Isis Town and Country - - Front Page -

THE re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of Childers’ streetscape and the huge in­vest­ment in ed­u­ca­tion count as two of Mem­ber for Bur­nett Stephen Ben­nett’s top five ac­com­plish­ments of 2014.

Town & Coun­try has asked each of our lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives – Bund­aberg re­gion coun­cil­lor Tony Ric­cia­rdi, Mr Ben­nett and Fed­eral Mem­ber for Hin­kler Keith Pitt – what they rate as the top five projects from their re­spec­tive lev­els of gov­ern­ment to ben­e­fit the Isis dis­trict.

Each mem­ber was asked what they con­sid­ered to be their high­est and low­est points of the year, as well as a glimpse into what 2015 could hold for our re­gion.

Mr Ben­nett’s an­swers are fea­tured here, but be sure to keep an eye out for Mr Pitt’s and Cr Ric­cia­rdi’s thoughts next week.

Stephen Ben­nett’s top five for 2014:

Childers Streetscape

“The Childers CBD has ben­e­fited from $1.2m in fund­ing to en­hance and beau­tify the streetscape and make the foot­path more ac­ces­si­ble. This project is re­ally trans­form­ing the CBD, re­cap­tur­ing its her­itage fea­tures, cou­pled with mod­ern-day char­ac­ter­is­tics.”

Cres­cent St car park, Childers

“With Christ­mas fast ap­proach­ing, the ex­tra car park­ing the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment helped fund in Cres­cent St is a boost for lo­cal busi­nesses.”

Health achieve­ments

“We’ve made huge in­roads into long den­tal and surgery wait­ing lists, with new ini­tia­tives for lo­cal eye surgery in place, and a guar­an­tee that you’ll get your ap­proved surgery, on time.”

Lo­cal health fa­cil­i­ties

“It’s great to see that pa­tients with se­ri­ous ill­nesses can be cared for in their own com­mu­nity at the new pal­lia­tive care unit at Childers Hos­pi­tal.

“Lo­cal pa­tients need­ing kid­ney dial­y­sis don’t need to travel any more, with the first ru­ral re­nal unit at Childers Hos­pi­tal.”

Mr Ben­nett said the move had taken pres­sure off pa­tients and their fam­i­lies and car­ers, “pro­vid­ing the health care they need, where they need it”.


Mr Ben­nett said he was proud of what the gov­ern­ment achieved for lo­cal schools, from the Great Teach­ers = Great Re­sults ini­tia­tive, to “master teach­ers” help­ing im­prove stu­dent out­comes, and “ev­ery bit of back­log main­te­nance in Isis fixed with over $1 mil­lion of fund­ing”.

Mr Ben­nett con­grat­u­lated Childers State School on be­com­ing Bur­nett’s first In­de­pen­dent Pub­lic School.

He said it would mean greater in­put from par­ents, teach­ers and com­mu­nity mem­bers to give the school more free­dom to shape their own di­rec­tion and abil­ity to make de­ci­sions that would di­rectly ben­e­fit their stu­dents.

High points:

Ed­u­ca­tional re­forms:

Year 7 tran­si­tions and in­vest­ment for great re­sults. “It’s un­der­es­ti­mated how

suc­cess­ful it is,” he said. “It was very re­ward­ing as I was on the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee for the re­forms.”

Com­mu­nity en­gage­ment: Schools, res­i­dents’ and ratepay­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion, cham­bers of com­merce – all lo­cal groups were keen to en­gage. Mr Ben­nett said he also had more for­mal en­gage­ment in the fields of agri­cul­ture and hor­ti­cul­ture.

Kindy fund­ing: That was one of the big ones – fund­ing for the kindy to main­tain the ramps and front area.

Road so­lu­tions: The left-in only lane where Luck­etts Rd meets the Bruce Hwy. The im­prove­ments to the in­ter­sec­tion at the top of the hill just out­side town (lights at the in­ter­sec­tion). There have also been sig­nif­i­cant road­works on Good­wood Rd, which has im­proved the stan­dard.

Work on the Paragon: It is a fan­tas­tic re­sult for all things Childers. The way the com­mu­nity came to­gether and the work the Crafts put in.

Men’s Shed: Se­cur­ing fund­ing for both the Childers and Woodgate Men’s Sheds.

Low points:

Roads: Mr Ben­nett said he was equally frus­trated and happy with roads. “The rain dam­age – it was par­tic­u­larly dev­as­tat­ing to see that dam­age but I was very happy to see the work done to fix them.”

Aged care: It is a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge in Woodgate and other Isis ar­eas. It is a chal­leng­ing is­sue that we will con­tinue to work on.

Elec­tric­ity prices: The big­gest thing is the ris­ing elec­tric­ity costs. “It’s the low­est point in my ca­reer,” he said. “The in­creases over the last six years are hurt­ing ev­ery­one, par­tic­u­larly the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. It’s easy to make the cor­re­la­tion be­tween the costs of pro­duc­ers and the in­creas­ing prices.”

Road toll: The traf­fic ac­ci­dents in the re­gion; par­tic­u­larly Ap­ple Tree Creek. “We’re look­ing for­ward to part­ner­ships with other gov­ern­ments to help im­prove road safety across the re­gion,” he said.

What to ex­pect in 2015:

Con­fi­dence: Mr Ben­nett said we can ex­pect to see con­fi­dence in both job growth and the real es­tate sec­tors. “We’ve put the right mech­a­nisms in place and I think we’ll see those re­sults next year,” he said.

Elec­tric­ity: The task­force for elec­tric­ity will start to see great re­sults. We’ve been clear about that from the start.

In­vest­ment: We’ll fi­nally be able to break the shack­les of debt and put a lot of money back into our re­gions.

Elec­tion: Mr Ben­nett doesn’t com­ment on polls but there is one he can­not es­cape – the state elec­tion, ex­pected to be held in the first few months of 2015.


IM­PROV­ING ED­U­CA­TION: Stephen Ben­nett with Good­wood State prin­ci­pal Steve Cole­man.


RIGHT: Mem­ber for Bur­nett Stephen Ben­nett names the Childers streetscape project as one of his top five for 2014.


ABOVE: Se­cur­ing fund­ing for the Childers and Woodgate Men’s Sheds was a high point for the Bur­nett MP.

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