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31 July, 2019

Outrage as taxpayers foot office relocation

By Rhys Thomas

THE first day of estimates in the Queensland Parliament has revealed taxpayers will be required to fork out $71,000 for the fit-out of Member for Cook Cynthia Lui’s new office space in Cairns.

Ms Lui’s decision to move her electoral office from Mareeba to Cairns saw significant backlash when it was announced in December of last year, and the discontent will only continue to intensify amongst Mareeba residents as they will be hit in the hip pocket as a result of the relocation.

Liberal National Party Manager of Opposition Business Jarrod Bleijie said the Labor MP is betraying her constituents by moving from Mareeba to Cairns, which sits outside her electorate of Cook.

“Cynthia Lui is turning her back on the people of Cook and to make matters worse taxpayers will foot the bill,” Mr Bleijie said.

“Speaker Curtis Pitt approved her request to relocate the office, around March last year.

“The cost of the fit-out is around $70,000, while the yearly rent bill will skyrocket to more than $71,000 per year.”

Mr Bleijie said her new digs aren’t in the Cook electorate, the office is bigger, the rent is double and it’s closer to her home.

“The people of Cook deserve better,” he said.

“They deserve a local member who actually works hard in the electorate.

“This is more Labor waste.

“Cynthia Lui has quickly adapted to life as a Labor MP by following the lead of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and wasting taxpayers’ money.

“You can’t trust Labor.”

The Express has spoken with Ms Lui on multiple occasions as it relates to the office move, and she has remained adamant that this is the right move for the electorate.

“I acknowledge the view that Cairns is not in the Cook electorate, it is however, the most central location for the large number of constituents who live in the Cook electorate,” Ms Lui said in a press release in December, 2018.

“The Cook electorate covers almost 290,000km2 of FNQ and the best way to cover that vast area is from Cairns, the transport hub for FNQ. A Cairns office means I can meet with more locals more often.

“I have taken into consideration the barriers that restrict people’s ability to access my office in Mareeba – including, socioeconomic background, disability and transportation.

“I will still continue to work hard for the people of Mareeba by visiting regularly and holding mobile offices.”

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