The following is a speech given by State Member for Chatsworth Steve Minnikin in State Parliament on Feburary 11.
As we head towards a by-election in Redcliffe shortly and the second anniversary of the Newman government since our election in March 2012, it is with great pride that I rise in the House to talk about our achievements. Nearly 24 months on and I am still deeply honoured and humbled by the people of Chatsworth to be representing this wonderful community in this chamber and getting on with the job of restoring Queensland’s economic position.
The people of Queensland were adamantly clear that they were sick of Labor’s reckless spending and inefficiency in governing. It was indeed time for a fresh new government to tackle the task of getting this great state back on track. The community would no longer accept endless spin and empty promises when the election was inching around the corner.
Upon being elected, I made the commitment to ensure that I did not stop listening to my Chatsworth community. I have hosted several community forums to give my constituents the opportunity to air their concerns and ideas on a range of topics from electricity pricing to the Queensland Plan. In addition to these forums, I have conducted many suburban listening posts and have an open door policy in my electorate office to listen to constituents’ issues.
As a candidate during the 18-month lead-up to the last election, many Chatsworth constituents approached me to convey the desperate need for a park-and-ride facility at Carindale. There had been a distinct call for action for many years with previous ALP members of parliament to get the ball rolling on this much needed public infrastructure. The ideal land was available near the Carindale interchange and we got on with the necessary construction of some simple bitumen, upgraded lighting and line marking. This meant that within a few months, and with a typical can-do approach, I was able to deliver something that would encourage people to use public transport.
By delivering a functional piece of infrastructure without the added bells and whistles, it enabled the project to be delivered for a significantly reduced price compared to other similar facilities constructed under Labor’s watch. A relatively small capital investment has now resulted in a 34 per cent increase in patronage at the Carindale bus interchange. What does this mean? In 2011, 1.62million passengers were using the interchange, and fast forward to 2013 an incredible 2.18 million passengers caught a bus to or from this now busy transit hub. Combined with the halved 7.5 per cent increase to passenger transport fares, it is great to oversee real results and change in the community.
Education is incredibly important to the Newman government and I am proud to represent an area that now boasts two independent public schools. We have delivered approximately $1.2 million in additional funding for the Great Results Guarantee for schools in Chatsworth. No child should be left behind in the numeracy and literacy stakes in this digital era. For example, Chatsworth schools such as Whites Hill State College received just over $227,000 in their share for the 2013-14 financial year of the $300 million the Newman government has committed to clearing the severe maintenance backlogs left by Labor in Queensland schools. Important educational facilities, as all members on this side of the chamber will know, will now no longer be languishing in disrepair.
Health is another important area close to the Chatsworth community’s heart, and the government has a role to provide an adequate system to take care of our most needy. That is why it is pleasing to note that in the Metro South district alone the oral health waiting list has been reduced by a massive 51 per cent, meaning that the waiting list of 19,296 patients has now been cut to 9,434. These efficiencies in the health system have meant that Queensland Health will receive $30 million in bonus money from the Commonwealth government to further invest into our system.
This government has made tough decisions to get the finances back in order. It has not been easy but, as the Premier eloquently articulated this morning, our best days are indeed ahead of us. Already by streamlining our budget we have been able to provide Get in the Game funding worth $47 million. In Chatsworth, groups such as the Spartans basketball club have benefited from $90,000 to upgrade their change room facilities, ensuring that they are able to provide a venue to rival other clubs.
Since being elected the Newman government has been consistently delivering on our action items that are reviewed every six months. I know that there is still hard work ahead of me and the government. However, I urge constituents to continue to have faith in this government to get on with the proven, demonstrable way that we are delivering each and every day.
Whilst we cannot continuously dwell on the past and need to govern in the present, we still need to remind Queenslanders just how incompetent their alternative political choice is. State politics is all about the pragmatic and professional delivery of services which enhance the lives of everyday Queenslanders. It is hard to fund essential services when the debt clock is around half a million dollars in interest only per hour.
Like many of us in the House, I find it a distinct privilege to serve my community and I will continue to fight hard and work responsibly for the future of our great state and my people in Chatsworth.