‘Forgotten’ electorate where nearly half are on JobKeeper
Before the COVID-19 pandemic pushed over 40 per cent workers in the Redlands electorate on to JobKeeper, the region's creaking infrastructure loomed as 2020's hot-button election issue.
From the perpetual traffic jams on Cleveland-Redland Bay Rd to poor public transport links and a lack of land supply, complaints about the region's lagging infrastructure were growing louder.
Redlands Chamber of Commerce president Rebecca Young said those issues remained key concerns but the pandemic had created a greater sense of urgency around job creation, which was already a talking point before the virus.
In January, Ms Young was part of a high-powered meeting trying to address dwindling job numbers in the local construction industry, the electorate's second largest employer.
She said young job hunters were being forced to travel outside the local area for apprenticeships, adding another layer of strain on the road network.
"We keep speaking to the fact that we need jobs here but we can't keep having people travel out of our city because our roads just can't keep up with it," she said.
"We need roads down here, we need the state government to invest in infrastructure within the Redlands, which has been really, really lacking."
The electorate, which stretches along the southern fringes of Moreton Bay and includes Thornlands, Victoria Point and Redland Bay, will be one of the most keenly watched as results are tallied on October 31.
First-term Labor MP Kim Richards took the seat from the LNP in 2017 after a 4 per cent swing.
But holding a margin of just 3.06 per cent, Ms Richards is sitting on the ninth most marginal Labor seat, the exact number the LNP needs to form government.
It also is likely to be heavily shaped by the wildcard of One Nation, which polled nearly 18 per cent in 2017, but is yet to select a candidate for the upcoming election.
One Nation's ploy to preference against sitting MPs in 2017 boosted Ms Richards' challenge as she picked up nearly 50 per cent of the party's preference flow, well up on what Labor would normally expect.
The LNP's candidate Henry Pike, who joked that he felt the pressure of being the potential tipping point for his party this year, said Redlands had been the state's "forgotten corner" for infrastructure development.
The former policy adviser for a range of industry bodies said a major masterplanned development of 3000 houses that had just broken ground at the southern end of the electorate would put even more pressure on infrastructure.
"Labor's been in power for 25 of the last 30 years and I know that people like to throw the blame at the LNP for everything that's wrong with the state but you've got to look at it realistically, we've had rampant population growth for those three decades and we've had no state infrastructure so Labor have got to hold that percentage of the blame for it and it's about time we fix it," he said.
The LNP has committed $100m to duplicate the troublesome Cleveland Redland Bay Rd under a $1bn congestion busting fund.
LNP has also promised $5m to seal some of the 50km of unsealed roads on the southern islands inside Moreton Bay that make up the electorate.
About one in six voters live on the islands
Labor recently released announcing it would spend $2.5m sealing island roads using funds secured under the Works for Queensland program.
Ms Richards did not respond to requests for an interview.
Originally published as 'Forgotten' electorate where nearly half are on JobKeeper