At the forum were candidates Ian Berry (Ipswich-LNP), Pat Walsh (Ipswich-Greens), Sean Choat (Ipswich West - LNP), Jennifer Howard (Ipswich-Labor), Patricia Petersen (Ipswich-Independent), Chris Reynolds (Ipswich West-One Nation), Leo Talty (Ipswich West-Independent), Jim Madden (Ipswich West-Labor). Ian Simons (Ipswich West-Greens) arrived later in the evening.
At the forum were candidates Ian Berry (Ipswich-LNP), Pat Walsh (Ipswich-Greens), Sean Choat (Ipswich West - LNP), Jennifer Howard (Ipswich-Labor), Patricia Petersen (Ipswich-Independent), Chris Reynolds (Ipswich West-One Nation), Leo Talty (Ipswich West-Independent), Jim Madden (Ipswich West-Labor). Ian Simons (Ipswich West-Greens) arrived later in the evening. Derek Barry

Sean Choat and Jim Madden clash over budget and transport

IPSWICH West candidates clashed over budget management and transport issues in their candidate forum in Ipswich last night.

The format of the night allowed each candidate to speak for five minutes and then get a question from each of the other candidates.

LNP incumbent Sean Choat asked his Labor challenger Jim Madden how they were going to manage the deficit and deliver infrastructure.

"Would you borrow more, raise taxes or cut services?" Mr Choat asked.

Mr Madden said Labor would not raise taxes and they would deal with debt with money from government-owned corporations rather than selling assets.

 "In the last ten years of Labor governments, seven of those years we had surplus budgets," Mr Madden said.

However Mr Choat interjected to say this was "untrue" and figures from the Costello Commission of Audit suggest that Labor did only achieve surpluses between 2003 and 2007 before the global financial crisis and floods and cyclones took their toll.

Meanwhile Mr Choat raised laughter from Labor supporters in the audience when he claimed the credit for the Blacksoil Interchange, for which over half the funding was committed by the former Labor Federal Government.

Both candidates also claimed credit for getting the Brisbane Valley Highway fixed while Mr Madden said he could speak first hand of the "harsh effect" of Campbell Newman's policies in Ipswich West.

"The first thing we lost was our adult literacy program, then we lost our teachers, then our one and only bus service was put at risk and I had to petition state parliament to keep that service.

Mr Madden said his number one priority was jobs.

"With work comes self-respect, it's not just about a job and in Ipswich West one in five young people are unemployed, one in ten of our adults are unemployed - this is unacceptable."

Meanwhile Mr Choat said he was proud of his record over the last three years.

"There was a lot of flood recovery work on our roads and I made sure they were finished and I also made sure that the Minden crossroads was upgraded," Mr Choat said.

"Law and order is another big issue for me and I said I would not stop until I got Lowood police station to be 24 hours."

The forum also heard from Chris Reynolds of One Nation who also spoke about budget issues, independent Leo Talty who said the budget crisis was overblown and Greens Ian Davis who said the region needed better public transport.

See tomorrow's Queensland Times for a full report on the forum which also featured candidates from the seat of Ipswich.

Did last night's debate change how you will vote on January 31?

This poll ended on 29 January 2015.

Current Results

Yes

13%

No

86%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.