
I enjoy boating, waterskiing, fishing, shooting, motorsport and spending time with family and friends.
What are your values:
I was raised on a diet of Italian influences and Catholic values. I am compassionate person who tries to help those wherever I can. I treat others how I like to be treated and if I give you my word, I will
always honour that agreement.
Who’s your favourite sports team: North Queensland Cowboys.
What’s your favourite movie: Pulp Fiction.
What’s your favourite food: Crumbed steak and ravioli cooked by my Nonna Rose or the Hinchinbrook Hotel.
Who inspires you and why: My mum, Lois. Everyone has a hero, a movie star actor, sports person or historical figure they look up to or aspire to be like. For me that person is someone in my own family. Lois is a selfless, single mum who always put her children before anything or anyone. She’s a woman with the work ethic of a draft horse and a person with an absolute heart of gold who would defend her own like a lioness.
Thanks Mum, for raising me right and being my hero.
What is your stance on reef reforms: Katter’s Australian Party strongly opposes the state Labor government’s reef regulations. Among the key concerns highlighted by growers regarding the regulations include its undermining of existing efforts by growers to improve water quality, imposing “Big Brother” style supervision over everyday farming decisions and effectively hobbling the cane industry’s ability to expand.
The KAP have drafted our own Environmental and Other Legislation (Reversal of Great Barrier Reef
Protection Measures) Amendment Bill 2020, which will repeal these farm-destroying regulations.
We intend to introduce this bill in the next term of parliament.
What impact will Covid-19 have over the next three years: It is difficult to predict exactly how Hinchinbrook will be impacted over the next three years, but the financial hardship being experienced by both individuals and businesses as a result of the lockdown earlier this year is very evident. My main focus has been juggling keeping our community safe while ensuring businesses have the right supports to prosper. I am very confident our region can bounce back with the right investment in job-creating projects.
How would you try to manage this if re-elected: I will continue to lobby for sensible Covid-safe rules that reflect the community’s expectation and
adopt a common sense approach. Some of the current rules are just rubbish and do nothing to promote public safety. To recover from the impact of Covid-19, what is needed is a combination of government and private investment into infrastructure and tourism-enabling projects. This will
produce much-needed jobs and give our local economy a much-needed shot in the arm. Projects like all-tidal access for Cardwell, Lucinda and Forrest Beach, and the North Queensland bio-energy plant will help rebuild our economy post-Covid.
On top of that, advancing proposals like the ‘Paluma to Wallaman Falls’ and ‘Cardwell Tropical Mountain Bike Destination’ projects will increase visitation and bring vital tourism dollars to our region. Most importantly, we must not forget that farming and mining were the industries that
were largely affected by Covid and should be supported accordingly.
What is your stance on recycling: I support any and all efforts to recycle as much waste as possible. Recycling is the key to sustainable
living, and I am concerned about the growing amount of plastic that ends up in our ocean which harms our marine life. The locally managed containers for change scheme has been instrumental in
changing people’s attitudes to recycling.
The KAP and I are supportive of the push to ban single-use plastic products from 2021. This would extend to straws, cutlery, plates and stirrers.
The KAP have long been proponents of the switch to paper and metal straws and I was proud to work with Emily Walker, who is Townsville’s ‘Straw No More’ ‘strawBassador’, in fighting for this
Council are predicting that Warren’s Hill will be full by 2030 and no more landfills will be built. What are your ideas about how Hinchinbrook can deal with waste management after this date: I think we are definitely living in a disposable society in that we are easily tempted to throw out an appliance or piece of machinery and buy a new one, rather than invest the time and expense of fixing it. This is leading to a serious waste problem, which I have no doubt is contributing to the
situation council finds itself in with Warren’s Hill.
I will continue to engage with the Hinchinbrook Shire Council to find a long-term solution.
What do you love about Hinchinbrook: For me, it’s simple. Hinchinbrook is home. It’s where my family settled and put down their roots. There’s nostalgia at every turn: the smell of freshly worked ground, watching the first cane being cut at the start of the season, the rain falling on a summer’s evening and the sound of a familiar voice as you walk down the street tell me I’m home when I’m in Hinchinbrook.
What are your goals if you are re-elected, and how will you achieve them:
I have several goals for Hinchinbrook, if re-elected.
These are to:
- Secure funding to bring a satellite dialysis unit, CT scanner and emergency department upgrade to Ingham Hospital. I have already been involved in discussions with both the health minister and premier about these services, with final costings and detailed design work now being undertaken.
- Continue working with stakeholders to lock in the state government support necessary to build the $640 million North Queensland Bio-Energy (NQBE) plant at Ingham, adding system strength and dispatchable power to the North Queensland grid.
- Continue to lobby the state government for all-tidal access at Lucinda, Cardwell and Forrest Beach that will help unlock tourism and more jobs.
- Repeal Labor’s farm-destroying reef regulations through Katter’s Australian Party Environmental and Other Legislation (Reversal of Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) Amendment Bill 2020.
- See the ‘Paluma to Wallaman Falls’ 120km eco-tourism trail and ‘Cardwell Tropical Mountain Bike Destination’ proposals come to fruition. Both proposals are undergoing feasibility
- Lobby the government to introduce relocation sentencing, which would see juvenile offenders sent to an approved property north-east of Mt Isa, where they can reform and learn life skills.
How would you fund this: Funding for above projects would be allocated through state government grants that become available through the allocation of consolidated revenue in annual state budget. I want to see a
significant proportion of budget funds returned to the regions, which generate the majority of government revenue through mining and agriculture.
What else would you like to add:
I don’t fit the political cookie cutter that’s used to groom and mould modern day politicians. I come with all the rough edges and a working class background that has shaped my ability to problem solve using my real world experiences. My strengths are my work ethic and ‘dog-with-a-bone’ attitude when it comes to delivering for Hinchinbrook.
In this role, you need to be able to connect with all types of people. I’m fearless in my approach to politics because if I can’t stand up for what is right or what the electorate needs, I may as well put my tool bag back on my shoulder and go back to where I came from.
Every day, I feel blessed to be given this opportunity to serve our community.