Premier’s flying visit to the Towers

Anna P 1Queensand Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is bringing her Working Queensland Cabinet Committee to Charters Towers this Friday.

The cabinet includes Treasurer Curtis Pitt, Employment Minister Grace Grace, Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman and Minister Assisting the Premier for the North Coralee O’Rourke.

The Premier was invited by Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth to visit the region and discuss key issues for regional Queenslanders.

One of those issues is the regional unemployment rate and job creativity for rural towns.

“It’s good to see the Premier coming out here… but one of the things we’ve conveyed is we’re tired of the discrepancies in funding compared to the south-easy corner for rural and regional Queensland,” Mr Knuth says.

“I’m hoping we can continue many meaningful conversations and dialogue in that area.”

Mr Knuth says he hopes having the Premier on the ground getting a first-hand view will help those conversations along.

“We have almost double the rate of unemployment, we have three times the amount of suicides and these issues need to be addressed,” he says.

Ms Palaszczuk says she’s looking forward to returning to the Gold City, having only visited last September.

“I’m really looking forward to heading to Charters Towers again,” she says.

“I know there’s some very pressing issues in that part of Queensland and I want to hear about them first-hand.”

The Premier’s cabinet recently visited Mr Knuth’s KAP party member Robbie Katter in Mt Isa discussing similar issues.

“My Working Queensland Cabinet Committee is all about listening to local ideas about job creation,” Ms Palaszczuk says.

“No-one can bring back a mining boom but we can look at ways of diversifying our economy and seeking out new opportunities, and that’s want I want to focus on at Friday’s meeting.”

Charters Towers Regional Council Mayor Liz Schmidt is excited for the opportunity so early in her tenure to have the ear of important government ministers.

“It’s a really good opportunity for us all to get in the door and let them know what’s happening and what’s not happening in this town and see if we can get as much support as we can,” Cr Schmidt says.

“The plan is to absolutely make the most of it, they’re not here for long, we need to get them and talk to them and make them to listen to us for what we need them to do.”

Cr Schmidt says she and her councillors will be having key discussions with the Premier and her entourage.

“Jobs and jobs and more jobs is what we need to figure out with them as that’s the main part of the reason they’re coming,” she says.

“We need to figure how we’re doing that, whether it be agriculture or business or just basic retail in the town, what we need to do to bring those jobs to Charters Towers.”

She also praised the Premier for the frequency of visits.

“I’m grateful the Premier is coming and that she’s prepared to come and listen to us I just hope that they take something away.”