Choat twists arms for funds
OLIVER Twist, otherwise known as Ipswich West MP Sean Choat, is on the campaign trail for the seat of Ipswich West.
The LNP MP is happy to be known in cabinet by the nickname and he says it is because he is like the little orphan boy in the famous novel and film who "always wants more".
In Mr Choat's case, he said he was constantly asking ministers for more for his electorate.
Mr Choat has told the QT previously how he lobbied Premier Campbell Newman hard to ensure $40 million in funding flowed for the Blacksoil Interchange, with the other $54 million stumped up by the former Labor Government.
He said this week that he had beaten down the door of Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson for funding for the Brisbane Valley Hwy.
"Everything I have promised for our electorate. I have been able to deliver, and I have got plans for even bigger and better stuff," Mr Choat said.
"They call me Oliver Twist in the cabinet because I am the boy that always wants more.
"The Transport Minister certainly understands that. I have been at him, and for him to get me the funds to fix the Brisbane Valley Hwy is a great thing because it has been a dog for years.
"Someone said to me that my opponent (Jim Madden) was calling it 'Choat's track'.
"I said, 'You know what. It is Choat's track and I am going to fix it'. I am happy to rise to the challenge. It sets me something to really fight for and go after.
"In the next term I have more plans and I am better at asking and twisting ministers' arms now.
"There is some stuff I have been lobbying hard on and I am sure they are going to give me the green light."
But Labor candidate Jim Madden, also a Somerset councillor, said Mr Choat was offering "too little, too late" for the Brisbane Valley Hwy and was taking undue credit for funding.
"Sean Choat has had three years to fix the Brisbane Valley Hwy, but it is not until just before the election we find that he has found funding to fix it.
"And from what I know about the funding, it doesn't come from Sean Choat.
"It comes from the mayor (Graeme Lehmann) of the Somerset Regional Council.
"The mayor and deputy mayor met with the Minister for Main Roads and he told us that the work would be completed on or before April of 2015.
"And he was talking about the work on the road where the speed limit has been reduced from 100kmh to 80kmh just before the Geoff Fisher Bridge and Wanora section of the road."
But Mr Madden said far more was needed to get the highway up to scratch.
"It is just a goat track. It is like a tapestry of repairs.
"The busiest section of the Brisbane Valley Hwy between Fernvale and the Blacksoil Interchange needs to be remediated and resealed, and that is what I will be campaigning for.
"The LNP just haven't delivered for Ipswich West and Sean Choat has got to go."
Mr Madden was unimpressed with Mr Choat's Oliver Twist reference.
"This is the same man who compared Ipswich to Manhattan and quoted St Rita when he wanted to speak about domestic violence. I am not listening to Sean Choat any more and I think most of the residents of Ipswich West stopped listening to him long ago."