MPs called on to Rebel for the  Regions.
MPs called on to Rebel for the Regions. Centro Art

Labor MPs, it's time to stand up and fight for the regions

FURIOUS North and Central Queenslanders sick of being ignored by the Brisbane-centric State Government have joined forces demanding their voices be heard.

It comes as the call for stronger regional leadership in the Premier's cabinet grows, following the decimation of federal Labor at the election for misreading Queensland.

Already regional MPs from Gladstone to Townsville have united to pressure Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Deputy Jackie Trad to resolve the Adani issue as soon as possible.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga called for more regional MPs in cabinet while Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders asked for a new portfolio to be carved out to serve local communities.

The Premier has ruled out a cabinet reshuffle to take in the regions and yesterday could not explain why the portfolio of Minister Assisting the Premier for North Queensland was taken away from Mundingburra MP Coralee O'Rourke in 2017 and never reallocated.

From Gladstone to the northernmost part of the great state of Queensland there are 11 Labor MPs.

Here is a statement from the editors of three regional newspapers speaking for communities across more than a dozen State seats demanding Labor MPs take action now.

DEAR Labor MPs,

You have been elected by the people of regional Queensland to represent our interests in the State Parliament.

Now, more than ever, we need you to be our voice in Brisbane, not Brisbane's voice in our towns.

There is a growing divide between the north and south of this state and there is no starker example of this democratic deficit than the makeup of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's cabinet.

The only portfolios held by ministers from north of Moreton Bay are that of Communities Minister Coralee O'Rourke and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford.

Your government spends $4.4 billion of royalties raised from our regional mines and resources each year. Our farmers produce $20 billion in output annually, the Great Barrier Reef is valued at $56 billion and tourism is worth $25 billion to the state.

Yet your Treasurer is Jackie Trad who is kowtowing to Greens voters so as to hold onto her own seat while holding far too much influence over State Government.

Your Mining Minister Dr Anthony Lynham decides on issues pertaining to our $80 billion resource industry from his home in the inner north suburbs of Brisbane.

Agricultural matters are dealt with from Ferny Grove by Mark Furner and Leeanne Enoch rules on the Great Barrier Reef from Algester.

 

Hundreds of mining supporters, including Dave Taylor,  line up in Clermont  as the Stop Adani Convoy approaches.
STANDING TALL: Emotions ran high last month as hundreds of CQ mining supporters, fighting for their future, lined up in Clermont to protest against the Stop Adani Convoy. Facebook

From Gladstone to the northernmost part of the great state of Queensland there are 11 Labor MPs.

Between you, you hold the power to demand things change for your voters.

You have seen the frustration of voters with Labor spelt out through the polling booths at the federal election.

Already Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga have spoken out about the need for change from the out-of-touch Labor leaders.

They know there is widespread discontent among the grassroots of their community. They hear it every day.

They know the frustration felt by locals as they wait for the injection of jobs to come from the Adani mine which is being held up again and again by ongoing changes to its environmental management plans.

The groundswell against Labor in Rockhampton can be measured by a Day of Action by this community being planned in Brisbane.

That powerful message from this region is timed for Queensland Day.

A glaring reminder of the growing divide between the booming southeast and the struggling regions is the latest building approval figures which show 2200 new homes for Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast against a combined total of 163 for Central and North Queensland regions. Similar numbers have been repeated month after month for the past decade.

Today we call on you to march into William St and demand the state be properly represented with Cabinet portfolios appropriately dispersed throughout the state.

Mining, agriculture, the Great Barrier Reef, tourism and indeed the Treasurers' portfolio need to be held by those closest to the people most directly impacted by them.

Mr O'Rourke is well placed to be a minister considering his previous position as regional director in Housing and Homelessness Services in Rockhampton.

Here is a portion of his maiden speech to Parliament.

"I'm here with a mission and that is, to well and truly serve the people of the Rockhampton electorate, who put their faith and trust in me and again I thank them for this most unique opportunity.

"Above all I want to restore the faith of those traditional Labor voters who have become disillusioned. I want to not only regain their trust but to prove to them that Labor has always been as loyal to Rockhampton as Rocky has been to us."

The time is nigh.

Frazer Peace,

Editor of The Morning Bulletin, standing today beside the editors of the Townsville Bulletin and The Mackay Mercury.