BUSINESS LEADER: North Burnett needs a visit from Premier
FRUSTRATED with the lack of government presence in the North Burnett, a Biggenden business leader is calling for Anastasia Palaszczuk to live up to her claims of being a Premier for all of Queensland.
Kevin Edwards is the President of Biggenden’s Chamber of Commerce and said he is fed up with the lack of attention his hometown has received from the Queensland Government.
Quoting the Premier’s own words from her first election campaign, Mr Edwards has asked either Ms Palaszczuk or one of her ministers to visit the region “just this once”.
“She said, ‘just once vote for me’ so I’m saying just once come and see us,” Mr Edwards said.
“She’s been to Hervey Bay, she’s been to Caloundra, but we haven’t seen a minister here for years.”
Mr Edwards said he congratulates and accepts the Premier’s commitment to leading the whole state but doesn’t believe she’s practising what she preaches.
He said the lack of interest in understanding the issues affecting North Burnett residents made the community feel left behind.
“She needs to have somebody on the ground here every six months, so that we can communicate and have breakfasts and have functions so they can hear what’s going on,” he said.
Mr Edwards’ main areas of concern are the lack of maintenance in tourist areas, the unsafe roads and the absence of money to allow projects to come to fruition.
“At the moment, the council says they are a low rate council so therefore they don‘t have the money to get projects shovel ready and so the area is disadvantaged,” he said.
“In the budget, there needs to be allocations of money to local authorities, so that they can do the feasibility studies to get the projects shovel ready for when money becomes available.”
Mr Edwards said he would like to see a visit from the tourism minister so they can see the “fantastic” hidden treasures of the North Burnett.
“Like Mount Walsh, but the facilities are terrible, they need to be maintained so that when the Bundaberg regional tourism people advertise the area, people don‘t come in and see lots of broken concrete barbecues,” he said.
Also concerned about the major issue of unsafe roads in the region, Mr Edwards urged the government to see for themselves what a bad state they’re in.
“Our roads would not even be bronze planted in Brisbane, they wouldn’t even look at a road like we have to put up with in this region, because it’d be rebuilt and money would be made available,” he said.
“From Biggenden to Degilbo it‘s a shocking single track – something that wouldn’t even be considered in Brisbane, they’d be up in arms over it.”
Now that COVID-19 is under control, Mr Edwards said they have no excuse to not engage in person with the North Burnett.
“Rather than just sending an email, I think face-to-face is so much better,” he said.
“There’s no election for four years so we should have a minister every four months or six months so the country can believe they are being considered and they can see what the roads are like.”
Mr Edwards said now the election is out of the way, they can focus on the “bread and butter” issues that need addressing.