June 10, 2017
Controversial Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson dropped into Kingaroy briefly on Friday as part of a three-day trip around southern Queensland which also took her to Toowoomba and St George.
The Queensland Senator, the founder of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party, took the opportunity of her visit to pay her respects – and possibly get some tips – from former Queensland Senator Lady Bjelke-Petersen, 96, who is now a resident at Orana.
After visiting Lady Flo, Senator Hanson headed with chief of staff James Ashby to the South Burnett Regional Council Chambers in Glendon Street where she had booked a meeting room.
The afternoon was not widely advertised which probably explained why only eight local groups had made appointments to see the Senator.
She said a lot of people raised problems which were either Council-related – such as issues with a development site – or State Government issues, such as funding a facility to assist people who are homeless or on drugs.
“Most of the things were basically local or State issues so I pointed them in the direction to get assistance,” she said.
However, other people shared concerns about Federal matters such as the disability pension or, more generally, the cost of living.
Senator Hanson said she could not comment on Moreton Resources’ proposed Kingaroy coal mine, an issue that has divided the local community.
She said none of the people that she had spoken to on Friday had raised the issue with her.
“But if it is going to impact on people’s lifestyle, houses or the water supply it needs to be looked at closely,” Senator Hanson said.
“And whether it is on prime agricultural land …”
She said the need for jobs had to be balanced with other factors.
“I need to speak to more of the locals and businesses to find out more about it,” Senator Hanson said.
She said the visit to Queensland and the “full-on” three days of travelling was “just doing her job” as a Queensland Senator as she was not “up for re-election”.
Senator Hanson is serving a six-year term in the Federal Parliament.
In Toowoomba, she was present at the funeral of slain Senior Constable Brett Forte while at St George she attended the opening of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association AGM and spoke to representatives of Balonne Regional Council.
In Kingaroy, she said she was bringing her office to people who may find it hard to get down to Brisbane.
“People appreciate the fact that I make the effort to get out and talk to people,” she said.
Senator Hanson raised some State issues which concern her, including nursing training – which she would like to see taken out of universities and put back into hospitals – ice addiction in rural areas, and jobs for young people.
And she said another big problem was nurses who retire out of the workforce but later want to return.
“After five years they have to go to Rockhampton or Sydney for training,” Senator Hanson said. She said this could cost thousands of dollars.
South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell also took the opportunity of a visit by a sitting Queensland Senator to raise several local issues of importance.
He said topics raised during his talk with Senator Hanson included included economic development, the need for new industries, the creation of a heavy vehicle transport corridor and the need for a new Kingaroy Hospital.
“And water for economic purposes to expand agriculture and assist industry development,” Mayor Campbell said.