It is time for a fair go for North Queensland.
With the election campaign behind us, the popularity contest is over.
It is time for our elected representatives to stand up and govern for the whole state, not just the population centres in the south-east.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has been elected for a second term. Now is the time for her to prove she is a Premier who fights for the regions.
The decision for her to drop the role of Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland from her ministry was questionable at best.
The role, which was created when Labor won the 2015 election in a landslide, was held by Mundingburra MP Coralee O’Rorke, who seemed to achieve very little for North Queensland in her almost three years in the position. However, the Premier’s office has refused to say why the position was dumped, instead insisting that the North has great representation with their reelected crop of politicians.
The LNP has admitted they had a shocker in 2017 and the election results tell a sorry story.
Only two LNP politicians were voted in north of Bundaberg, Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan and the Burdekin’s Dale Last, who is the party’s most northern state member of parliament.
Long-standing Hinchinbrook MP Andrew Cripps was dumped, with Katter’s Australian Party newcomer Nick Dametto snaring the seat on preferences despite only campaigning for a few weeks.
With KAP’s Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth elected to the new seats of Traeger and Hill respectively, North Queensland should have a strong, alternative voice in parliament.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington admitted the party needs to regain the trust and faith of North Queenslanders. She appointed Mr Last as her Shadow Minister for North Queensland, and regional leaders should be putting pressure on him to ensure residents have a strong voice in opposition.
North Queenslanders and those in rural and regional areas are sick of the rhetoric.
We want our voices heard. We want our elected officials to fight on our behalves, instead of toeing the party line.
Our politicians, regardless of their party, must put the needs of their constituents above all else. We placed our trust in them, and it is time for them to show that our faith was warranted.