Last week NQ First Leader Jason Costigan announced former long-serving Wujal Wujal Mayor Desmond Tayley as the NQ FIRST candidate for the seat of Cook.
Mr Costigan who is also the Member for the seat of Whitsunday said, “Desmond Tayley proudly served almost 20 years in local government and continues to have the respect of people throughout the Far North, regardless of where they live and the colour of their skin,” said Mr Costigan
“I’ve come to know, respect and admire Desmond Tayley over the years like so many people. We have had cordial discussions in the past, whether it’s been at Parliament House or in the Far North and I have also had the pleasure of visiting his amazing and close-knit community of Wujal Wujal, learning more about what that community has to offer.
“We’ve developed a very strong working relationship and believe in each other. That is why Desmond jumped at the opportunity to join our team, at the expense of others, in the hope of making a difference for the long-suffering people of Cook, who deserve so much better, remembering the current MP closed her office in Mareeba and retreated to Cairns – much to the dismay of people on the Tablelands and throughout the Cook electorate.”
Mr Cositgan claimed that having someone of Desmond’s calibre on his team was a massive coup. “I’m very confident he will be more than competitive come October 31 when the good people of Cook will have a clear choice – more of the same or someone who’ll fire up and put them and the Far North first and not before time.”
The NQ First announcement was made Friday, May 15 in Cooktown and some residents were not happy with Mr Costigan entering the area which has been in lockdown since March 22.
The Cook Shire Council is one of 20 local government areas in Queensland that have been limited to essential travel only as part of the federal government’s Biosecurity Act during the current crisis.
Resident Rob Grace told the ABC that he confronted the Member for Whitsunday after spotting him with Mr Tayley and a cameraman at ANZAC Park in Cooktown.
“My concern was what’s he doing here when we’re in total lockdown. Was he here only to benefit himself?” Mr Grace said.
“He wasn’t assisting in our lockdown situation. He was actually hindering it.”
Mr Costigan said authorities issued him with an exemption before entering the shire and that he hadn’t broken any rules.
“We sought advice from the Queensland Police service,” Mr Costigan said.
“As an MP we’re deemed to provide an essential service. In the discharge of my duties, it’s important that I see what’s going on there and how we’re handling the biosecurity situation.”
Despite the exemption, Mr Grace said entering the community at the height of its COVID-19 shutdown, sent the wrong message.
“Why is he special?” He said.
“Everybody else has to do two weeks (quarantine) to come into the shire. It definitely wasn’t an essential service.”
Mr Costigan said during his trip met with Cook Shire mayor, Peter Scott.
“The mayor had no problem with me being in his community,” he said.
Several reports claim that Mr Costigan is now the centre of a police investigation something that he claims is not true “I have not had one phone call from QPS”
“We applied two days before we travelled to the Cape, beyond the Palmer River control point and that was on the advice of the Queensland Police Service.” Mr Costigan said
“This wasn’t just the local bobby … this was a Superintendent of the police, the most senior officer between Rockhampton and Townsville, who gave me the advice in terms of my status as being essential.”