SHOWDOWN: Labor’s Blair MP Shayne Neumann and LNP candidate Teresa Harding. Only one of them will be smiling tonight.
SHOWDOWN: Labor’s Blair MP Shayne Neumann and LNP candidate Teresa Harding. Only one of them will be smiling tonight. Rob Williams

Blair closest as bookies declare Oxley and Wright

THE bookies have spoken, but today it will be the people whose voice will be heard loud and clear in the Ipswich regional seats of Blair, Oxley and Wright.

Betting agency William Hill has tipped the favourites, all listed at unbackable odds.

Blair MP Shayne Neumann is listed at $1.08 against his LNP opponent Teresa Harding's $7.

In Wright, the sitting LNP member Scott Buchholz is paying $1.01 with Labor's Allistair Smith out to $15.

The ALP's candidate for Oxley Milton Dick is a raging hot favourite at $1.03, with LNP opponent Bibe Roadley paying $9.

It is the seat of Blair that is expected to be the closest contest.

Ms Harding said she was "absolutely the underdog" but was not concerned by the bookies' odds because they had her ahead on the eve of the 2013 federal election.

"Last time the bookies had me as the favourite in the last few days so I don't even check what the figures are," she said.

"I haven't stopped campaigning and...there is a very positive feel. I have a lot of volunteers who have come on board to help hand out how to vote cards on election day.

"I've been handing out more how-to-vote cards at pre-poll than Labor and I have got more signs out than Labor.

Ms Harding said she had worked hard behind the scenes to advocate on behalf of the people of Blair with her contacts in the LNP over the past three years.

"It would be a great honour and privilege if on Saturday night I hear I am the member here," she said.

"This used to be a Liberal seat until 2007 when Kevin Rudd came in. Before that Cameron Thompson held the seat for nine years.

"Shayne has held it for nine years, so hopefully it is the nine-year itch in Blair."

Mr Neumann said the bookies were not his concern, but the people of Blair were.

"I am not interested in the punters or the pollsters," he said.

"I am interested in the people.

"The people will decide who wins the electorate of Blair.

"I have worked hard and served the community to the best of my ability in the past three terms and delivered a lot for the area.

"If elected I will continue to do it because there is more work to be done."

Mr Neumann pointed to his record of securing millions of dollars in funds for key infrastructure including the Ipswich Motorway upgrade, the Orion Lagoon, the Somerset and Ispwich civic centre upgrades, River Heart Parklands and the corporate centre at North Ipswich Reserve.

He also noted his support for arts, culture and social infrastructure in securing funds for Studio 188, the Condensery arts centre at Toogoolawah and the Kilcoy Information Centre.

"I've delivered about $130 million in upgrades for local schools in new libraries and halls," he said.

"I am committed to making sure that Labor delivers on the funding of the last section of the Ipswich Motorway where we have committed $200 million and I am determined to deliver $500,000 for the IRL for the North Ipswich Reserve upgrade.

He said Labor would invest heavily in local schools and health and that his party's NBN policy of fibre to the premises would ensure there was no "digital divide" in the city.

Greens candidate Pat Walsh has run a strong campaign in Blair and Labor will benefit from Green preferences.

The profile of One Nation's Pauline Hanson may well see her preferences flow to the LNP, who she has directed preferences to in Blair.



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