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Queensland's federal seat of Dickson sees LNP's Peter Dutton in tight contest against Labor's Ali France

Albany Creek local Michelle Darby would like to see more support for small business in the Dickson electorate. (ABC News: Emilie Gramenz)

It's the Queensland seat that even its MP of two decades, the LNP's Peter Dutton, treats as perennially marginal.

Encompassing north-west suburbs of Brisbane out to a semi-rural fringe, the electorate of Dickson includes fast-growing metropolitan areas and leafy villages offering a bucolic lifestyle.

"Dickson's always a marginal seat and I've treated it like that," Mr Dutton said.

"I've always been mindful of being a hard-working local member … I don't take anything for granted and I never have."

Once again he is facing a challenge from Labor candidate Ali France — who is telling voters there is "so much at stake" in 2022.

'I'm still undecided'

Albany Creek local Michelle Darby runs a mobile fashion boutique, which she drives mainly to aged care homes and retirement villages.

Education is a huge passion for her, and small business issues are also front of mind — after her business was hugely impacted by COVID restrictions.

"We were hoping for a little bit more support from government," Ms Darby said.

"The last two years have been very challenging — you keep building it up, next thing you know you're in the lockdown again.

"And the poor aged care facilities, they have to close down and we understand that – it's just the way it is."

Ms Darby said she would like to see more support for small businesses.

"There's been other issues, like, even in suburbia — the banks are closing so that's an issue with having access to cash flow, petty cash and money for floats and so forth," she said.

"We've had issues with petrol going up that's impacted on us as a mobile business.

"We do need to get better infrastructure for the public transport and make it more affordable I think, too."

But does she know who she will vote for?

The LNP's Peter Dutton is facing a challenge again from Labor candidate Ali France. (ABC News: Alice Pavlovic)

Asking people on the streets of Dickson what matters most to them this election turns up a grab bag of issues.

Several said they were most concerned about the NDIS, a voter who recently turned 18 said she would be looking at tax issues and following the advice of family, and another voter listed superannuation, education, hospitals and aged care as top priorities.

Others cited roads and infrastructure, the cost of housing, the risk of overdevelopment and national security.

'Always been a close electorate'

Mr Dutton has held the seat of Dickson since 2001.

As Defence Minister, he is a senior member of cabinet and a high-profile part of the national election campaign, but he said that had not distracted him from fighting for every vote in the historically tight seat.

"I think people understand that as a senior member of the cabinet, you have access to the Prime Minister and senior ministers, which is important when you're pushing for local projects," Mr Dutton said.

"The downside of course is that like any minister since Federation, you've got obligations not just locally but nationally as well.

"I think locals are very reflective of the national mood and the broader population.

"Their concerns about what's happening with China and what's happening in the Ukraine, I think, frankly it reflects the mood of the country."

The 2019 swing toward the LNP in Queensland helped Mr Dutton increase his margin to 4.6 per cent from a much tighter 1.7 per cent.

It has been even narrower in the past — in 2007, Mr Dutton won the seat by only 217 votes.  

"Dickson's always been a close electorate and when you look at the suburbs you understand why," Mr Dutton said.

Peter Dutton has held the seat of Dickson since 2001. (AAP: Glenn Hunt)

The seat once had a "one-term curse" where members struggled to get re-elected, and Mr Dutton attributes his two-decade grip to a strong local team and his record of delivering local projects.

He said that locally, people were concerned about congestion and cost-of-living issues.

"When you look at the fact we're in a big mortgage belt here, people will be really worried about their interest rates, and what's going to happen," Mr Dutton said.

"I suppose that risk of Anthony Albanese is really in people's minds at the moment — would you really risk the economy that we've got at the moment?"

'Really at the crossroads'

Labor's candidate Ali France has been in campaign mode for at least 12 months, and this time around — her second shot at the seat — her opponent's margin is no longer as razor-thin.

"I feel that we're really at a crossroads and we're at a crisis point really in terms of our aged care sector, in terms of the need for a federal anti-corruption commission, the need to address wage growth, and really to transform our economy into one in which we're more self-sufficient," Ms France said of her decision to run again.

"I've been door-knocking right across this electorate … the things that keep coming up, particularly over the last few months is cost of living — I've been talking to people who have full-time jobs, who can't afford to pay the bills, to pay the rent, to pay the grocery bills.

Ali France, Labor's candidate for Dickson, says she's running a grass roots campaign. (ABC News: Alice Pavlovic)

"I think people are really concerned about the aged care sector. I knock on doors and people say to me, I don't want to end up there.

"People also want to see integrity and confidence in their government again."

Ms France said she and her team had "put everything we can" into the race.

"We're definitely the underdog here … our strategy is really grassroots — we're just knocking on doors, making phone calls, doing street stalls," she said.

Scott Morrison plays down attacks from within his own party.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said Mr Dutton doubled his margin at the last election, riding a general swing against Labor.

"You're needing a swing of 4.5 to 5 per cent for him to lose that seat," he said.

"For Labor to win Dickson they need a state-wide swing, and they need to do particularly well in that seat."

Also contesting Dickson are candidates for the Greens, Pauline Hanson's One Nation, the United Australia Party, the Liberal Democrats and two independent candidates.

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Get all your news in one place