FEDERAL MP Bob Katter confirmed the Fraser Coast is a key target for his Australian Party in the upcoming state election after hundreds gathered at the Maryborough markets to have their say.
Mr Katter and state leader for the Australian Party Aidan McLindon spent more than two hours wading through a thick crowd of supporters at the Maryborough markets yesterday.
The pair also threw their support behind Downer EDI Rail after they announced their first step to protect local industry would be awarding an exclusive Queensland Government contract to Downer.
Mr Katter said the Australian Party would deliver the contract to supply electric trains for the suburban train network to protect more than 1000 jobs at the facility.
"It is the economic base for Maryborough," Mr McLindon said.
"It is absolutely critical these jobs stay local."
Mr Katter said things had not been looking good for Downer EDI before the West Australian government awarded them an $80 million contract last month.
"Government should be protecting these industries and protecting our regional towns and people," he said.
Hundreds more gathered around the Maryborough Town Hall to witness Mr Katter fire the cannon with the Town Crier and Mary Heritage.
He spent more than two hours meeting residents, potential local candidates and members of the Fraser Coast Regional Council.
The Fraser Coast was one of the first regions Mr Katter visited after an announcement earlier this week that the Australian Party would swallow up the Queensland Party at the next state election.
Queensland Party founder Aidan McLindon and now Australian Party state leader, Mr McLindon joined Mr Katter in Maryborough to talk to local people.
The pair confirmed several people had already stepped forward to contest the seat against independent member for Maryborough Chris Foley.
"Obviously, this is one of the target areas," Mr Katter said. He took away a list of problems presented to him from residents, writing them down as people came to speak to him.
Resident raised dozens of local issues with Mr Katter, including the Maryborough Base Hospital.
He said the first person he met yesterday had raised an issue with the hospital and he met with Maryborough doctors last night to discuss local medical care.
"I don't come to these regions with a solution, I listen to the people," he said.
Stall holder Bill Brown proudly displayed an Australian Party sticker on his stall after speaking to Mr Katter for more than 10 minutes.
"I like what he's doing," he said.
Australian Party member Mel Grills travelled from Bundaberg to meet with Mr Katter and Mr McLindon.
"I've thrown myself behind Katter," he said.
Mr Grills said people from across Wide Bay and the Fraser Coast had come forward to join the party.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.