The great debate dividing QLD
IT seems apt that the most ongoing debate in the Sunshine State relates to the issue of daylight savings.
And with Premier Anna Bligh asking residents in the south east, Toowoomba and Rockhampton regions to have their say on whether Queensland should have a split time zone trial followed by a referendum, it is understandable the old argument of breaking our state in two has reared its ugly head as well.
But with the location for the proposed split being either south or north of Rockhampton, both options would have great and differing effects on the Central Highlands.
If the split goes ahead Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson will see his electorate broken by the divide and said the idea ‘beggars belief'.
“This is the most lame-brained, idiotic statement I've heard from the lips of our Premier in a while,” he said.
Mr Johnson said one of the ideas for the split was to run the divide along the Tropic of Capricorn.
As the tropic runs through the centre of Longreach, Mr Johnson's home town, he would be able to cross from one time zone to another by crossing the street.
In 2007, the State Government surveyed the population using independent research company ACNielen, and found that the majority of rural and regional Queenslanders were against daylight savings, and even more so against splitting the state into two time zones.
Across the state 52 per cent of residents said no, and in rural and regional Queensland it was the same for 63 per cent of residents.
In June last year Premier Bligh said she was not prepared to split the state, but it seems she has changed her tune.
“Our government has previously categorically ruled out daylight saving for the entire state and we remain opposed to any consideration in that regard,” said Ms Bligh.
“But in South East Queensland this is an issue that polarises residents, this is the issue that never goes away and no matter where I am in the south east, it is the issue that is regularly raised with me – and I can't ignore that.
“Maybe we need to revisit the daylight saving issue and listen more to exactly what it is Queenslanders want for the south east in regard to split time zones.”
One member of parliament who has been outspoken against the idea of different time zones is Federal MP for Innisfail Bob Katter who said CH would want to be on the north side and away from the ‘greedy' south east.
“Everything I've seen in the (last) 40 years tells me that if we are happy to be second class citizens... then keep going as we are,” he said.
He said the large amount of money spent in the south east corner on projects like airport upgrades, tunnels and buildings in at South Bank were funded by the north and central regions of Queensland.
“It will get worse and worse and worse until we stand on our hind legs and do something about it,” he said.
“Where's our cut of the cake? Our roads are falling to pieces.”
Mr Katter said he was tired of the ‘tyranny of the majority' whom he believed our state was governed by.
“There are almost as many people in the rest of Queensland as there are in the south east,” he said.
“If you have a tick on your back taking the blood from you, you get rid of it.”