The Katter Australian Party’s position in Queensland parliament has been strengthened as it claims victory in the seat of Hinchinbrook.
State leader Robbie Katter and Hinchinbrook candidate Nick Dametto appeared in Townsville on Wednesday to claim victory in the seat.
The Electoral Commission Queensland has not yet confirmed Mr Dametto’s victory though LNP incumbent Andrew Cripps has conceded.
He finished third on first preferences in a tight four-way contest but picked up the preferences of fourth place Labor candidate Paul Jacob to overtake second placed One Nation candidate Margaret Bell and put him well ahead of Mr Cripps.
Once elected Mr Dametto will join Mr Katter in the seat of Traeger and Shane Knuth in the seat of Hill as the KAP’s third elected member of parliament.
Mr Katter said there were only a thousand votes left to count so statistically it was impossible to lose.
“We’re very pleased obviously and it’s been a six year project for us to get another seat in parliament,” Mr Katter said. “We’ve done that and we demonstrated the strong growth we can enjoy when we’re doing a job.”
Mr Katter said it proved they were reliable to earn the trust of voters and become a constructive player in North Queensland politics.
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“It’s been a wonderful result and we’re very grateful that people have put their faith in us,” he said. “The story behind the result that we’ve got is the KAP has moved outside those rural boundaries into urban areas.”
The seat of Hinchinbrook takes in the northern outer suburbs of Townsville to Ingham and up to Tully.
Labor are still set to take government with either a bare majority of 47 or 48 if the seat of Townsville falls their way, a tight battle between the ALP incumbent Scott Stewart and his LNP challenger Casie Scott.
The seat of Traeger has been declared. The final tally was Katter 13,642 (66.21%), Danielle Slade (ALP) 3413 (16.56%), Ron Bird (LNP) 2080 (10.10%), Sarah Isaacs (Ind) 683 (3.31%), Peter Relph (Greens) 444 (2.15%), Craig Scriven (Ind) 342 (1.66%).