March 20, 2015
Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington told guests at Friday’s morning’s Mayoral Charity Breakfast that an important mental health initiative for the South Burnett – part of the LNP’s election campaign – had been fully costed into the State Government’s forward estimates.
She said The Clubhouse proposal had been developed by a hard-working local committee and she challenged the Labor Government to honour the project.
She said the Minister hadn’t yet responded to her requests for a meeting but she was ready to make a “really great push” to make The Clubhouse a reality.
The breakfast, held at Nanango RSL Club, attracted about 60 local businesspeople keen to hear Mrs Frecklington’s take on the recent election.
She said that despite now being in Opposition, she would be continuing to push hard for a new Kingaroy Hospital.
Mrs Frecklington said the Nanango Electorate had benefited “amazingly well” under the former LNP Government despite the $80 billion debt it had inherited.
And she emphasised that this $80 billion did not include Council debt or superannuation liabilities as had been claimed.
Without the actions taken by the government, the debt would have blown out to $100 billion by now, instead of $81 billion, she said.
Mrs Frecklington said she had a number of concerns following the election.
The new State Government had rebranded the Royalties for Regions scheme – the program which had assisted the South Burnett so much – but had cut the money available, and had opened up the criteria; she feared that regional areas would now have to compete with a lot of other projects to get funding.
She was also afraid that vegetation management laws and water legislation would also be changed.
“It is a government that won’t necessarily be friendly to the regions,” she said.
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Also speaking at the breakfast were Mayor Wayne Kratzmann, who said the major problem with the South Burnett was that it had 34,000 people.
“It’s not enough when the 34,000 want the same facilities as they have in Toowoomba,” he said.
Mayor Kratzmann said he had stopped trying to defend rates.
He said rates had gone up, but the Council was now in a sustainable position.
He pointed out ratepayers were charged $2.88 to empty a wheelie bin (what tradesman would charge that?), 7 cents to use the toilet and $1.80 a kilolitre for water (when people were willing to pay $3 for just a small bottle).
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The final speaker was Graham Archdall, from economic development peak body South Burnett Directions, who explained some of the business training that has been offered recently in the area.
The third round of “Building a Better Business” – a Certificate IV course held over five nights – will begin on April 15.
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Mrs Frecklington later issued a media release about The Clubhouse project:
“The South Burnett Clubhouse was a fully funded and budgeted local commitment I made during the Election and I’m calling on Labor to honour this project,” she said.
“One of my major goals has always been to secure better mental health services for people in regional areas. The proposed ‘South Burnett Clubhouse’ offers a model of care which has a proven track record, providing an intervention service that assists people who experience mental health problems.
“This project will be similar to the current, and very successful, Toowoomba Clubhouse which provides people with mental illness vocational training and work experiences, helping them connect with treatment, rehabilitation and re-establishment in the working community.”
She said she was also hoping that four other key projects would also be confirmed, including upgrades to the Kingaroy and Nanango Police Stations and the refurbishments to the Kingaroy and Nanango Courthouses.
“These are multi-million upgrades to key infrastructure in both Kingaroy and Nanango, and I have already requested that confirmation be given that they’ll be progressing without delay,” Mrs Frecklington said.
[UPDATED with correction]