What's On In The South Burnett Today?

Travel Subsidy Wait Times Out Of Control

Filed under Breaking News, Deb's Diary, Latest News

Getting a subsidy for costs when you have to travel to Brisbane or Toowoomba to access health services is a good thing ... but waiting three months to get your claim paid isn't

February 7, 2018

In the past few months I’ve been approached by several constituents who told me they had waited up to 12 weeks to have their Patient Travel Subsidy claims processed.

This is simply unacceptable.

Many people from our community rely on the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme to allow them to afford treatment when they have to travel to Brisbane or Toowoomba.

This is affecting our most vulnerable community members, many of whom are pensioners and are undergoing treatment for cancer and other serious conditions.

Just before Christmas, I was told there were more than 700 claims waiting to be processed, but there’s just not enough staff to fix the backlog.

It is obvious this Labor Government has a total disregard for people from regional areas. They need to fix this problem urgently.

* * *

Vale Lady ‘Flo’ Bjelke-Petersen

It was wonderful to see so many people make their way to Kingaroy to pay their tributes and farewell Lady Flo in early January.

Lady Flo was a rock of our community and will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered.

I will always cherish her support and guidance.

Rest in peace Lady Flo.

* * *

Summer storms in the South Burnett have hit many people hard in some parts of our region

Storms Usher In A Tough Start For Many

It has been a tough start to the year for many residents in the South Burnett following the damage done by the Boxing Day storm, the New Years Eve storm and a recent storm at Coolabunia.

I’d like to thank the property owners I visited for taking time out of their clean up to show me the damage they experienced.

Despite a huge amount of effort by Kristy Frahm at BIEDO who coordinated a survey which assessed the damage people had suffered, it’s been very disappointing that our region didn’t meet the criteria for a Disaster Declaration.

However, it is wonderful to see the Blazeaid volunteers arriving in force to help.

Well done to Cr Kathy Duff for getting them here, and Joan Adams and her band of volunteers for coordinating their meals.

My office in Kingaroy is a drop-off point for non-perishable foods if you’d like to donate to the Blazeaid efforts.

* * *

Member fore Maranoa David Littleproud and I got to congratulate Swickers' owners when their new boning room was officially opened in late January

Bright Future For Bacon In 2018

2018 is set to be a huge year for the Swickers Bacon Factory and the South Burnett community, starting with the official opening of their newly built facilities and a sod turning ceremony for their $60 million new abattoir.

Swickers are our region’s largest employer and the largest pork processor in the southern hemisphere.

It is inspirational to see the results of the hard work the Swickers staff have put in to re-open the facility.

On top of January’s official events the region will also be put on the map with Kingaroy’s first ever ‘BaconFest’, an idea being brought to life by an enthusiastic group of local community members.

It will celebrate life in the South Burnett and use bacon, one of the nation’s favourite foods, to attract thousands of new visitors to our region.

SunPork Fresh Foods have announced they will sponsor $25,000 towards getting this first event off the ground – a major commitment to our region and this fantastic initiative.

* * *

Kirsten Butters, from Maidenwell, was our electorate's Youth Parliament Member in 2016, and I was delighted to meet her in State Parliament for a chat ... who'll be our representative this year?

Nominate For Youth Parliament

Do you know some between 15-25 who’s interested in representing their community and influencing positive change?

Then this is the opportunity for them.

Applications are now open for the 2018 YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament and we need a representative for the Nanango Electorate.

More than 90 young people will be selected to discuss the issues facing our youth and develop legislation that they will debate later in the year.

All Youth Members are involved in committee meetings, mentoring, training and research to help produce the Bills to be debated at Parliament House during the residential week from 23-29 September.

Applications for the 2018 program close on February 23, so I would encourage anyone interested to get in quick.

For more information head to YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament.

* * *

Declaring War On Ice

This month I called for bipartisan support for the LNP’s ICE strategy.

ICE has infiltrated our small towns and cities, it is destroying families and attacking the very soul and fabric of our communities.

No area is immune – and everything ICE touches it hurts.

You don’t need to be addicted or even use this deadly drug to be haunted by its effects.

I don’t want our regional towns and regional people to suffer any more, and tackling ICE is one of my main priorities as LNP Leader.

I am proud of the comprehensive ICE strategy we took to the state election.

Our plan included four new drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres around the state (including Toowoomba), a boosted funding program for prevention services such as Lives Well Lived to target high-risk demographics as well as increased crime prevention and awareness, stronger enforcement and shutting down organised crime networks that supply drugs to our kids.

Throughout February the LNP are holding forums across Queensland to hear directly from people affected by this drug scourge.

The first one was in Toowoomba on February 5, and I’d like to thank all those who travelled from our region to attend.

* * *

Petrol prices are a cost of living expense that affects almost everyone; the LNP want to introduce a NSW system that has helped drive petrol prices down by giving motorists more choice

LNP’s Fight For Fairer Fuel Plan

I understand that fuel prices across Queensland are skyrocketing. What is even worse is the fact that they are cheaper for motorists in other states.

It’s time for Annastacia Palaszczuk to stand up to the petrol price rip-off and help ease the pressure at the bowser for Queenslanders.

It hurts the hip pocket of Queensland motorists at a time when the household budget is already under extreme pressure.

Price variations of up to 25 cents a litre, even in the same suburbs or towns, is simply outrageous.

In NSW, a simple solution was implemented, providing real time fuel price comparison for motorists.

The NRMA have estimated that it saves motorists hundreds of dollars a year through increased competition between the fuel retailers and making it easier for motorists to shop around.

Queensland’s peak motoring body, RACQ has endorsed the LNP’s plan.

Under the LNP’s Fight for Fairer Fuel plan we will make retailers publish their prices in real time, and the date and time from which the prices will be applied.

Rather than play the political “blame game”, the lazy Labor Government needs to follow suit.

Queensland motorists want real action on petrol prices and they shouldn’t have to wait another three years for some relief.

* * *

I got to have a chat with one of the drivers at the South Burnett Speedway Club's annual Kings Royal event over the Australia Day long weekend

Love The Speedway!

I love going to the Kingaroy Speedway.

The South Burnett Speedway Club’s three day Kings Royal over the Australia Day long weekend event was a huge boost for the South Burnett.

The Speedway Club estimate it costs about $110,000 to stage this annual event, but they’ve managed to do it for six years in a row.

Congratulations to the volunteer committee, including President Travis Barron, for yet another great event.

[Photos: Nanango Electorate Office and]

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables

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