December 2, 2020
Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington was ejected from State Parliament during Question Time on Wednesday morning after querying the level of mental health services planned at the new Kingaroy Hospital.
Mrs Frecklington had asked Health Minister Yvette D’Ath: “My community has the highest rate of suicide in Queensland. We also have hundreds of related police incidents. Will the Minister
answer this question from a constituent: There are no reported upgrades to mental health services at the new Kingaroy Hospital. Will there be a safe room, as we have needed for so long, or any inpatient mental health beds?”
Mrs D’Ath responded but did not refer to Kingaroy or the South Burnett during her reply or address the topic of services at the new hospital.
While she was speaking, Treasurer Cameron Dick interjected three times and was warned by the Speaker.
Mrs Frecklington – who was already under a warning – interjected once after Mrs D’Ath’s time was up, and was expelled.
Speaking later, Mrs Frecklington said she had been defending her community’s concerns about whether there would be an improvement to mental health services in the hospital redevelopment.
“Given the Burnett has been listed this week as Queensland’s region with the highest rate of suicide, I would have thought the Labor Government would have taken my question and concerns more seriously,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“Instead, the Minister for Health provided no answers and had no clue about whether these services would be included in the Kingaroy Hospital. My further questioning was met with arrogance and I was ejected from the House.
“This is typical of Labor who prefer to shut down debate, rather than listen to the concerns of regional communities like mine.
“In relation to the results reported by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, they sadly confirm what so many in our region already know, that too many people are choosing to end their life through suicide.
“There is a great sense of loss and a real sense of despair that suicide has become a constant in our community, particularly the rate of youth suicide.
“It is unacceptable that the Burnett has become Queensland’s region with the highest rate of suicide and this clearly validates why we have been calling for more services in the South Burnett and Cherbourg.
“It is also why I’ve been highlighting the shocking unemployment statistics for the young people in the Wide Bay Burnett, the need for economic development in the regions, and continued support for the agriculture sector during drought and disaster.
“I will continue to fight for improved mental health care services, more employment opportunities and initiatives that provide real hope for our community.”