For the first time, the Remote Area Planning and Development Board, which represents a quarter of Queensland, is working to formally engage the major political parties before an election.
With an announcement expected any day, RAPAD has developed a 10 point plan it wants candidates from all parties to address.
Chairman, Rob Chandler said they were focused on stimulating the region’s economy, making it more attractive for investment, and lowering the costs of living so they could better attract and retain families for the region’s future.
The 10 regional priority points are:
- Growing business and community digital connections,
- Securing essential infrastructure to support economic growth and community wellbeing,
- Helping councils manage community assets and maintain workforces,
- Protecting the rural economy,
- Growing tourism to diversify the economy,
- Focusing on a renewable energy future,
- Responding to the economic and personal costs of drought,
- Implementing stock route management reform,
- Securing healthy aged living services for our seniors,
- Developing world class health services for rural communities.
Cr Chandler said they were a mix of short, medium and long term priorities, and reflected extensive community consultation.
“Securing essential infrastructure is mainly about roads and transport issues,” he said.
“Protecting the rural economy is about seeing which parties understand that a few dollars in things like a cluster fencing program can go a long way.
“We’d like them to support programs called for by AgForce and other rural lobby groups.”
Cr Chandler said RAPAD had advocated to government prior to previous elections but this was more formal, whereby the plan had been provided to all major parties, and their candidates where known.
“I’ve asked all parties to meet with RAPAD to advise us how they intend on addressing the issues raised,” he said.
“We are also looking for written feedback so we can make that feedback available for the wider public.
“That way everyone can read for themselves how the candidates and their parties are going to support the central western Queensland region.”
He stressed that RAPAD was apolitical and wouldn’t be advocating for a particular party based on the answers received.
“Our low rate base means we treat everyone fairly. We’ve got a good track record of working with whoever is in government.”
He also said communities expected politicians to stick to their promises, and had long memories.