MP Vaughan Johnson a 'diehard' LNP member

Vaughan Johnson (middle) with Central Highlands councillors Kevin Pickersgill, Peter Maundrell, Kev Cracknell and Blackwater QFRS captain Glenn Hamilton.
Vaughan Johnson (middle) with Central Highlands councillors Kevin Pickersgill, Peter Maundrell, Kev Cracknell and Blackwater QFRS captain Glenn Hamilton. Di Stanley

VETERAN MP Vaughan Johnson has vowed to "go to his grave" a member of the LNP.

Mr Johnson, in Emerald on Saturday for the official opening of the $4 million fire station, pledged his loyalty to Premier Campbell Newman in the wake of the defection of Condamine MP Ray Hopper to Katter's Australia Party.

"I was a foundation member of the LNP and I still believe the LNP serves my constituents in Gregory best," he said yesterday, slamming claims the State Government was split in two - Brisbane or the bush - and ignoring rural and regional Queensland.

"Too often, all we were to the ALP was a photo backdrop.

"What tells me we are not just a photo backdrop anymore is that I am receiving repeat visits from ministers all around this vast electorate and they are truly engaging in the problems we face - problems that were completely ignored or glossed over by the previous government."

Mr Johnson cited numerous examples of money pouring into Gregory post-election, and legislative changes bringing new hope in the policy areas of health, agriculture and land tenure and education.

Billionaire Clive Palmer, who resigned from the party last week, claimed the Premier was ego-centric and didn't "care about the LNP or about the people of Queensland".

Mr Palmer praised Mr Hopper's decision to quit as "rare political courage".

But Mr Johnson insisted the party focus was on the bush, and particularly in Gregory where more than $3.5 million in special grants for everything from festivals and country shows to flood monitoring had been received.

"At last, land tenure problems are being addressed not dodged," he said.

"In a separate issue which is huge for Gregory, there have been extensive consultations about legislative changes for small opal and gem miners.

"As the member, I am involved in assisting stakeholders with government consultation on issues covering electricity tariffs, the Rural Fire Service, the CQU/CQIT merger and the ag colleges in Longreach and Emerald.

"One of the most important ongoing consultations is for the Central Queensland Statutory Regional Plan.

"This plan will finally provide land use certainty for land users from towns and villages to farmers and miners."



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