“I BELIEVE WE WILL BE JUDGED AS A SOCIETY BY THE MANNER IN WHICH WE LOOK AFTER OUR WEAKEST.”
That is the mantra by which Michael Healy, the incumbent Member for the State seat of Cairns has lived his life.
“The day I got this job was the day I started campaigning on behalf of all the people in this city. I was elected by the people of Cairns to communicate their needs to Brisbane, and I hope to continue serving the people of Cairns.
A Cairns local for three decades, it’s quite easy to see the commitment Michael has for the region he has lived in, worked in and raised a family in.
“Whilst I have strong Labor values when it comes to community, health, education and the looking after those least fortunate, I also have a strong commercial background and understand the importance of economic viability and importance of supporting businesses.”
And it’s these commercial credentials that are most impressive.
Far from being a career politician, Michael worked in the tourism industry for 25 years prior to being elected.
“As the Group Director of Sales and Marketing for Quicksilver, I was responsible for the revenue and growth of the company. I know what it takes to run a business in Cairns, and the vital importance of the tourism industry to the entire region. I understand, from a practical level, what makes the heart of this region beat, while also maintaining the priorities of economic opportunities and infrastructure during the recovery period of exceedingly difficult times.
“Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has been an enormously stressful time for so many people in the Cairns community. I have taken daily calls – personal, professional, and commercial from people who are genuinely worried,” says Michael.
“We are a town of fighters, but we still need strong representation in order to get to the positive outcomes we need.
“People in public positions need a set of life skills, and given that tourism fundamentally drives this city, having a thorough understanding of the industry is also a huge advantage.”
“When I first stepped into this role three years ago, the city’s key stakeholders were not talking to each other. To get better outcomes, you need people who can get the best out of people. There needs to be a healthy respect between the leaders, even if they sit on different sides of the political fence.
“After all, we’re all here for the betterment of Cairns. I’m proud to have formed a close working relationship with all tiers of government leaders, which has been particularly helpful during this turbulent time.
“We all want to harness the best results for our city. Because for me, it’s about outcomes. Coming from a sales background, my entire career I’ve been judged on results, not promises.
“I’m confident that what I’ve secured to date for the people of Cairns would prove that we are moving forward and that we are being strongly represented in Brisbane.
Under Michael Healy and the Palaszczuk government, the budgeted list of both existing and shovel-ready projects is certainly impressive – $176M towards the new Cairns Convention Centre, $126M on the expansion of the commercial port area, significant investments into schools, playgrounds, education programs, youth services, agriculture and manufacturing.
“We’ve also invested $220M into schools across the region, including Cairns High and Trinity Bay High, which are providing fantastic new building infrastructure for the students to use.
“We’ve also pumped in $41M to the underway Wangetti Trail,” Michael adds, “as well as hundreds of millions of dollars being funded towards iconic tourism businesses and relief programs.
But, most notably, Michael proudly details the substantial investment into the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Services.
“The Cairns Hospital is the largest employer in the region – it has over 7500 employees and it services a geographical area the size of Victoria. But for me, it’s more than that. I have a close personal connection with this facility.
“Nine years ago, my wife Trudi was diagnosed with leukaemia. She spent five weeks in quarantine at the Cairns Hospital, and then went there every day for treatment the next year.
“She was totally at the mercy of the hospital staff and I simply cannot sing high enough praises for the entire team at the hospital. Definitely the doctors and nurses, but also the cleaners, kitchen staff, the office staff and gardeners. Everyone. The staff were absolutely sensational. And they deserve the best that we, as a government, can offer – the best technology, the best opportunities – and I’m prepared to fight hard for that.”
Michael goes on to list the breakdown of the investment he’s achieved for the Hospital. “I’m delighted to have secured a $26.4M for upgrades to the Emergency Department, a $1.5M investment for a new multi-disciplinary Pre-Admission Clinic, $2M for a new Endoscopy room and $800K for a new operating theatre.
“There’s $20.7M worth of critical upgrades to the Cairns Hospital overall, as well as a $1.5M research and training facility as part of the new University Hospital, which means there are employment and career opportunities for our young people that will rival those in Brisbane.
“In the agriculture space, I have secured $10M to expand a refrigerated export facility, meaning we can export more aquaculture. We have some of the best farming in the country here and on the Tablelands, and we need to get that into the growing Asian market. In order to do that, we need to make sure we have the transportation foundations in place, here at the Cairns Airport.
“And as a lover of the ocean, it gives me great pleasure to have worked hard on our Single-Use Plastics Reduction policy, which will see less plastic rubbish making its way into our environment.
“The Cairns Convention Centre, the ports, more flights coming in, infrastructure and roads — people see those things and notice them. I’m confident the silent majority realise the contribution the Palaszczuk Government has provided for our region.
“I believe voters won’t be swayed by expensive election campaigns. What we need right now is strong investment into Cairns, which the Palaszczuk government continues to provide, and I will provide that strong representation for my community.”
“At the end of the day, and I know it sounds corny, but I genuinely care about the people of the region.
“And I have no time for political games – I find it offensive, disruptive and unhelpful.
I believe you’ll always get a lot further in life with a jar of honey, rather than a gallon of vinegar.
“So you won’t find me in a mud-slinging contest – I’m far too busy working hard to help Cairns get through the biggest challenge it’s ever faced.”