Newman enjoys surprise defender of Queensland summit
ALLEGATIONS the Brisbane Summit's guest list is a stacked deck in favour of the LNP Government is being dismissed by a surprise defender of the event - Queensland Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk.
The summit is pulling together 680 people from across the state to discuss the minutiae of the government's 250-page Queensland Plan.
Each member of Parliament was entitled to bring three "delegates" from their electorates in an effort to draw opinions from a broad spectrum of the community.
The overwhelming majority of seats in Parliament are held by the LNP - 74 seats of 89 -- which allowed the LNP to invite 222 guests to the summit.
By contrast, the Opposition could have just 21.
The apparent discrepancy was seized on by Electrical Trades Union organiser Stuart Traill ahead of the summit.
Mr Traill said requests by the union to be more involved in the Queensland Plan had been stymied.
"They've been ignoring us while talking to big business."
Premier Campbell Newman said he understood conference risked becoming an echo chamber, so instructed his LNP colleagues to find those who may not agree with the party.
"I believe they have done that," he said.
Mr Newman said at least one guest from the Queensland Council of Unions was attending.
But an unexpected defence of the conference came from Ms Palaszczuk who agreed with the Premier.
"I would have hoped the MPs brought with them a good cross-section of community representation," she said.
In her dealings with community and educational groups, including teachers and nurses, who were attending the summit, Ms Palaszczuk said she felt it was a "broad cross section".
The summit runs until Thursday afternoon.
GOONDIWINDI Mayor Graeme Scheu says regional infrastructure projects such as the inland rail network can transform rural economies.
The inland rail project is slated by the Federal Government to connect Brisbane and Melbourne by 2026
"Infrastructure is what is needed in regional Queensland because there is massive future and opportunities out there with coal seam gas and agriculture," he said.
"We need the inland rail to deliver commodities to port.
"It is dearer at the moment to get the produce from Goondiwindi to the port than it is to get it from port to Indonesia.
"The inland rail route will skirt Goondiwindi. It is the most exciting project for our area.
"It will give us the freight connection to Brisbane port and also a freight connection to supply the southern markets.
"It will take the pressure off the roads. On the highway from Goondiwindi to Toowoomba there are eight repair spots at the moment. Today there has been an accident on the Cunningham Hwy and the road is closed for 12 hours."
MILMERRAN State School principal Andrew Brandon insists children under five need to be a focus of educational resources.
Mr Brandon said engaging with young children in that age bracket, and their parents ,was vital in preparing them for school life.
"Education seems to come to the forefront of most of the ideas about how we are going to change things in the future," he said.
"Perhaps we are trying to fit so much...into a teacher's daily routine that we are cramming a lot of things in.
"But I think education needs to be seen as coming from the whole community.
"We know that with the work we are doing with kids before they come to school and getting them ready for school.
"They are some of the most important years that we are just not getting access to - from birth to five years old.
"We need to do a lot of work engaging those kids' parents with the community.
"It is a critical age for those kids because they have learned so many social skills and habits by the time they have got to school."
Sport and Recreation
CENTRAL Queensland NRL bid team chairman Geoff Murphy says having an NRL side in Rockhampton will keep the youth in the region and benefit the community long term.
The NRL will revisit expansion at the end of 2014 with a view to possibly expanding the competition to 18 teams in 2016 or 2017.
Mr Murphy said the sooner it happened the better.
"What an NRL side would do for the region is enormous," he said.
"It will help us retain our young people in the central Queensland region because they wouldn't have to go somewhere else to make the NRL.
"It would encourage young people to stay in Central Queensland and develop a future life. We lose them to the south and it is hard to get them to come back.
"We do need our young people, because they are our future."
'Individuals, not government, will build healthy community'
HEALTH minister Lawrence Springborg insists that individual responsibility rather than government intervention is the key to building a healthy community.
The desire for a healthy and active society was front and centre of the feedback provided to the Brisbane summit of the Queensland Plan.
But Mr Springborg said government was a "facilitator" for healthcare, but not the determiner of a healthy society.
"We can have the best hospital and health services in the world but unless individuals make appropriate life choices it doesn't matter," he said.
"Chronic disease is lifestyle related and a lot of that is around what you eat, lack of exercise and the choices you make.
"The figures show that 40 % of people don't follow the advice of their healthcare professional instructs and 80 % of people don't change their habits.
"It doesn't matter how good our hospitals are if all we do is put a bandaid on it at the other end.
"The overarching theme that I picked up from the four forums I conducted in my electorate was that people felt that while government can do things, that individuals and communities need to also do a lot of things themselves."
Students want Great Barrier Reef saved
SAVING the Great Barrier Reef and planning more parks to play in were themes highlighted by students in The Queensland Plan primary schools postcard competition.
Premier Campbell Newman announced the nine winning students who he said had "developed outstanding 30-year visions for our great state".
"Students shared their thoughts on a wide range of topics including saving the Great Barrier Reef, town planning featuring more parks and recreational areas and wishing for a safer and community-focused Queensland," he said.
"One of the strongest themes was their preferred choice of transport - hover cars."
Each of the winners received an Apple iPad mini.
The winners included: Year 3 - Tyson Baker from Beerwah State School. Year 4 - Lara Headon from St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Rockhampton. Special school - Ryan McDonald, Mackay District Special School.
Queensland Plan will rebuild vision from 'bottom up'
With hundreds of community leaders tasked with setting a 30-year vision for Queensland, Mr Powell said the stakes were high.
"We have had 78000 responses from individuals and groups, which is the largest community engagement process seen in this state," he said.
"We've had international feedback that suggests (the plan) is unprecedented in terms of the scope and breadth of opportunity for people to have their say.
"Not only do we have the whole state represented here, we have got a whole diversity of the state represented as well.
"Just within my own delegation I have an 18-year-old school captain, a 70-year-old retiree who is pivotal in the local community and a small business person in between.
"What we are trying to do is reflect Queensland."
Mr Powell said the entire process was designed to be driven by the bottom up, not the top down.
"The reality is that this process is in the hands of Queensland," he said.
"It was exciting to see what came out of the Mackay summit and what came out of the engagement process.
"It will be exciting to see what comes out of these next two days but there is a little bit of nervousness as well."
Unions start attack as Queensland Plan set for launch
EVEN before the Queensland Government has a chance to discuss its 30-year vision for the state, union representatives have begun their attack.
By 8am, the Electrical Trades Union - backed up by The Service Union - were on the footsteps of the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre, where Premier Campbell Newman will later this morning launch The Queensland Plan.
The aim of the project is to pull together groups from across the state to help guide what Queensland will look like by 2040.
The unions, however, have accused the government of ignoring their input and focusing on representatives it believes are already aligned with the state government's own views.
ETU organiser Stuart Trail told APN that his union felt the Queensland Plan does not include the views of broader Queensland.
It was also a chance for the ETU to again oppose government plans in contemplating the sale of assets.
"We're sending a clear message - keep your hands off power assets and jobs," Mr Traill said.
Premier Newman opens the conference at 9.30am.