It was an honour to officially open the 25th Annual Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network (QRRRWN) State Conference in Kingaroy last week and welcome more than 150 rural women to our region for this event.
The inland Burnett is the birthplace of QRRRWN.
It is the heartland of the network, with their oldest branch – the Barambah Branch – located here in the South Burnett.
So it really was fitting for Kingaroy to be hosting this year’s State conference.
Kingaroy Town Hall was packed with inspirational women, including Dr Kirstin Ferguson who shared her story and also launched her book ‘Women Kind’.
This year’s conference also featured a Youth Stream for young women and, along with Cr Kathy Duff, we hosted a special Youth Forum with assistance from our Nanango Youth Parliament delegate, Belinda Spencer of Maidenwell.
We discussed issues important to young women, as well as the processes of State Parliament and how to influence change.
Congratulations to QRRRWN for another amazing event!
I recently met in Wondai with Federal Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation, Senator Bridget McKenzie and Federal Member for Flynn, Ken O’Dowd to discuss the issues of water security, roads and health services in our regional areas.
Key topics included water levels in Boondooma Dam and water security for primary producers who rely on Boondooma water in both the North and South Burnett, including large avocado growers near Blackbutt.
Unfortunately, it has been confirmed that irrigators in the North Burnett have had their water cut off now that Boondooma levels have dropped below the threshold.
It’s clear a long-term plan is needed for water security.
An LNP Government would immediately investigate dam upgrades such as a new weir.
While I understand Stanwell has agreed to make 1000 ML available from Boondooma Dam, and take some of their water from the Wivenhoe pipeline, this is only a short-term fix.
I’d like to thank Ken O’Dowd for bringing Senator McKenzie to our region so we can highlight these issues.
It is obvious the Federal Government has a real focus on regional areas, unlike the city-centric State Labor Government.
What a great few weeks it has been showcasing the South Burnett through so many different events.
I’d like to congratulate the organisers of the inaugural Kingaroy Baconfest, which saw huge crowds and more events than you can image to celebrate bacon and our local pork industry!
The Blackbutt Avocado Festival yet again brought the region alive with all things avocado.
There was even avocado fudge!
Congratulations to the Avocado Festival organisers, too.
Heading to the Ekka is always a highlight for me as I love helping our regional areas promote all they have to offer to our city cousins.
Many locals made their way down to show cattle and other livestock, and we had our very own Nathan Trace of Nanango (pictured) take out runner-up in the Rural Ambassadors Awards.
Also, a shout out to students from Kingaroy State School who picked up several prizes for their displays in the Education On Show section, particularly Year 1-2 who won first place in their division.
I was also pretty excited to receive second place in the Cookery Competition for my pesto!
Crowds were at record levels for the 101st Wondai Show and I was so pleased to attend and support this important event.
This year the Show was officially opened by Dr Linda Stewart, a local women who has achieved great things and is now training to become a surgeon.
The two day event featured everything from barrel racing to bull riding and great local food.
Well done to the Wondai Show Society for continuing to grow the Show!
Kingaroy had a strong connection to the recent launch of the 2018-19 Domestic Cricket Season Launch in Brisbane this month.
I was pleased to attend and speak at the opening where the Queensland Fire Squad and Queensland Bulls were in attendance.
It was great to have the opportunity to catch up with Kingaroy’s Holly Ferling at the launch.
I started in my role as the Local Member at a similar time Holly entered professional cricket so it’s always great to hear what she’s been up to and what she has achieved.
Holly was added to Queensland Fire’s rookie list at the age of 14 and now at 22 she’s bowling her way to the top of the Fire squad.
And now we have South Burnett’s Courtney Sippel also in the Queensland Fire squad.
The South Burnett really does punch above its weight when it comes to cricketing representatives and Holly and Courtney are no exception.
I wish both of them and the whole Queensland cricket family the best of luck this season, and I’d encourage everyone to show their support for our Queensland Fire and Queensland Bulls teams this summer.
[Photos: Nanango Electorate Office and southburnett.com.au]