‘WE’RE LIS­TEN­ING’

State LNP lead­ers in town on re­gional tour

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Small­wood

THE im­por­tance of jobs, devel­op­ment and the need to avoid red and green tape are the main is­sues the Queens­land Op­po­si­tion lead­er­ship team will take away with them from a visit to Air­lie Beach this week.

State LNP leader Lawrence Spring­borg, his deputy John-Paul Langbroek and Whit­sun­day MP Ja­son Costi­gan were all in the re­gion on Mon­day as part of the new lead­er­ship team’s ‘lis­ten­ing tour’.

Mr Spring­borg said this was about get­ting around Queens­land and talk­ing to Queens­lan­ders about the is­sues con­cern­ing them.

“And it’s very ap­pro­pri­ate that we do that so soon af­ter an elec­tion,” he said, con­ced­ing his pre­de­ces­sor Camp­bell New­man did not come to the Whit­sun­days be­fore the elec­torate headed to the polls.

This time how­ever, the Whit­sun­days was one of the first des­ti­na­tions to merit a visit on a tour that started in Far North Queens­land and is still head­ing down the coast.

The three LNP ami­gos started their day on Mon­day at the coal port of Ab­bot Point, lis­ten­ing to the con­cerns of lo­cals about pos­si­ble de­lays of nine to 12 months due to the new La­bor Gov­ern­ment’s lat­est dredge spoil plan.

They then moved on to Bowen where sim­i­lar con­cerns were heard, be­fore head­ing down the high­way to Proser­pine for meet­ings with agri­cul­ture in­dus­try stake­hold­ers such as Cane­grow­ers. By the time they ar­rived in Air­lie Beach on Mon­day af­ter­noon it was the turn of the lo­cal cham­ber of com­merce to gain a lis­ten­ing ear.

For Air­lie Beach Cham­ber of Com­merce rep­re­sen­ta­tives Mark Beale and Jimmy Dun­can, the need for in­ter­na­tional ac­cess to the Whit­sun­day Coast Air­port and the im­por­tance of keep­ing devel­op­ment flow­ing were key talk­ing points.

“Devel­op­ment al­lows jobs to grow and if you re­strict devel­op­ment it works its way down the chain right down to the sin­gle builder who can’t get a job build­ing a house be­cause there’s no new blocks of land be­ing pro­duced be­cause it’s been bogged down in leg­is­la­tion,” Mr Dun­can said.

An­other topic Mr Spring­borg raised was the cur­rent gov­ern­ment’s port­fo­lio sys­tem whereby tourism and ed­u­ca­tion are now man­aged by just one min­is­ter.

“[And] that’s some­thing which can­not work – some­thing has to give. Th­ese are port­fo­lios that should have their own min­is­ters and that’s some­thing we’re pick­ing up some sen­si­tiv­ity about,” he said.

Of all the places they vis­ited Mr Spring­borg said Air­lie Beach stood out for its cur­rent sense of op­ti­mism.

“There’s a greater el­e­ment of con­fi­dence here than we’re find­ing in other places,” he said. Mr Langbroek agreed. “It’s a blessed area, it’s got ev­ery­thing and that’s what I think the lo- cals re­ally want to see progress,” he said. Mr Costi­gan said he thought the visit had given the lead­er­ship team a chance to get a “warts and all ap­praisal of what’s hap­pen­ing in our part of the world – the good, the bad and the ugly across var­i­ous in­dus­try sec­tors”. Mr Beale felt the same.

“Well done on the guys com­ing to see us to­day. It’s re­ally im­por­tant for a small town like Air­lie Beach that the lo­cal cham­ber can come and say our con­cerns so we re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the time they’ve spent with us,” he said.

TALK­ING POINTS: Air­lie Beach Cham­ber of Com­merce rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jimmy Dun­can and Mark Beale (left and right), had a chance to talk to State Op­po­si­tion Leader Lawrence Spring­borg (cen­tre) and Deputy Leader John-Paul Langbroek (cen­tre left) when Whit­sun­day MP Ja­son Costi­gan (cen­tre right) brought them to town this week.

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