July 17, 2018
by Dafyd Martindale
When you represent an electorate three times as big as Victoria, you have to do a lot of travelling and you need to cram as much into every visit as you possibly can.
Federal Agriculture Minister and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud showed he’s up to task when he paid a flying visit to the South Burnett on Friday.
In a little over six hours he managed to indulge in a little “pork-barreling”, followed by some netball-tossing and a ribbon-cutting, and then a first-hand inspection of one of the region’s latest crime-fighting initiatives.
And he did all of this with a relaxed good grace that completely disguised the fact he had to travel to Gladstone later the same day for another round of meetings.
The first item on Mr Littleproud’s visit was to officially announce that the Kingaroy Chamber Of Commerce and Industry had been given a $33,000 grant from the Community Investment stream of this year’s Building Better Regions Fund towards the cost of running the inaugural Kingaroy BaconFest.
While the announcement of this windfall had been made by Regional Development Minister John McVeigh in Canberra a few days beforehand, Mr Littleproud travelled from Goondiwindi to the Glendon Street forecourt early on Friday morning to meet members of the Baconfest committee and do the honours in person.
He was greeted warmly by Bacon Man along with members of the organising committee,
Mr Littleproud noted it was the first time he’d ever cuddled up to so much bacon …
After posing for cameras and telephones, Mr Littleproud’s next stop was to the Nanango and District Netball Club, where he got his first view of the new $310,000 netball courts that he played a big part in getting built.
Mr Littleproud said he had been approached by the club to take a look at their flood-damaged courts not long after he took office, and he realised as soon as he saw them they needed a complete replacement.
And when he found out club members had spent the previous five years arduously putting together a $110,000 war chest for the project, this only firmed his resolve to help them.
“They weren’t asking for a handout,” Mr Littleproud said.
“They just needed a hand up – and thanks to Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion we were able to find the rest of the funds they needed to get these wonderful new courts up and running.”
Mr Littleproud also paid tribute to other sponsors who had chipped in to help the club’s fundraising efforts, including Nanango’s Heritage Community Branch.
He said his first job had been working at a bank in Nanango so he knew the town well, and he was convinced Nanango did the right thing by opening a Heritage branch when the big banks pulled out of the town.
“Nanango’s Heritage Community Branch has poured millions upon millions of dollars back into the Nanango community ever since the day it opened, and these new netball courts are just one of the many projects they’ve funded over the years,” Mr Littleproud said.
“What a tremendous asset they are for this town.”
After lunch, Mr Littleproud’s next port of call was Nanango’s new police station, where he was given a demonstration of the even-newer 15 camera CCTV system installed in the CBD, thanks to an $80,000 grant from the Federal Government’s Safer Communities fund and an extra $50,000 contribution from Heritage.
Mr Littleproud was told the new CCTV system used cameras that look like becoming a police standard state-wide, and one day this may give officers the opportunity to link up wide-scale surveillance systems that would make things even more difficult for law-breakers.
At the moment, however, the system provides a clear view of the key streets in the Nanango CBD area that is just as effective at night as it is during the day, and which has already helped solve one issue for local police just days after it came into operation.
He was then given a quick tour of the system’s capabilities before chatting briefly with station staff.
After this, Mr Littleproud made his way back to Kingaroy to catch a plane for his follow-up engagements at Gladstone.