THE man Labor has charged with beating Maranoa MP Bruce Scott at the next federal election has placed rural youth unemployment on his to-do list if elected.
New ALP candidate Dave Kerrigan, who works in rural health at Barcaldine and hails from Longreach, said young people need to be inspired to stay in rural communities.
"Some of the biggest problems are with our youth - when I was growing up, there was no problem trying to get a trade," he said.
"Now I see young people are getting so disillusioned because there are more stores closing down and they don't see a future.
"One of the first things would be to stop cuts to state funding, because that has a huge impact on all our communities."
Mr Kerrigan said he was aware of the downturn of CSG activity in the Maranoa region, adding the need to focus on agriculture would be crucial heading into the future.
"Our agricultural sector really needs a lot of assistance," he said.
"Our sheep industry has been affected by the drought in some areas.
"I just think there has got to be a balance and we've had some really good times in resource sector but now it's not and we need to focus on a lot of areas."
When asked how he intended to cut the huge margin Mr Scott currently has on a two-party- preferred basis, Mr Kerrigan said the lead does not necessarily reflect the community's satisfaction with the LNP.
"He has got a huge margin, but (then) why are our young people so disillusioned?" he said.
Meanwhile Mr Scott himself says he has no plans to retire despite speculation he would hang up his hat before the next election.
After 25 years in the seat, rumours had been circulating Mr Scott would be replaced by Queensland LNP Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg.
"I've never seen a bigger non-story, I haven't spoken to Lawrence and he hasn't spoken to me," Mr Scott said.
"He's doing a marvellous job ... I'm focused on what I've got to do."
Mr Scott said he had no plans for imminent retirement and respected the party process for preselection.
"I'm totally concentrating on my job and I'm enjoying it," he said.
"It's idle speculation and I'm not going to be distracted by this kind of ill-informed debate."
Mr Scott said there would be no election until after August next year and he did not know Labor's new candidate for the Maranoa.
Earlier this week APN newsdesk reported Mr Springborg had confirmed to a large Brisbane crowd he would not put his hand up for pre-selection in the federal seat of Maranoa.
Speaking at a Queensland Media Club lunch, Mr Springborg repeatedly suggested an LNP return to government in Queensland could happen any time in this hung parliament.
It is understood the LNP in Queensland will be calling for nominations in the federal seat of Maranoa in the next month.
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