Holding Premier to account

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said tourism would help promote employment on the Fraser Coast.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said tourism would help promote employment on the Fraser Coast. DAVID CROSLING

BEFORE Premier Campbell Newman's overwhelming sweep into power on March 24, he told a room packed with regional newspaper editors the Labor government had become too centralised in Brisbane.

Mr Newman and former premier Anna Bligh went head-to-head at an APN editors' conference in February to pitch their plans for the state.

Many editors were impressed with Anna Bligh's knowledge of local issues and her detailed responses to impromptu questions.

Mr Newman, they found, painted with a broader brush while stressing he was a man for all of Queensland and not just Brisbane, where he had been Lord Mayor.

Since the LNP won 82 seats in the 89-seat Queensland Parliament, the state's new leader has already visited Toowoomba, Fraser Coast, Ipswich, Sunshine Coast and Mackay, with Rockhampton to be crossed off the list this Saturday.

NewsMail editor Christina Ongley and APN's other editors at, Warwick, Gladstone and Gympie say they have not seen him yet, but he is making his presence felt in regional areas.

Mr Newman asked the media and the public to judge his LNP government firstly on its 100-day action plan, which he saw as a report card.

After ticking off each of those election commitments, he has now launched another six-month action plan to measure his progress.

APN Newsdesk's Brisbane bureau, a wire service for APN's daily regional newspapers across Queensland, put a question from each editor to the Premier as our own yardstick - mostly questions we can return to in six months, a year and three years to check what progress has been made.

Mr Newman, who had the list of questions in advance, had good detail on some and was sketchy on others in the 15-minute slot allocated.

"A lot of this stuff you're asking about is long lead time," he said.

"The bottom line is that we're working on all these things; they were promises and they're now being worked on.

"All the things we said we were going to do in the first 100 days we've done."

Mr Newman said each issue might come up when he visited a regional area but there would be another five in the queue people might ask first.

He said the public purse was tight and he had already had to say no to many people statewide requesting money.

"If we don't stop the spending we're heading for an absolutely unacceptable financial mess," he said.

"We are in a mess now so we have to turn that around.

"So there is no money for starry-eyed schemes."

Topics:  australian labor party campbell newman

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