Studying this year’s Queensland Budget papers was a disappointing exercise … when will this State Government start investing in our State’s regions?

June 30, 2022

The Queensland State Budget was handed down on June 21 and unfortunately it has not delivered for the people of the South Burnett.

In relation to roads funding (or should I say the absence of roads funding), here are some calculations I wanted to share with you.

For the entire South Burnett – an area of 8,382 square kilometres – just 5.7 per cent of the Wide Bay Burnett regional roads TMR budget has been assigned to roads in this area.

In fact, the whole of the Nanango Electorate area has been completely overlooked, and once again our regional communities will have to continue to put up with a third class road system.

This State Budget continues the Labor Government’s chronic neglect of our regional road upgrades and maintenance.

There is no new funding for our major highways like the Burnett or Bunya Highways.

I am also bitterly disappointed that once again the seriously dangerous Tanduringie Creek Bridge still has no funding prospects.

Over the past year I have continued to advocate for funding for key roads projects, but the following remain unfunded:

  • Mundubbera-Durong Road
  • Kingaroy-Barkers Creek Road
  • Kilkivan-Tansey Road
  • The single-lane Cooyar Bridge on the New England Highway
  • Memerambi-Gordonbrook Road
  • Byee Road
  • GS Bond Bridge on the Chinchilla-Wondai Road

Labor really needs to start looking at our regional areas and the huge opportunities we have here.

We need backing with better roads, better health services, and less red and green tape for our primary producers and small business.

I had also hoped to see funding for important projects like the flood gauges for the Boonara Creek and the Barlil Weir.

In relation to health, I will continue to advocate for a full-time Paediatrician, a Specialist Cancer Nurse, Telestroke and a Persistent Pain Clinic for the South Burnett.

I’ll continue to push for these issues on behalf of our communities.

* * *

A portion of my letter to the Health Minister asking why the problem of long delays in PTTS payments has occurred yet again

Patient Travel Subsidy Wait Times Blow Out Again

South Burnett patients are once again enduring unacceptable wait times for their Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTTS) claims.

Wait times have now blown out to 12 weeks (60 working days) which is double the processing time Qld Health states in its own guidelines.

This really is unacceptable – especially when the lengthy wait times affect the most vulnerable members of our community, many of whom are pensioners and are undergoing treatment for cancer and other serious conditions.

People from the South Burnett rely on the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme to allow them to afford treatment, and many must travel at least two hours to see a specialist or to undergo surgery as most specialist services are not available locally.

Sadly, this is just a repeat of a similar situation which occurred throughout 2017 and 2018 when wait times were also out of control.

I have written to the Health Minister to ask why this is occurring again and what actions are being taken to clear the backlog.

It is obvious there is a staffing issue delaying the processing of these applications and it needs to be fixed.

* * *

I met up with Wondai Wolves president Mick Astill not long after the club found out the good news that it had secured a grant to fund better lighting at the Wondai Sports Grounds

Local Groups Secure Funding For Major Lighting Projects

Congratulations to the Wondai Proston Wolves Rugby League Club and the Nanango Show Society, who were both successful in securing funds totalling almost $210,000 through the Active Gameday Projects Fund to undertake major lighting projects at their grounds.

Lighting of these grounds grows participation in local sport by providing the option for clubs to train and compete in the evenings when more people are available outside of work hours, and when it is cooler during the summer months.

Thank-you also to the Wondai Wolves who invited me to their recent Ladies Day to encourage and promote female participation in rugby league.

* * *

Questions Over Use Of Murgon Palliative Care Unit

I have written to the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service about the use of the Murgon Palliative Care Unit as a COVID Ward.

The Palliative Care Unit at the Murgon Hospital was made possible by the generous donations of the community, and they rightly want to know whether this is a permanent or temporary change.

We know the staff at Murgon Hospital do an amazing job, but the community want to know how and where palliative care patients are currently being cared for at Murgon.

The conversions of wards into COVID-19 facilities is occurring at other small regional hospitals, such as Chinchilla, where the maternity suites are now a COVID ward.

These decisions have wider implications, and in Chinchilla it means expectant mothers must travel to Dalby for the birth of their child.

I believe the community deserve to understand what is happening with the Murgon Palliative Care Unit.

* * *

I had a great meeting with George and Rishana from the South Burnett Stroke Support Group, who would like to see a Telestroke service for regional Queensland to connect regional health services with metropolitan stroke specialists

Services For Stroke Victims

I recently met with South Burnett Stroke Support Group founders Rishana and her husband Graham.

They sought my advocacy for a ‘Telestroke’ service for all of regional Queensland to connect regional health services with metropolitan based stroke specialists.

I have written to the Health Minister supporting this service for all Queenslanders.

The group meet once a month in Kingaroy and Nanango and would welcome any new members.


Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables

 

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