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Council Demands Answers From Candidates
March 15, 2012 - The South Burnett Regional Council has stepped onto the State Election battlefield, asking all local candidates to supply responses to a "10 Point Plan" for the South Burnett.

As well, Council is asking the candidates for the State seats of Nanango and Callide to state their commitment to:
  • Advocate on behalf of the South Burnett to support the plan; and

  • Work on behalf of the residents they represent to actively advocate for the matters raised, including advocacy for Treasury support for the South Burnett.

The South Burnett "10 Point Plan" is based on the Local Government Association of Queensland's "Queensland 2012 State Election Local Government Policy" but has been adapted for the local region.

Candidates have been given until 5:00pm today to supply their responses.

* * *

Katter's Australian Party candidate for the State seat of Callide, Steve Ensby, visited Goomeri yesterday and Wondai today to meet with voters.

Mr Ensby is a grazier with landholdings at Dululu and Wowan where he breeds Brahman cattle, and is the owner-operator of a heavy haulage business.

Speaking to CROW-FM this morning, Mr Ensby said Coal Seam Gas would become a major issue for the electorate.

He also said that the 19 per cent swing needed to unseat sitting member Jeff Seeney (LNP) was not impossible as there had been an 11 per cent swing against him at the last election.
Small Audience Quizzes Would-Be MPs

March 15, 2012 - A forum hosted by the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group and the Wide Bay Burnett Environmental Council (WBBEC) in Kingaroy last night attracted about 25 people keen to test the environmental credentials of candidates standing for the State seat of Nanango.

Three candidates - John Dalton (Independent), Carl Rackemann (Katter's Australian Party) and Grant Newson (The Greens) took to the floor and were given 15 minutes to address the meeting. Apologies were received from Deb Frecklington (LNP - who was hosting Fiona Simpson in Nanango, see story below), David Thomson (Independent) and Virginia Clarke (ALP).

ABOVE: Grant Newson, John Dalton, Carl Rackemann, WBBEC co-ordinator Emma-Kate Currie and Marilyn Stephens (Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group)

RIGHT: Carl Rackemann and John Bjelke-Petersen
KCCG members Keith Jessen, Damien O'Sullivan and Gary Tessmann with a new
"Lock The Gate" sign that they are urging landholders to place on their entrances

  • A Courier-Mail report this morning claims Bob Katter as a former Minister "opened the gate" to the mining companies that he is now trying to lock out
Dam Money Could Have Been Spent On Roads: LNP MP
March 14, 2012 - Shadow Minister for Communities, Housing, Women and Waste Watch Fiona Simpson visited the South Burnett today ... the latest in a string of political figures throwing their weight behind LNP candidate for Nanango Deb Frecklington.

The pair visited the Women's Pamper Day at Wooroolin before stopping off in Kingaroy for lunch. This evening they will be meeting up with local women at the Nanango RSL Club.

Ms Simpson said it was important the Nanango electorate had a voice in government.

"I am really thrilled that Deb is running. She is strong and capable and will be able to step up and ensure that her voice is heard in government," she said.

"We are focussed on changing the government. It's important to have a member in government rather than on the fringe. I have a lot of respect for Dorothy Pratt ... but it's time that you had a member in government, a member with considerable life experience and professional experience to bring to the table.

"The issue is getting rid of Labor. Katter's Queensland leader said they would consider supporting Labor if they liked their policies. You don't want to straddle the barbed wire fence about this - you either want to get rid of Labor or not."

"Waste Watch" is part of Ms Simpson's portfolio. She said examples of the ALP wasting money were the Northern Pipeline Interconnector - Stage 2, a $450 million water pipeline being built to connect Lake Macdonald to the water grid.

Ms Simpson said this pipeline would have originally connected to the now-scrapped $600 million Traveston Dam; now it was being connected to a "pelican puddle", ie Lake Macdonald.

Another example of waste was the construction of the Wyaralong Dam near Beaudesert which had not been connected to the water grid.

"We have a pipeline without a dam, and a dam without a pipeline," Ms Simpson said.

"This is lost money. Can you imagine how many road upgrades you could do for $1.4 billion?

"We will be smartening up the way money is spent and getting value for our capital investment."

* * *

During last year's public debate over same-sex civil unions, Fiona Simpson suddenly became the centre of media attention because of comments she had made more than 10 years ago in support of Exodus Ministries. This publicity led to attacks on her Facebook page which forced her to close her account.

SBBiz asked her about this today and her reaction to the Katter Australian Party's controversial anti-gay marriage "attack ad" on LNP leader Campbell Newman.

She said she had re-joined Facebook and was now restricting it to people in her electorate so she could discuss local issues with them. She had been forced to close her original account because of sexual abuse from a small minority of people that had "crossed the line".

However she couldn't comment on the KAP ad because she hadn't seen it.

ABOVE RIGHT: It was a family day for the LNP in Kingaroy today ... LNP Candidate Deb Frecklington with her mother Robyn Stiller and Fiona Simpson with her mum Norma Simpson
$9000 Boost To Replace Missing Fish
March 13, 2012 - Stanwell (Tarong Power Station) has jumped on board to help the Bjelke-Petersen Dam Fish Management Committee in its re-stocking program.

Tarong Power Station Site Manager Dennis Franklin said $9000 would be provided to help finance the release of fingerlings into the dam over the next three years.

"Anglers at Bjelke-Petersen Dam contribute more than $1 million each year to the South Burnett region," Mr Franklin said.

"A very large number of Tarong Power Station employees are fishing and boating mad so it is great to help the dam management committee maintain this excellent recreational area."

Committee secretary Les Kowitz said about 715,000 fingerlings had been released into the dam over the past two years including 75,000 yellowbelly and 60,000 Australian bass fingerlings late last month.

"We lost a lot of mature fish when four metres of water flowed over the dam wall last summer, so it is great to be able to build up stocks again," he said.

ABOVE RIGHT: Tarong Power Station's fishing-mad Chief Supply Manager Bob Dover helps in this year's fingerling release at Bjelke-Petersen Dam

* * *

South Korean company SK Networks plans to invest $313 million into Cockatoo Coal, which would lift its holding in the Australian mining company to 40 per cent.

Cockatoo Coal owns interests in approximately 4000 sq km of coal projects in the Kingaroy area and Surat Basin.

* * *

More Home and Community Care service providers in the South Burnett have received one-off Federal Government funding.

Groups to be funded include:
  • Kingaroy Meals on Wheels - $13,000
  • Darling Downs Health Service, Kingaroy - $10,636
  • Nanango Meals on Wheels - $13,000
  • South Burnett Senior Citizens Welfare Association - $45,000
  • Catholic Archdiocese, Kingaroy - $8000
  • Catholic Archdiocese, Kingaroy, Respite Care - $5214
  • Catholic Archdiocese, Kingaroy, Domestic Care - $2832
  • Catholic Archdiocese, Kingaroy, Allied Health Care - $514
  • Catholic Archdiocese, Kingaroy - $8000
  • Uniting Church Blue Care, Kingaroy - $16,000
* * *

A special travelling exhibition from the Australian War Memorial, "Framing Conflict", will be officially opened at the Wondai Regional Art Gallery from 6:00pm on March 23.

The exhibition comprises a collection of paintings and photographs by Lyndell Brown and Charles Green, who toured the Middle East and Afghanistan in 2007 as the Memorial's official war artists.

Entry on the night will be free. There will be finger food and punch provided and wine will be available for purchase from Crane Wines.

This Exhibition will remain in the Gallery until Anzac Day.

* * *

THE LNP has committed to a Floodplain Security scheme to better protect flood-prone Queensland communities.

LNP candidate for Nanango Deb Frecklington said an LNP government would provide $40 million over four years. This would be followed by an ongoing $10 million a year State Government investment in improved flood security.

The Floodplain Security scheme would be a 2:2:1 funding arrangement – for every $2 from the State Government, the Federal Government would be asked to contribute $2 and Local Councils $1.

* * *

Ergon Energy customers have donated an amazing $6 million to the Royal Flying Doctor Service through their power bills since 2000.

"Even though many of our customers have been doing it tough, it has only taken about 12 months for their total donations to jump from $5m-$6m," Ergon CEO Ian McLeod said.

Ergon customers can contribute via regular donations through their quarterly bill, or make larger one-off donations if they wish.

* * *

Greens candidate for Nanango Grant Newson has released his response to the Freshwater Fishing and Stocking Association of Queensland candidates' questionnaire about freshwater fishing. You can download his responses here (75kb PDF)
LNP Would Split DPI Away From DEEDI
March 12, 2012 - If there was any doubt left, the LNP re-stated its position on Cougar Energy's trial UCG plant when Shadow Minister for Agriculture Andrew Cripps visited Coolabunia today.

With Mr Cripps standing beside her, LNP candidate for Nanango Deb Frecklington said: "The LNP does not support the re-starting of Cougar Energy in the region. There will be no Cougar (UCG plant at Coolabunia) if an LNP government is elected."

A small group of farmers and agri-business representatives gathered at the Tessmann family's property to hear Mr Cripps explain the LNP's agricultural polices.

He said agriculture was one of the four pillars of the Queensland economy that must be turned around.

One of the first things an LNP government would do is re-establish a standalone Department of Agriculture.

"My opinion is that the amalgamation of the DPI into DEEDI has been a failure. There used to be a strong relationship between the DPI and farmers ... I don't think that relationship survives today," Mr Cripps said.

He said that since the departmental amalgamation, DEEDI officers had become "demoralised, frustrated and confused" about their role as the ALP had neglected "the basics" about agriculture, ie biosecurity, skills and training, and R&D.

Mr Cripps warned that turning this around would take time and the LNP would be hampered by the modest resources that would be available.

"We are staring down the barrel of unprecedented public debt in this State. Our level of debt in two years will be $85 billion," he said. "How could this happen during the resources boom?"

ABOVE RIGHT: Lionel Wieck (PCA), peanut grower Allan Obel, Opposition spokesman for agriculture Andrew Cripps and LNP candidate for Nanango Deb Frecklington
Cherbourg Mayor Criticises Blanket Ban On Alcohol
March 12, 2012 - Cherbourg Mayor Sam Murray has called for a more targeted approach to alcohol problems, saying blanket bans have not made a difference and have turned hard-working people into criminals.

Speaking to the ABC, Mayor Murray said alcohol restrictions at Cherbourg stop residents from doing what every other Australian takes for granted.

"I'm not saying that alcohol isn't a problem in Aboriginal communities ... but I think the blanket approach hasn't worked one bit," he said.

He told the ABC that fining and jailing people for drinking does not address underlying problems.

"Now it's become a bit of a money earner as well. We've got people going to court and to jail for the simple fact that they're buying a beer that's not approved by the government, and I think that that's wrong, that's an injustice," Cr Murray said.

LNP leader Campbell Newman has promised to review Alcohol Management Plans in Aboriginal communities if elected.

Recently, the case of a Cherbourg woman with a full-time job, a university degree and no prior criminal history was reported. She was arrested by police and later fined in court for possessing whisky. The local newspaper criticised her for not having "common sense".

* * *

At its Townsville launch yesterday, Katter's Australian Party promised to scrap a Brisbane light rail project - which it says would cost $8 billion - and instead spend the money on building a link road between the South Burnett and the Sunshine Coast, upgrading the Bruce Highway and constructing the Toowoomba Range Bypass.

KAP candidate for Nanango Carl Rackemann has previously told SBBiz that the Coast road would not be a first term commitment for the party but would be something he would be pushing for.
  • Read more on the 7news website
  • A Brisbane Times report from 2009 discussing a proposed light rail and a $8 billion heavy rail project for Brisbane

* * *

The Queensland Greens formally launched the party's candidates for five Darling Downs seats in Toowoomba on Saturday afternoon.

In a low-key event at the Oxygen Cafe, the five candidates spoke of their motives in standing.

Candidate for Nanango Grant Newson said the lack of accountability and integrity in government was a disgrace.

"I am sick of former politicians using their insider knowledge to grow rich working for multinational coal and gas companies," he said.

"Now we have high level public servants jumping from regulating these industries to working for them as well. It has to stop but only the Greens have a model for public sector reform that will stop this abuse of government knowledge for personal enrichment."

RIGHT: At the launch ... Gabriele Tabikh (Condamine), Grant Newson (Nanango), Frida Forsberg (Toowoomba North), Michael Kane (Southern Downs), Trevor Smith (Toowoomba South) with Queensland Greens State spokesperson Libby Connors

* * *

Independent candidate for Nanango David Thomson - who had been selected as the Queensland Party candidate but was overlooked in favour of high-profile candidate Carl Rackemann after the QP's merger with Katter's Australian Party - has detailed his beliefs on the political discussion website Both Kinds of Politics.

Thomson said he opposes Coal Seam Gas mining, wants better telecommunications coverage in the local area, opposes abortion, gay marriage and illegal drug use, but would like a public debate on medical uses of marijuana.

* * *

ALP candidate for Nanango Virginia Clarke says that while travelling around the electorate she has found that local families are worried about the future and the lack of opportunities.

She said a new $300 million Sustainable Regional Communities "Royalties for our Regions" program proposed by Labor could help address these fears.

"Our State's resources belong to all Queenslanders and not just the few," she said. "If elected as Member for Nanango, I will fight to ensure that the people of the Brisbane Valley and the South Burnett get their fair share of the wealth of our State."
Joh and Flo 'Made Queensland': LNP Candidate
March 9, 2012 - LNP Candidate Deb Frecklington late last night rejected Bob Katter's allegations about the Bjelke-Petersen family.

"I would not be in this position if it was not for Lady Flo and Joh," she said.

"I idolised those people. They made this State what it is today. They are one of the reasons I'm standing.

"It is an absolute honour to stand in this seat that Sir Joh represented.

"No one should criticise Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, and no one has."

* * *

The Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group and the Wide Bay Burnett Environmental Council (WBBEC) will be holding a public forum at the Kingaroy RSL next Wednesday (March 14) to allow candidates challenging for the seat of Nanango at the upcoming State election to have a say on environmental matters and be quizzed by the public.

Candidates who will be in attendance will be former KCCG secretary John Dalton (Independent), Carl Rackemann (Katter's Australian Party) and Grant Newson (Greens).

The forum will be held from 7:00pm in the Tobruk Room. Entry is free and there'll also be free tea and coffee.

WBBEC co-ordinator Emma-Kate Currie said all six Nanango candidates had been invited but unfortunately three had prior engagements.

LNP candidate Deb Frecklington will be attending a function in Nanango arranged earlier with Shadow Minister for Community Services, Housing and Women Fiona Simpson.

* * *

The Queensland Greens will formally launch candidates for five Darling Downs seats in Toowoomba on Saturday afternoon.

State spokesperson Libby Connors will be introducing the candidates at the Oxygen Cafe next to the Toowoomba Art Gallery in Ruthven Street at 2:00pm.

They are:
  • Nanango – Grant Newson
  • Toowoomba North – Frida Forsberg
  • Toowoomba South – Trevor Smith
  • Southern Downs - Michael Kane, and
  • Condamine - Gabriele Tabikh
Katter Comes To Town 'To Defend The Bjelke-Petersens'

March 8, 2012 - Peanuts featured strongly on the agenda when Bob Katter came to Kingaroy today.

The head of Katter's Australia Party visited PCA (where he discussed the declining number of growers), Crumptons (right), (where the skyrocketing price of gas was the hot topic) and peanut grower Warren Jones, (above), who patiently explained to the city media the ins and outs of peanuts (ie. they grow underground).

But Katter told SBBiz he had really taken a day off campaigning to visit Kingaroy for just one purpose: "to aggressively defend the Bjelke-Petersen name".

Still expressing "outrage" over LNP Leader Campbell Newman's comments last Thursday (see transcript SBBiz, March 7), the former Bjelke-Petersen minister said he was the last man standing from that era.

"The local candidate bought in a bloke here who's been in the State 10 minutes and he spat upon this area's greatest gift to Australia. A man who gave us the coal industry, the aluminium industry and the Queensland tourism industry. And it's not my words, it's those of an ALP Premier (Peter Beattie)," Mr Katter said.

"Now why hasn't the local (candidate) apologised? She bought him in here to spit upon Bjelke-Petersen's grave. Why isn't she apologising? I'll tell you why, she wants a ministry, that's the reason why she hasn't apologised."

SBBiz suggested to Mr Katter that Newman had referred to the Bjelke-Petersen Government, not Bjelke-Petersen the man, in answering a journalist's question.

We also reminded him that three of Bjelke-Petersen's ministers had been charged and jailed.

However Katter emphasised this had not been for "corruption".

"Excessive use of their government allowances. The leading case was Brian Austin and he took his government car and drove to see his daughter. It wasn't corruption. You can't say corruption. Corruption is when someone gives you money. There's a high difference between excessive use of a government asset and corruption," he said.

When asked if all this should stay in 1980s, Mr Katter replied that he hadn't brought it up ... the LNP had.

So was it the journalist's fault who had asked the question?

"No, the LNP bloke didn't have to say that. His candidate up in my area said exactly the same thing. They've obviously got some idea that spitting on Bjelke-Petersen will help them win the election campaign. I see it as a bunch of Liberals trying to get even.

"I'm sorry, you're making me very angry. That person come up here and spat upon Bjelke-Petersen's grave. I've taken a day off campaigning to come into a seat that most people reckon we're going to win, to come in here to defend the Bjelke-Petersen name because I know they are the most honest, decent people I have every worked with.

"My government had the courage to get in and weed out police corruption. It's endemic in every police force in the world ... no, it's not endemic, it is there in every police force in the world and you've got to have great courage and tenacity to tear it out. And we did that at great cost to ourselves. And when the dust had settled not one single conviction for corruption, not one.

"It was a Salem witch hunt, a Spanish Inquisition. It was about police corruption, it was never about corruption in government. And there'd never been any allegations along those lines.

"I make the point, that's why I'm here today, to tell the people here that there never was the slightest whiff (of corruption)."

Mr Katter also said he was outraged that Lady Bjelke-Petersen had been put through all this at her age.

"And that family who went into politics a rich family and came out of it not a rich family. They never took a free cup of water. My sense of outrage at that question is just uncontrollable and I'm entitled to be outraged."

ABOVE LEFT: Bob Katter tentatively tests the tub at the inaugural Wine & Food In The Park Great Grape Stomp, (see story below)

* * *

Asked about his candidate in Nanango, Carl Rackemann, Katter was full of praise.

"Bloody fantastic. He's a tough boy and he's used to winning very hard games," he said.

"This is really the State's battleground. If we lose this there's no hope for agriculture in this country, in my lifetime anyway.

"Who wrecked the peanut industry? The LNP. They raised the cadmium level. Who wrecked the dairy industry? The LNP through their competition policy."

He said the Federal Government had offered compensation but only if every State deregulated: "They held a gun at their heads and squeezed the trigger.

"Who took our guns off us? The LNP. Who sold the State Bank? Which government? Maybe 10 per cent of the farms here are only alive today because of the low-interest rates provided by the QIDC. Sold off by the LNP government of Bobby Borbidge. Land clearing was banned by the LNP, not the ALP.

"So if they get re-elected here it's a neon light that you can kick us to death, come in here and spit on the grave of one of our most famous sons and we'll still vote for you because we're a bunch of dummies, a bunch of numbskulls.

"People have to know about an LNP government. You absolutely know that your electricity industry will be sold off. They've already announced that they'll sell of the railways. They're not their assets, they're the people's assets."

But haven't the railways already been sold by the ALP?

"Good question. The rolling stock has, not the track."

The Katter media pack then hit the Bunya Highway again, heading off to Cherbourg.

* * *

Katter was visiting PCA when the news came through that his party had lost its Supreme Court bid to have his name included on ballot papers.

Katter's Australian Party had applied to have the party's full registered name included on ballot papers rather than the approved abbreviation, "The Australian Party". Had KAP's arguments succeeded, the State election would have been delayed while ballot papers were reprinted.

After the Court of Appeal rejected Constitutional arguments raised by KAP against the Electoral Commission of Queensland, Supreme Court Justice Roslyn Atkinson dismissed the application and awarded costs to the ECQ.

Katter later told the media the decision was a terrible injustice and a damage to democracy.

He said Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen had tried to go to Canberra to make fundamental changes, and "they" (the major parties) had tried to jail him but he was completely exonerated.

"Pauline Hanson tried and they put her in jail. Completely exonerated," he said.

"The stunt they've pulled here is that we're not allowed to use our registered political name. The name they have forced upon us the federal electoral (commission) has said is indeterminate, doesn't differentiate, it cannot be used, and quite rightly so. We would never have used it except as an abbreviation, that was only ever our intention.

"The federal electoral commission says that name won't tell you who the hell the people are voting for, and that's the name they're forcing on us."

He said the electoral commission, the bureaucracy, the political arm and the judicial arm were all subject to review in the court of public opinion.

"We pray to the good Lord that the people of Queensland will rise up in righteous anger. You will remember Wally Lewis being sent off ... the boys rose up in righteous fury and played like they never played before."
And The Winner Is ...
March 8, 2012 - It would be fair to say that LNP candidate Deb Frecklington and KAP candidate Carl Rackemann would like to crush each other in the upcoming State poll.

But the candidates took out their frustrations today in another, more messy form of tub-thumping ... all in the name of helping to promote the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival which is being held in Kingaroy on Saturday.

With the media in tow, the candidates enthusiastically stomped grapes in a two-minute challenge to see who could produce the most grape juice.

Rackemann had a size and weight advantage but Frecklington, who adopted a jogging style, seemed to have a better technique ...

Festival organising committee chairman Sheree Strauss had the unenviable job of judging the winner.

And the winner ... in a very, very close competition, was Deb Frecklington.

South Burnett Events Inc would like to thank both candidates for being good sports!
Rider Injured
In Horse Fall
March 8, 2012 - The AGL Action Rescue Helicopter has airlifted a 56-year-old man to hospital in Brisbane after his horse fell and rolled on him early this morning.

The Northern Territory man was working at a property on the Bunya Highway south-west of Kingaroy when the horse he was riding reared up and fell backwards.

A helicopter spokesman said as the horse rolled, the man was struck across the chest with the saddle. Alone and unable to go for help, he waited an hour before being found by a neighbour.

A flight doctor and paramedic treated the man for chest injuries. He was airlifted to the Royal Brisbane Hospital in a stable condition.

Photo courtesy AGL Action Rescue Helicopter

UPDATE March 16: Cattleman Reg Underwood is now recovering in hospital
Katter Visiting Kingaroy Today
March 8, 2012 - Federal MP Bob Katter will be visiting Kingaroy today with a busload of journalists to support his candidate Carl Rackemann's bid to win the seat of Nanango at the upcoming State Election.

The former National Party MP served in the Queensland parliament from 1974 to 1992 and held several ministerial portfolios under Premiers Joh Bjelke-Peterson, Mike Ahern and Russell Cooper. He was elected to the Federal Parliament as the National Party representative for Kennedy in 1993.

In 2001, he quit the party to become an Independent and last year formed his own "Katter's Australian Party".

A KAP spokesman said Mr Katter planned to visit local peanut factories and farmers and would meet with Kingaroy locals. He also planned to visit Cherbourg.

(Katter was Minister for Aboriginal and Islander Affairs from 1983 to 1987. It was during this time that the Cherbourg Deed of Grant In Trust - DOGIT - was created which led to the establishment of Cherbourg council).

He is also planning to make a personal visit to "an old and respected friend" - rumoured to be Lady Bjelke-Peterson - while in Kingaroy.

* * *

Tourism operators have been invited to network, provide feedback and exchange ideas at an upcoming Tourism Advisory Group meeting next week organised by Toowoomba Golden West and South Burnett Tourism.

The first meeting of the year will be held at the Riversands Winery in St George on March 13 from 1:00pm.

Special guest will be Dave Brown, Senior Industry Development Officer from the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.
Top Choir In Kingaroy Tonight

March 7, 2012 - St Mary's Catholic Church in Kingaroy will be hosting a one-off performance by leading choir The Australian Voices from 6:30pm this evening.

Selected singers from the group will be performing a cappella choral classics by Mozart, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Bach.

The Australian Voices is recognised as one of the finest classical a capella ensembles in the world and has won many international awards.

Cost is $20 for adults, $15 concession and $5 for students.

Tickets can be purchased online
Gympie Council Faces Huge
Repair Bill After Latest Flooding
March 7, 2012 - Gympie Regional Council, already struggling to complete road repairs from the 2011 floods, is facing another round of massive roadworks after the latest deluge.

Mayor Ron Dyne said yesterday millions of dollars worth of damage had been done to the region's roads.

The worst affected areas included Kilkivan, Woolooga and Goomboorian.

The council has advised motorists that even if roads are free of water, there could be structural damage, so drivers should take care and always obey police directions.

Road inspections are currently underway and repairs will being started where possible.

Unsafe roads can also be reported to Gympie Council on 1300-307-800.

The council is currently listing all local road closures on a low bandwidth version of its website to assist travellers.

* * *

So what did LNP Leader Campbell Newman actually say in Kingaroy last Thursday which has caused such a furore?

SBBiz has managed to get a transcript so our readers can judge for themselves:

Journalist: You've spoken about accountable government. Can I ask you, was the Bjelke-Peterson government corrupt?

Newman: Well that's the view that came out of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, absolutely.

Journalist: (LNP Member for Clayfield) Tim Nicholls says you can't call them corrupt if he wasn't tried to corruption? (sic)

Newman: Well it certainly was a period of Queensland's history where a lot of terrible things happened and there was clearly corruption and it's all there in the report of the Royal Commission and people have been punished for those things. But again, a tired Labor line.

This is how the city media then reported it:
* * *

Sick of all the electioneering? It'll all be over soon ...

Here's a list of polling booth locations for the March 24 State election:
Some other useful information:
Graziers Worried by Tick Outbreaks
March 6, 2012 - The old Boondooma Cattle Tick Control Committee and the Kingaroy Tick Control Committee have been reformed in response to concerns over management of the tick line.

The line, which divides Queensland into ticky and clean country, currently passes between Kingaroy and Nanango.

There is increasing concern among local cattle producers about the increase in tick outbreaks on the clean side of the line, possibly linked to the difficulty in controlling stock due to flood-damaged fences.

Boondooma Cattle Tick Control Committee president Tom Seiler told the Beef Central website that beef producers on the tick line were bearing a heavy cost to keep the southern country clean.

"In one case of tick outbreak in clean country, a stud incurred estimated losses of $150,000 in stock and potential income plus the expense of treatments for several years," Mr Seiler said told Beef Central.

* * *

Independent Candidate for Nanango, John Dalton, has accused LNP leader Campbell Newman of backflipping over the Cougar Energy UCG project.

Mr Dalton, secretary of anti-UCG pressure group the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group, said Newman had stated the LNP would "only allow industries like CSG or underground coal gasification to go forward in this state with the strictest of environmental conditions".

However, Mr Dalton claimed the LNP had "reversed" this position by issuing a statement that it would now oppose the re-opening of the Cougar Energy UCG plant.

"Campbell Newman has stated that the industry wants certainty but he has stated two conflicting positions in three days. He says that he wants strong input from local communities, yet doesn't offer to meet informed community groups like the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group when visiting the town.

"The current ALP Government adds to the confusion by ordering the decommissioning of the Cougar operation, but sits idly by while Cougar just mows the grass instead," Mr Dalton said.

(On February 28, LNP Candidate Deb Frecklington told SBBiz that the KCCG had not responded to emails from the LNP offering to address a meeting)
ALP Candidate Urges Voters: Don't Turn Your Backs on Bligh
March 5, 2012 - Virginia Clarke, the ALP candidate for Nanango, has urged voters not to forget the strong leadership shown by Premier Anna Bligh during the 2011 floods.

Speaking at her campaign launch yesterday at Esk Memorial Park, Ms Clarke said she was very proud to be part of Premier Bligh's election team.

"Anna Bligh's leadership qualities were clearly on show during the devastating floods last year," Ms Clarke said.

"No one in the Brisbane Valley could forget her strength and compassion.

"And in the last year, Anna Bligh has ensured that flood recovery and reconstruction work in the seat of Nanango and all around the State are well advanced. Anna is a competent and decisive leader who gets things done for Queensland."

Ms Clarke said the ALP Government should also be applauded for its part in delivering valuable economic and social infrastructure to the region including the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and the Warrego-Brisbane Valley Highway Interchange.

"Labor has steered Queensland through the significant economic impacts of the GFC and will return the budget to surplus ahead of schedule," she said.

Ms Clarke rejected LNP claims that the Bligh Government was tired.

"Anna Bligh has ensured that comprehensive plans for Queensland's economic and social future have been put in place," she said.

"Haven't they heard of the Queensland Infrastructure Plan or the SEQ Regional Plan or the Rural Futures Strategy?" she said.

"Anna Bligh has ensured that we have plans in place for the next couple of decades to ensure that our economy stays strong, that there are plenty of jobs into the future and that all Queenslanders can enjoy top quality services. Many of the projects identified in these plans are already being delivered. I hope that the people of the Brisbane Valley and the South Burnett do not turn their backs on Anna Bligh after all she has done for them."

ABOVE RIGHT: Virginia Clarke, centre, with ALP branch members Adam Hunt and Janet Butler at the Esk War Memorial on Sunday. Virginia told SBBiz she had a "special thing" about memorials as the heritage of local areas always needs protecting. She served on the Ipswich Heritage committee from its inception in about 1991 until 2002

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Katter's Australian Party State Leader Aidan McLindon says the resignation today of an LNP branch chairman in his electorate is proof that the "flawed" coal seam gas industry will be allowed to "rush ahead" if the LNP wins the upcoming State election.

The chairman of the Christmas Creek/Tamrookum branch, George Andrew, told the Logan West Leader the LNP was being "intentionally deceitful about the party's position on coal seam gas mining in the Scenic Rim Region".

Mr McLindon, who himself quit the LNP in May 2010, said the decision by Mr Andrew to resign "highlights that the LNP will not allow debate on coal seam gas until after the election".

"Campbell Newman's own policy states that no 'inappropriate' coal seam gas developments will be allowed in Beaudesert but when the local branch asked what would be deemed 'appropriate', discussion was shut down at the direction of the LNP heavyweights which has now resulted in the resignation of the branch chairman."

LNP spokesman Michael O'Dwyer told the newspaper he knew nothing about a stalled motion at the LNP branch but Campbell Newman had outlined how the Scenic Rim would be protected when it comes to CSG "and it is one of the strongest statements that has been made".

CTC Staff Plan To Blitz Gumnut

Gumnut Place has supported people with a disability for more than 25 years

March 5, 2012 - CTC staff will be rolling up their sleeves on March 23 for a blitz-style makeover of Gumnut Place in Murgon.

The 120 staff will come armed with paint brushes, rakes and shovels to transform the grounds and bring the much-loved building back to life with a fresh coat of paint and new furniture.

Stanwell and Thiess are helping the makeover project. Their funding has allowed CTC to line the ceiling and the walls in the common room area and refurbish the bathroom. CTC would also like to acknowledge Kewpie Stockfeeds, Total Building Solutions, South Burnett Hire & Sales, GWB Plumbing and Kingaroy Tree Services who have all donated or supplied goods and services at a discounted rate.

The general public can also help out. There'll be a monster garage sale of goods on the day and local residents are invited to come along and purchase items.

CTC is also trying to put together a descriptive history of Gumnut Place and would appreciate any information the community may have.

The house was donated by former Murgon mayor Bill Roberts to the former Murgon Shire Council to be used for people with disabilities. Although CTC has some information, the exact history of Gumnut remains unknown. If you have any details to share - or if you know anyone who may be able to assist in compiling the history - please contact Kirstie on (07) 4162-9000 or by email
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The Nanango community is mourning rural firefighter Brendon Goldsmith who died suddenly while taking part in a Rural Fire information session at the Nanango Cultural Centre last week.

Brendon was First Officer of the South Nanango Rural Fire Brigade and a father of four, including up-and-coming country singer Amber who performed recently at the "It'll Be Alright In The Long Run" tour.

He was aged 57. A celebration of Brendon's life will be held from 11:00am on Thursday, March 8, at the Nanango Showgrounds followed by a foot procession to a graveside service at Nanango Lawn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Queensland Rural Fire Service.

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South Burnett Mayor Cr David Carter last week presented a cheque for $42,900 to the Murgon SES Support Group Inc, the proceeds of the joint Mayor's Flood Appeal / CROW-FM "5 towns in 5 days" campaign.

The donation will be used to purchase five PALS 2.0 lighting units and four PALS 1.0 units to be distributed to SES groups across the South Burnett.

The Murgon-developed Personal Assistant Lighting System (PALS™) are emergency lights which are light, simple to assemble and energy efficient.

The PALS project was awarded a Minister's Award for Excellence in Community Safety in July 2011 and a second award under the "ZEROharm" category in September 2011.

Anyone interested in purchasing PALS lighting products should contact the Murgon SES Support Group on 0438-871-111.
No Return Of Cougar To Kingaroy, Says LNP
March 2, 2012 - An LNP Government would not support a return of the Cougar Energy UCG trial to the Kingaroy area, LNP Leader Campbell Newman assured local residents today.

Responding to a story run by ABC Local Radio this morning, Mr Newman reaffirmed that the LNP believes Cougar Energy's pilot project was given the go-ahead in the wrong area by "a tired, 20-year Labor government" and should never restart in the South Burnett.

"If Labor had planned better, this project may well have been able to operate in a more remote location where there was less potential for impact on the local community, and less risk," he said.

"There are far better areas for carefully monitored trials of Underground Coal Gasification technology, and we support these trials in other areas, but we do not, and will not, support them at Kingaroy.

"This whole debacle is a good example of a resource project that was not appropriate to the area where it was approved by Bligh Labor.

"It is a good example of Labor's long-term failure to properly plan for the South Burnett region, and for other regions across the State.

"The LNP has a clear strategy to deliver certainty for the resources industry in return for world's best social and environmental outcomes. Part of this strategy is a strong plan to protect regional communities and strategic cropping land from inappropriate mining and resources developments.

"We will do this by implementing a new system of statutory regional planning across Queensland, with strong input from local communities about what developments and land uses are, and are not suitable for each area."

Mr Newman said yesterday he had felt constrained in what he could say given the current court action, but now he has clarification of the nature of that action he was able to be more direct about the LNP's position.

Cricket Stars Ready For Murgon Clash
March 2, 2012 - Kingaroy's favourite son Matthew Hayden and Goomeri's own Mick Polzin will join a star-studded Bulls Masters team for their Twenty20 clash against a South Burnett Invitational XI at Murgon tomorrow.

Hayden is one of five ex-Australian Test players in the Bulls Masters team, alongside Andy Bichel, Jimmy Maher, Jeff Thomson and Geoff Dymock.

Rugby league internationals Wendell Sailor and Gorden Tallis will be adding their weight to the squad and former England batsman Graeme Hick – who played a season for Queensland in the early 1990s – will be contributing an international flavour.

The South Burnett squad is made up of Michael Davies, Tony Dugdell, Anthony Eden, Liam Exelby, Chris Heness, John Kapernick, Wayne Kelly, Dan Learmont, Tim Linnane, Nigel Megaw, Dan O'Connor, Craig Patterson, Ashley and Damien Sippel, Jay Steinhardt, Kyron Tunstall, Jason Weber and Shane Winter.

Gates open at the Murgon Sportsground at 10:00am with a free coaching clinic for children from 12:30pm-1:30pm. The match starts at 2:30pm. Adults are $10 and Under 16s are free.

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Katter's Australian Party is reportedly applying to the Supreme Court to force the Queensland Electoral Commission to reprint ballot papers for the upcoming State Election so that Bob Katter's name will appear on them.

Party leader Aidan McLindon told the Brisbane Times last week, (see SBBiz, February 27), that "The Australian Party" as cited during the ballot draw was just a "shorthand name" for the party and Katter's name would appear on the final ballot papers.

However this does not appear to be the case. Read more on the ABC's AM website

* * *

Courier-Mail journalist David Costello and Bernie Cooper from Crane Wines at last night's official media launch of the 2012 Wine and Food in the Park Festival held at Clovely Estate's Red Hill cellar door in Brisbane. David, who writes the Fossicking column, will be interviewing local food producers in the PCA Tent throughout the day.
$10m LNP Pledge To Build Passing Lanes
March 1, 2012 - LNP Leader Campbell Newman was greeted with enthusiastic applause when he announced to supporters in Kingaroy this afternoon that the LNP would commit to building overtaking lanes on both the D'Aguilar and the Brisbane Valley highways.

A lunch, organised by LNP volunteers, attracted party members as well as local small business owners, members of the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry, shire councillors, farmers and members of the public.

Mr Newman said LNP candidate Deb Frecklington had been highlighting to him the safety concerns of local residents about the D'Aguilar and Brisbane Valley highways.

"Today because of the lobbying of your prospective local member, I'm delighted to announce - and no one else has heard this yet - that we're committing today to $10m for overtaking lanes on your highways, your economic artery back towards Brisbane, between Blackbutt and Nanango, also between Harlin and Toogoolawah," Mr Newman said.

"That's what we want to do for you. That's what Deb's been fighting for. I make that promise to you today."

Mr Newman also unveiled more of the LNP's agriculture policy during his visit to Kingaroy (see story below). He said the party would:
  • Aim to double agricultural production by 2040

  • Establish a dedicated Agriculture Department. Mr Newman said agriculture was one of the most important industries in Queensland, with 90,000 people employed and worth about $5.4 billion to the State.

    One of the first tasks of this new department would be to go out and do an audit of agricultural land, to make sure it's being protected properly against other competing land uses such as mining, and then, in conjunction with people in the industry, look at how some of this land can be improved and brought into food production.

  • Increase the number of Biosecurity officers by 25% over the next four years; ie employ another 15 officers. He said Labor's response to equine influenza, Hendra virus and citrus canker had put primary industries and communities at risk.

Questioned about the Cougar Energy project at Coolabunia, Mr Newman said he could not talk too much about it as it was subject to a court case at the moment but the LNP did not believe it had been handled well.

"We don't know why they would have been allowed to come into this part of the world in the first place," he said.

SBBiz later put to Mr Newman that a Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group member had expressed concerns on Facebook that the LNP could be considering "resurrecting" the scrapped plant.

Mr Newman said the KCCG and the Greens were missing the point. He said the Labor Party had put the project in place and they should be ones to get the blame if the court should find the company had any legal rights.

How the wider media has reported Mr Campbell's visit to Kingaroy:

ABOVE RIGHT: LNP Leader Campbell Newman was presented with a bottle of South Burnett wine during his visit to Kingaroy yesterday. He said he was very impressed with LNP candidate Deb Frecklington
All Stitched Up? In The Bag? Not Quite ...

ABOVE: LNP candidate Deb Frecklington, Campbell Newman and RBM Industrial Bags employee Kathy Jamieson, from Kingaroy.

March 1, 2012 - LNP Leader Campbell Newman visited Kingaroy today - with the national media in tow - to announce promises to boost biosecurity and establish a dedicated agriculture department to conduct a land audit.

Campbell, LNP Candidate for Nanango Deb Frecklington and Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney - and the media scrum - dropped into RBM Industrial Bags in Kingaroy to talk to owners, the Stallwood family, and employees.

Asked if it was important for the LNP to win Nanango, Campbell replied it was important for the voters in Nanango that the LNP won.

He said they had been neglected under Labor, and Independents and minor parties would not be able to make a difference.

But he warned: "It's going to be a tough fight."