Staff writers

Email Staff writers
Share this article

Tropic Now guide: Everything you need to know about the 2020 Queensland election

UPDATE 29/10/2020:

Last night's leaders' debate lit up over border controls, as both Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington faced questions from undecided voters.  

When asked who they're more likely to vote for afterwards, Palaszczuk pulled in a majority of 53% of undecided voters, while Deb Frecklington secured 30% and 17% remained undecided. 

Frecklington confirmed the LNP will release its costings today, but it may be too late for regional electorates like Cairns, where many have been eager to cast an early vote. 

Today's pre-polling data shows almost 20,000 people have already voted in Cairns – close to two-thirds of voters. 

There's just two days left of pre-polling ahead of the big day on Saturday. Both Barron River and Cairns voters can avoid Saturday's queues by casting their vote at the Showgrounds until 9pm tonight, or between 9am and 6pm tomorrow.    

EARLIER 26/10/2020: 

There's now just days to go until the election this Saturday, but it appears many Cairns residents don't need reminding.

This morning's election data shows over a third of have already voted in the Cairns electorate, with over 13,000 dropping into the pre-polling booths last week.

Barron River data doesn't show nearly as many early votes, with about 5000 recorded in the 37,000+ electorate.

This could indicate Labor incumbent Michael Healy may retain his seat in Cairns, while LNP's Linda Cooper could be edging towards a win in Barron River. The SportsBet odds reflect that at least, with Labor $1.70 to LNP's $2.05 in Cairns, while LNP has $1.55 on Labor's $2.40 in Barron River. 

The Electoral Commission of Queensland has reported statewide early voting numbers have broken all previous Queensland records.    

EARLIER 22/10/2020:

The LNP has made two big announcements this week, including the campaign's biggest spending promise to date for Cairns with $160 million to build the Cairns University Hospital.

The Opposition also announced it would introduce a trial youth curfew to tackle crime in the city.

Judging by the latest odds by the online bookies, the party needs the massive spending promise to boost it chances on October 31.

SportsBet has once again shortened the odds for a Labor win, with the Palaszczuk Government now paying $1.40 for a win compared to the LNP on $2.85.

In Cairns, Labor incumbent Michael Healy is slightly ahead while his colleague in Barron River Craig Crawford is trailling the LNP's Linda Cooper.

The LNP needs a net gain of 9 seats across the state to form a majority government, with Barron River and Cairns considered critical to the party's chances of winning government.

EARLIER 19/10/2020:

Pre-polling opened today, and the booths are already packed with keen Cairns voters.

Cairns MP Michael Healy and LNP candidate Sam Marino were both at the Showgrounds this morning to spruik their party's key pledges and promises. 

Pre-polling is open every day (except Sunday) ahead of the election day on Saturday October 31. Find all of the pre-polling information you need to know below.    

EARLIER 16/10/2020: 

Labor is in the box seat to win the Queensland election on October 31 – at least according to the online bookies.

Long viewed as the most accurate predictor of elections with a higher success rate than traditional polling, online bookmakers have now shortened Labor's odds to win.

When the election was called on October 6, SportsBet ranked the two major parties neck-and-neck with the Labor Party just ahead at $1.85 compared to the LNP at $1.90.

But two weeks into the campaign, Labor's odds have shortened to $1.50 compared to the LNP on $2.50.

On rival betting site TAB, Labor's chances are even rosier with $1.40 odds compared ot the LNP on $2.80.’s chances.

Stay tuned to for daily coverage of the election campaign, and scroll down for our comprehensive wrap-up of the key policies, promises and projects from both major parties as they happen.



Key information

Bookmark this page for regular updates on the key policies, projects and promises from the parties leading up to polling day on October 31.


Early voting will be available from Monday 19 October until Friday, 30 October 2020.

In Barron River,you can cast your vote from 19 October at 7 Mount Koolmoon St Smithfield.

In Cairns, you can cast your vote from 19 October at the De Jarlais Function Centre at Cairns Show Grounds. 


You can ask your local MP or candidate for a postal vote application, or visit the ECQ site here to apply.


SportsBet: Labor $1.50 | LNP $2.50

TAB: Labor $1.40 | LNP $2.80


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: West Arterial Road

WHAT IT WILL DELIVER: Upgrade the road to four lanes from Cairns CBD to Barron River, double capacity of existing rail overpass. 

FUNDING AMOUNT: $60 million

THEY SAID: “Labor delivers on roads promises for Cairns. Labor promised to build the Smithfield Bypass at the last election and work is well advanced on that project ... I’m pleased we’ll start upgrading the CWAR as soon as the Harley St upgrade finishes next year," said Barron River MP Craig Crawford. 

PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Anderson and English streets upgrade

FUNDING AMOUNT: $1.3 million

THEY SAID: “This is a great announcement for our motorists, all part of the Palaszczuk Labor Government's commitment to continue to create jobs and invest in better roads for Cairns as part of Queensland's plan for economic recovery,” said Cairns Member Michael Healy.



PROJECT: New bike path between Brinsmead and Freshwater

FUNDING AMOUNT: $1.2 million

THEY SAID: “This shovel-ready project will create local jobs during construction and is the missing link between the Cairns CBD and Redlynch,” said Cairns candidate Sam Marino.


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Half Moon Groyne

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: A new rock wall at Half Moon Creek

FUNDING AMOUNT: $1 million

THEY SAID: “I’ve always said Barron River is the best place in the world for boaties and people who love the water, and I’ll always fight to make sure we get the upgrades and jobs that make the most of it,” said Barron River Member Craig Crawford. 



PROJECT: Bruce Highway upgrades

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: A four-lane Bruce Highway from Gympie to Cairns by 2035

FUNDING AMOUNT: A $50m investment plan and a $33bn state-federal funding partnership

THEY SAID: “This visionary project will create 100,000 jobs, help keep people safe, boost productivity, improve tourism and keep communities connected,” said LNP candidate Sam Marino. 


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Smithfield Bypass

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: Bypass route continuity on the Captain Cook Highway between McGregor Road roundabout and Caravonica roundabout.

FUNDING AMOUNT: $164 million

THEY SAID: “It’s projects like the Smithfield Bypass that have continued to provide vital local jobs through the pandemic and it’s great to see workers already clocking up more than 150,000 hours getting this project off the ground,” said MP Craig Crawford. 


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Cairns Marine Precinct 

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: An 80-metre wharf and a 100-metre wharf

FUNDING AMOUNT: $30 million

THEY SAID: “This will support at least 150 jobs in the construction phase alone. It’s all part of our Far North Queensland Regional Recovery Action Plan, which is creating job security, business confidence and happier, healthier communities,” said MP Michael Healy.



PROJECT: New marine syncrolift at BSE Maritime Solutions 

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: 6000 local manufacturing jobs

FUNDING AMOUNT: $20 million

THEY SAID: “Defence is about to boom and the LNP’s investment will ensure the Far North gets its fair share of the new jobs that the Morrison Federal Government is creating. This $20m ship-lift will give Cairns the pulling power to land navy and civilian maintenance work which will secure 6000 local manufacturing jobs and create many more,” said Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. 


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Great Barrier Reef 


  • An innovative $10 million Reef Credits initiative to drive on-ground restoration and environmental market development projects
  • A $10 million Reef Assist program working with local councils and organisations
  • A new $6 million Great Barrier Reef Island Arks program to deliver ecotourism and acquire new protected areas

THEY SAID: "The landmark investments will protect our natural wonders while boosting Queensland’s tourism and related industries," said Cairns MP Michael Healy.



PROJECT: Great Barrier Reef 

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: Funding to local reef operators 

FUNDING AMOUNT: $6 million

THEY SAID: "We appreciate the great work done by our local reef boats but with reduced tourism they have not been able to continue at the same level. This funding will help with the continued eradication of Crown of Thorns, coral sea snails and maintaining the moorings. More jobs and better environmental outcomes," said Barron River LNP candidate Linda Cooper. 


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Cassowary Conservation Management Plan

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: Reassess speed limits in habitat areas, establish dedicated liaison team, deliver more signage and line marking 


THEY SAID: "The LNP under Campbell Newman and his Assistant Minister Deb Frecklington tore up Labor’s vegetation management laws in 2013 and habitat loss quadrupled," said Member for Barron River Craig Crawford.


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Queensland Protected Area Strategy

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: 100 new Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers, more national parks, more support for nature refuges

FUNDING AMOUNT: $60 million

THEY SAID: "We just can't risk this $60 million investment being cut by a chaotic LNP/One Nation/Palmer government who would repeal our tree clearing laws and bring back broad scale land clearing," said MP Michael Healy.


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: New wind farm near Ravenshoe

WHAT IT WILL DELIVER: Once operational, the wind farm will generate enough energy to power around 95,900 Queensland homes.

THEY SAID: “We're on track for 50% renewable energy by 2030 … this 157 MW wind farm will mean 150 construction jobs as well as revenue for local farmers hosting the turbines,” said Member for Barron River Craig Crawford.




  • $160m to build the Cairns University Hospital (JCU) 
  • $15m towards the land acquisition 
  • $5m towards the business case
  • $26m towards expanding and upgrading the Cairns Hospital Emergency Department
  • $2m to deliver a dedicated Kidney Transplant Unit in Cairns Hopsital
  • 4500 more nurses, doctors, paramedics and allied health workers across the state

THEY SAID: “Only the LNP will deliver the Cairns University Hospital, create local health jobs and ensure Cairns residents have access to the same world-class health services as those living in Brisbane,” said LNP candidate Sam Marino.


PARTY: Labor 


  • $16.5 million towards the Cairns University Hospital (JCU) land acquisition and business case (bringing Labor's total commitment to $67.9 million)
  • $26.4 million to expand the Cairns Hospital emergency department
  • $11.5 million to establish a new Youth Rehabilitation Centre
  • 9,475 extra frontline health staff across the state

THEY SAID: “Not only will these upgrade projects deliver world-class health facilities for the region, but will support a further 150 construction jobs which is critical for our economic recovery,” said Member for Cairns Michael Healy.


PARTY: Labor


WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: An Advanced Manufacturing Hub and a Cyber Security Training Operations Centre 

FUNDING AMOUNT: $3.6 million and $2 million respectively

THEY SAID: "This investment is about getting more Queenslanders into work, particularly young people. I want young people growing up in Cairns to have access to world class training facilities to get them into rewarding careers," said MP Michael Healy. 



PROJECT: Support schools


  • An additional 350 teachers and 760 teacher aides across Queensland 
  • A curriculum remodel to include a greater focus on English, Maths and Science
  • Introduce phonics screening for Year 1 students to boost literacy
  • Ensure there’s air-conditioning in every state school classroom

THEY SAID: “A strong education system means a strong economy, and more local and secure jobs in Barron River!” said LNP Barron River candidate Linda Cooper.
“Education is a key priority for the LNP …. our kids deserve a world-class education system no matter where they live,” said LNP Cairns candidate Sam Marino. 


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Trinity Beach State School and Redlynch State College upgrades

WHAT IT WILL DELIVER: New buildings and facilities

FUNDING AMOUNT: $10 million and $8.3 million respectively 



PROJECT: Youth curfew trial in Cairns and Townsville

WHAT IT WILL DELIVER: An 8pm curfew for unsupervised youth aged 14 and under and a 10pm curfew for unsupervised youth aged 15 to 17. Parents will also be fined $250 if their child's found breaching the curfew. The law would be subject to passing parliament. 

THEY SAID: "Labor introduced soft "catch and release" laws and scrapped breach of bail as an offence for juveniles. The LNP will fix these soft laws and recruit more police. This will be a common sense approach," said Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. 



PROJECT: Bolster local police force


  • 60 additional police officers in the region
  • Monitor youth offenders on bail at all times
  • Introduce mandatory detention for third convictions
  • Establish a Community Payback Farm to rehabilitate repeat offenders
  • Scrap youth bail houses

FUNDING AMOUNT: $20 million

THEY SAID: “I love this community but it’s being hijacked by these thugs who are given far too many chances under the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s soft on crime agenda,” said LNP candidate Linda Cooper.


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Increase statewide police force


  • An additional 2025 police personnel over the next five years
  • 150 located in each 'key' region, including Cairns 
  • An extra 50 positions in the Child Protection Investigation Unit

FUNDING AMOUNT: $624 million

THEY SAID: “There has never been such a big boost across Queensland, let alone for regional Queensland. It’s something that the regions have been saying to me that they want more police on the beat. And that’s exactly what my government is doing," said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.



PROJECT: Cairns Cycling Club

WHAT IT WILL DELIVER: New track lighting


THEY SAID: "Cycling is one of the fastest growing and most popular sports in our region. This is part of my comprehensive plan to deliver world-class sporting infrastructure for our city," said LNP Cairns candidate Sam Marino.



PROJECT: Clifton Beach Tennis Club

WHAT IT WILL DELIVER: Courts resurfacing 


THEY SAID: “The Clifton Beach Tennis Club have been extremely proactive in growing their club and it is genuinely a tennis club that is very community oriented. But some of the courts are extremely cracked and pitted, reducing their ability to train juniors and provide safe playing surfaces. Proud to support our community clubs – they are such an important part of what makes life great in the Barron” said LNP Barron River candidate Linda Cooper.


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Ellis Beach Surf Life Saving Club

WHAT IT WILL DELIVER: Courts resurfacing 

FUNDING AMOUNT: $1.5 million

THEY SAID: “I have been working closely with the club over the past few years to secure land on the beachside of the Captain Cook Highway so the nippers in particular, don't have to cross the busy road. This money will go towards sewerage and water services to make this happen.” said MP Craig Crawford.



PROJECT: Trinity Beach Bulldogs Netball Club Inc.

WHAT IT WILL DELIVER: Four new courts 


THEY SAID: The Trinity Beach Bulldogs Netball Club Inc. has grown quickly in a short period of time with 12 teams playing in the local comp. The problem is they have no courts. Literally! At the moment the club trains on courts in different locations, when they are available," said LNP Barron River candidate Linda Cooper.



PROJECT: Stratford Dolphins Football Club

WHAT IT WILL DELIVER: Kitchen upgrades 


THEY SAID: “It’s grassroots commitments like this that give local sporting clubs the chance to upgrade their facilities to cater for their members,” said LNP Barron River candidate Linda Cooper.


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Queensland Arts Showcase Program 

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: Funding for 15 art and cultural projects in Queensland


THEY SAID: “Queensland Arts Showcase Program grants are an integral part of our arts funding in QLD, that many organisations and artists rely on to keep producing incredible art,” said MP Michael Healy.


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Marine Rescue Volunteers 

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: Establishment of an integrated statewide marine rescue service and replacement of rescue vessels 

FUNDING AMOUNT: $35 million

THEY SAID: “This includes funding for new boats, but more importantly includes long term operational funding certainty and stability for all marine rescue volunteers in Queensland," said Barron River MP Craig Crawford.  



PROJECT: Tradie Boost scheme 

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: Help FNQ tradies renovate local homes ahead of cyclone season

FUNDING AMOUNT: Grants of up to $15,000

THEY SAID: “A lot of people put off jobs like this because it’s a huge expense. This will give people the opportunity to make that decision and allow that money to flow through to local tradies, which in turn will keep construction jobs going," said Barron River candidate Linda Cooper.  


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: YAPS (The Young Animal Protection Society) 

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: A new administration building and new kennels to be constructed

FUNDING AMOUNT: Up to $1 million

THEY SAID: “Our funding will transform the YAPS site ... The staff and volunteers at YAPS do a brilliant job and thoroughly deserve to have decent facilities to do their invaluable work," said Barron River MP Craig Crawford. 



PROJECT: Provide a community service obligation (CSO) to Ergon Energy’s distribution business, to reduce the cost of energy distribution across regional Queensland. 

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: Reduce power bills by around $300/year

THEY SAID: “Ergon retail has an effective monopoly in regional areas, which is expensive for taxpayers and a barrier to retail competition. Providing retail competition to the regions would ensure that all Queenslanders are given an opportunity to reduce their skyrocketing electricity bills, not just those living in the southeast," said Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington.  


PARTY: Labor

PROJECT: Cairns Show Association 

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: Assistance in preparing their economic statement


THEY SAID: “These funds are essential to ensuring the ongoing of the Cairns Show and its future development,” said Labor MP Michael Healy.



PROJECT: Cairns Showground 

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: Headrick Grandstand restoration


THEY SAID: “Without doubt the historical Headrick Grandstand is a focal point of the Cairns Show and numerous other events held throughout the year. However, the current deteriorating condition of the grandstand prevents the show association from securing opportunities to hold more events,” said LNP Cairns candidate Sam Marino.



PROJECT: Rego Rebate 

WHAT WILL IT DELIVER: $300 rebate on every registered vehicle 

FUNDING AMOUNT: $1.15 billion

THEY SAID: "Under the LNP every Queenslander who owns a registered car will receive a $300 Rego Rebate before Christmas. There’s no limit on how many registered cars you could claim the rebate for. It includes commercial vehicles such as small business owners and tradies. Under Annastacia Palaszczuk car rego has increased by 19.4 per cent," said LNP Cairns candidate Sam Marino.