JIM Nilon’s letter (Isis Town and Country, November 12) completely misses the mark on redistribution. Contrary to what he says, the Bill would not have increased the number of parliamentarians – it would simply have given the independent redistribution commission the ability to see whether it is necessary and to consider it. Queensland is the most decentralised state in Australia, with more people living outside the capital city than any other state. The last increase in the number of members in the Legislative Assembly was three decades ago, when Queensland’s population was 2.2 million. It is now 4.7 million. MPs have gone from representing 27,000 men, women and children in 1985 to a whopping 53,000 people. It’s no wonder electors are concerned they can’t get an appointment to see their local MP when these members are trying to cover vast electorates. Demographic shifts have meant that large rural and regional seats have continued to grow in area, to the extent where the electorate of Mount Isa is now the size of France. The Mount Isa MP, Rob Katter, said he often had to sleep in his car overnight between towns, going hours without phone reception. A redistribution of seats is due next year, ready for the 2018 election. The LNP’s Redistribution Bill, which aimed to establish a fairer and more transparent redistribution process, was batted down by the Palaszczuk Government. Labor proved during the debate of this Bill that they are out of touch with regional Queensland. This kind of ignorance is holding Queensland back. We need a mature discussion about how boundaries are redrawn and by whom, how best to cater for people in rural and regional areas like Childers and to help MPs of all persuasions to best represent their voters. Only the LNP can deliver on this.
Stephen Bennett MP,
Member for Burnett