Premier: It's been 413 days without a visit
THE last time Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was in Bundaberg it was a right royal occasion as she hosted Prince Charles.
It has been 413 days since the Premier's visit on April 6 last year.
In the wake of Labor's disastrous showing in Saturday's federal election the Premier has once again begun embracing regional Queensland and its issues, particularly the need for jobs.
In the past few days she has visited Mackay, Townsville and Gladstone.
NewsMail checks yesterday showed in the past year she'd been pretty much to all major regional centres bar Bundaberg. But people in Bundaberg want to see her too.
With a Regional Deal and a business case for a new Level 5 hospital (as well as a few other big projects) all in the hands of her government, it's time for her to show she is listening to this part of the state.
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett yesterday said the State Government was showing a change of tune after the election.
"Overwhelmingly now we're seeing that the State Government seems to have all had heart transplants,” Mr Bennett said.
"They are now starting to listen to what Queenslanders and to what the Opposition, and us particularly as local members, have been saying to them for the last four years.
"We've been very disappointed with the dismissive and arrogant attitude particularly around signing deals with the Federal Government and it's really important that the people of Bundaberg realise that they have not signed $245 million for training for apprentices, they have not signed the new health partnership agreement for our health services, and they haven't signed for indigenous housing programs.
"These are national arrangements that happen all the time around every other state and territory has signed them, but not this arrogant State Government.”
Mr Bennett said he hoped with the upcoming state budget that the Premier's "rhetoric statements” evolve into "something more tangible”.
He said proposed new taxes hurt the ALP at Saturday's election.
"You cannot talk to an agenda taxing people into oblivion and expect people not to understand that,” Mr Bennett said.
"My message to Annastasia Palaszczuk: reconnect with the bush, acknowledge the agricultural sector, stop demonising our farmers, get on board with small business.”
The NewsMail yesterday asked the Premier's office when she next planned to come here and if there had been a visit we had missed.
A spokesman said both the Premier and her ministry regularly visited regional Queensland to listen to their concerns and find ways to create more jobs.
"Just this week the Premier has visited Mackay, Townsville and Cairns,” he said.
"The Palaszczuk Government is committed to delivering for Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and the entire Wide Bay Burnett region.
"That's why the last State Budget invested almost $600 million in local infrastructure, supporting around 2200 jobs in the region.”
Prior to the federal election, the Palaszczuk Government said the Regional Deal should benefit the entire region and not just one federal electorate.
"We look forward to discussing this further with the relevant minister once the Prime Minister announces his new cabinet,” he said.
"Tim Mander and the LNP need to outline how they are going to pay for their $5.2 billion in unfunded promises.
"If they aren't selling assets, raising debt, raising taxes or raising royalties...they would have to sack 10,800 government workers to pay for their promises.”
Deputy Opposition Leader and shadow treasurer Tim Mander said the Palaszczuk Government should listen to Queenslanders, who overwhelmingly rejected Bill Shorten's proposed tax hikes at the election.
"Under Labor's Treasurer Jackie Trad, Annastacia Palaszczuk has slapped Queenslanders with five new taxes in the last year and has refused to rule out tax hikes in the coming state budget,” Mr Mander said.
"Queenslanders won't stand for more taxes under Labor, whether it is from Bill Shorten or Annastacia Palaszczuk.
"Labor has no economic plan to create jobs.
"All they know is more and higher taxes that destroy business confidence and cost jobs.”
Mr Mander said there were 159,000 Queenslanders on the jobless queue, and the LNP team had an plan that would build job-creating infrastructure, rule out new taxes and support small business to create more local jobs.
"You can't tax your way to growth,” he said.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said for regional and rural Queenslanders, the election results confirmed what they had known for some time.
"Labor has abandoned the bush and does not stand for those who live, work and raise a family in areas outside of Brisbane,” Ms Frecklington said.
"Queenslanders want a government that gives them opportunities to develop and grow jobs in their towns and communities - not one that plays politics.
"We are committed to unlocking our state's potential with no new taxes and lowering the cost of electricity.”