Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
From Whitsunday Mayor to Federal Member, Andrew Willcox, has catapulted himself to Canberra and, over the past year, he has certainly made some waves in Parliament, spruiking the merits of our region, and demanding a fair share for his community.
By 6pm on election day, May 21, 2022, Willcox was clearly commanding a win, but it wasn’t until June 15 that he was officially declared as our new Federal Member For Dawson.
It was July 26 when he was officially sworn into his position, representing over 150,000 people in an electorate which runs from Townsville through to Mackay.
“I certainly hit the ground running,” said Willcox.
“I’ve always enjoyed helping people and this job’s enabled me to do that on a bigger scale.”
From helping people with immigration and citizenship issues to NDIS assistance and Centrelink, Willcox reminds his constituents to always reach out and ask for help if needed.
And while he loves spending as much time as possible in the region, one of his biggest passions is heading down to Canberra, where he spends between 18 and 20 weeks per year.
Adjusting to the freezing temperatures, however, has been a challenge to this passionate North Queenslander, and so has the big workload.
“The temperatures are not normal!” he jokes.
“It doesn’t even warm up during the day! – but I am getting used to it.”
While in Canberra, Willcox uses his time to raise awareness for our region and draw attention to local issues.
“I’m in the business of taking issues and requests to Canberra and delivering an outcome,” he said.
“We all think that everyone knows where the Whitsundays is, but they don’t.”
“We are the biggest cane growing region in Australia and Bowen has a half billion-dollar horticultural industry - in parliament it’s my job to educate people about the wants of rural and regional Australia.
“I’m not a shrinking violet, I am a man of conviction and I stand up for my people.”
When it comes to local matters, Willcox says that he puts the people and the broader issues above politics and, being in opposition, this has certainly come in handy when navigating the political sphere.
“All levels of government need to work together and be above politics,” he said.
“We need to make good decisions, look after the people and the politics will look after themselves - I’ll work with anyone to deliver better results for the people.”
Spending as much time as possible within the constituency, Willcox says that he is “hardly ever home”, preferring to spend time out in the community and listening to the people.
He says that now his children are adults he is lucky to have wife Raylene by his side when he travels, especially on the long trips to the ACT.
“Canberra is a busy place, but it can also be a lonely place, so it is always good to see a friendly face,” he said.
When asked about the year ahead, Willcox said he is excited to continue lobbying for our region and reminds the community he is available and ready to help with local needs.
Willcox speaks in Canberra
Outside Parliament House
Willcox spends time with the local headspace team
A recent visit to the Agave Farm with Nationals Leader, David Littleproud