Wave pool is most ex­cit­ing part of elec­tion


The Morning Bulletin - - YOUR SAY - AS­PIRE CQ WAR­REN ACUTT

THE most in­spir­ing, fun and in­no­va­tive thing that has come out of the lo­cal state elec­tion cam­paign so far was the an­nounce­ment of a wave pool be­ing de­vel­oped op­po­site Mt Jim Crow.

And re­ally it was just the tim­ing of their an­nounce­ment in the mid­dle of the cam­paign. No prom­ises or can­di­dates for the pub­lic­ity shots; they’re just go­ing ahead and do­ing it.

The po­lit­i­cal strate­gists for most par­ties will be won­der­ing how to con­nect with lo­cal youth in re­gional Queens­land, es­pe­cially the ones at vot­ing age and reg­is­tered. One party though has de­cided that’s too hard and best to ditch them till they’re 21. Those, among the best ed­u­cated gen­er­a­tion with the great­est stake in the state’s fu­ture (and debt re­pay­ments), be­cause of a blan­ket be­lief that “they don’t have an idea”! Per­haps it is the po­lit­i­cal par­ties who don’t have an idea on how to en­gage with youth, par­tic­u­larly those who live in the re­gions. For starters slo­gans like “Un­der Tim it will be Grim” are wasted be­cause a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber don’t know who Tim is. But is that re­ally their fault?

Who can blame the youth for be­ing dis­in­ter­ested or cyn­i­cal about pol­i­tics? The neg­a­tive cam­paign­ing the ma­jor par­ties feel nec­es­sary to win is ar­guably even more of a turn-off to the youth than older de­mo­graph­ics. Of course, there is the usual mouthing off about cre­at­ing jobs for youth (and so there should be con­sid­er­ing the youth un­em­ploy­ment and un­der­em­ploy­ment rate in the re­gions), but where, with Bris­bane build­ing the $5.4b cross river rail, is there a project of equiv­a­lent size be­ing promised for re­gional Queens­land, by any party? There are the an­nounced dams and weirs, but if the once touted Nathan Dam is any in­di­ca­tion, be­ing on the “to be com­pleted started” list for about 30 years, pa­tience will in­deed be a virtue.

Of course, there is that “A” word that one ma­jor party are now go­ing green in the face try­ing not to say any more about in the re­gions till af­ter the elec­tion – Adani. But can some­one sim­ply tell us what is hap­pen­ing with it?

Would I be stretch­ing things to say lo­cal youth are more in­ter­ested in the wave pool than the state elec­tion cam­paign? Not be­cause they don’t have any idea or jobs, but be­cause it is in­spir­ing, fun and in­no­va­tive. Which can­di­date and/or pol­icy an­nounce­ments has dis­played these qual­i­ties?

My favourite wished-for pol­icy an­nounce­ment is a Youth En­tre­pre­neur­ial Eco­nomic Zone en­com­pass­ing at least Rock­hamp­ton and the Capricorn Coast.

Now that has all these qual­i­ties. But that may first re­quire those promised bus shel­ters both ma­jor par­ties want dibs on in Frenchville for the can­di­dates to sit down in and work out what a Youth En­tre­pre­neur­ial Eco­nomic Zone in­volves.

What about promis­ing the money needed to make the Dream­time Cen­tre the best in­dige­nous cul­tural cen­tre in the world, even Aus­tralia for starters. That would be in­spir­ing, re­quire in­no­va­tion and could be fun to be in­volved with. But that would pos­si­bly also re­quire fed­eral funds and that’s a touchy sub­ject at the mo­ment, with that A word, Rookwood and levee bank is­sues.

There is also the tal­ent drain is­sue that should be ad­dressed. For can­di­dates who aren’t aware of what the is­sue is, it is when tal­ented youth leave the re­gion to live in work in a place that is more in­spir­ing, fun and in­no­va­tive; re­sult­ing in their home econ­omy slid­ing into de­cline.

So, here’s a hint for the can­di­dates who are al­lowed to voice their own opin­ions: if you want to con­nect to the youth, don’t look like a Johnny come lately and get your pic­ture at the wave pool site; talk about your in­spir­ing, fun, in­no­va­tive as­pi­ra­tions that you will try your hard­est to get for the re­gion if elected. As­pi­ra­tions that will re­tain and at­tract youth to your elec­torate. As­pi­ra­tions like rein­vig­o­rat­ing Rock­hamp­ton into the Cul­tural Cap­i­tal of the North. This has the po­ten­tial to re­tain our bud­ding ar­ti­sans and at­tract oth­ers. And it is from the arts that the most cre­ative in­no­va­tors and en­trepreneurs of­ten come from.

This will have a greater pos­i­tive ef­fect on the re­gion’s econ­omy, and more stir­ring with youth than bus shel­ters.

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