Longman contains farming communities along with working-class suburban areas and tourist spots. Photo by Bertknot, Flickr
Wyatt Roy's predominantly working-class electorate is facing socio-economic issues, including high youth unemployment. Longman, which is based around the Caboolture region, includes industries such as tourism, light industry, agriculture and farming.
Longman is one of Australia’s younger electorates after it was proclaimed in 1994 in lead up to the 1996 federal election. The seat has been an LNP stronghold for the majority of that time, with LNP candidate Mal Brough winning the two-party preferred vote for four consecutive terms before Labor candidate Jon Sullivan pulled off the second-largest swing nation-wide in 2007. It didn’t last long as the LNP’s Wyatt Roy won the majority of the preferential vote at the following election to become the youngest member of the House of Representatives at age 20. He gained re-election in 2013 and plans to be selected for the third consecutive term.
Named after Irene Longman, who was the first woman to be elected into the Parliament of Queensland, Longman is a provincial electoral division that covers most of the Moreton Bay Regional Council in south-east Queensland. However, the electorate has many different faces among its 1239 sq km. In the east is the coastal holiday and retirement retreat of Bribie Island; in the centre is the working class populous of Caboolture; to the west is the broad farming communities around Woodford; in the north is the forestry of the Glass House Mountains; and to the south you’ll find the northern outskirts of Brisbane as far as Kallangur.
One of the constituency’s main features is the Bruce Highway, which is the state’s biggest carrier of traffic. It runs directly through the heart of the electorate and is the key link from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast. The Bruce Highway is essential to Longman residents who commute to those areas. The stretch of Bruce within Longman has been the centre of controversy for its high number of accidents and need for upgrades. The current member Mr Roy and former Longman representative Brough have pioneered a petition called Boost the Bruce in response.
Mr Roy is the current government’s Assistant Minister for Innovation after Prime Minister Tony Abbott was removed in favour of Malcolm Turnbull at the end of 2015. As a result Mr Roy has made a push toward making his electorate friendlier for startup companies and business growth through infrastructure such as the NBN, which rolled out in parts of the electorate in early 2016.
Unemployment has been hovering around 6% for the past year according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while the overall rate for south-east Queensland has been steadily declining almost as far as 5%. In 2014 The Brisbane Times reported that Caboolture and Redcliffe were among the worst regions in Australia for youth unemployment, claiming to have rates as high as 18.8%. An issue that is directly linked in the area is mental health. Mr Roy recently successfully petitioned for a Headspace in Caboolture.
On the other end of the Longman spectrum is the farming industry which is integral to its local economy. Longman contains beef cattle, horse studs, pig, poultry and flower farms, and crops such as pineapple, grains and other fruits that can be found at the bustling Caboolture Markets. On the coastal side, Longman is known for its famous Moreton Bay bugs, prawns and fishing, but it has become a contentious issue after the state government planned to make certain parts of the Pumicestone Passage commercial no-fishing zones.
Apart from its fishing, Bribie Island also carries the majority of the region’s tourist economy. Some argue that the rezoning of fishing will have a negative effect on tourism and the local fish and chip shops have started a petition against it. But the reason the state government rezoned fishing in the area was to promote tourist fishing. The Island boasts the best beaches in the electorate and is a camping hotspot for Sunshine Coasters and Brisbanians because of its close proximity and quietness. This has become an issue for Bribie Islanders because it clogs the roads during high season and many want to keep the Island quiet.
The electorate has a Queensland University of Technology campus, but it is the only university spread among its 94,050 electors (recorded in 2013). Just outside of the electorate, but still within the Moreton Bay Regional Council, the University of the Sunshine Coast has plans to build a campus, which is a part of MBRC plan to turn the area into a university hub.