Article – More power to Qld regions

by 17 February 2015

5 February 2015
AAP

Watch out Brisbane – farmers, graziers and other small town Queensland folk are set to have more say over how the state is run.

A swing back to Labor from the Liberal National Party in most northern electorates has caught the attention of both major parties, meaning industries like agriculture could soon get a lot more attention.

That’s according to Dr Paul Williams, a political analyst from Griffith University, who says the LNP lost so many seats because the regions felt forgotten.

“You’ve got the former Brisbane lord mayor heading up a government … there’s naturally going to be regional suspicions about where his loyalties are going to lie,” he told AAP.

“There was this perception that Campbell Newman really didn’t get regional Queensland.”

The LNP’s plans to lease state assets was also more of a sore point in the regions than in Brisbane, he said.

In the 2012 election Labor was reduced to just one seat in the north, with Curtis Pitt retaining the seat of Mulgrave.

Fast-forward three years and the LNP’s Andrew Cripps and Rosemary Menkens, members for Hinchinbrook and Burdekin respectively, are surrounded by a sea of red.

Dr Williams said it was clear those in the regions had a strong voice and whoever was in power would have no choice but to listen.

“You don’t have to be too close to Queensland politics to have heard the complaints from regional Queensland, especially from the traditional agriculture community,” he said.

And there will likely be an even greater emphasis on rural issues if the two Katter’s Australian Party members form part of a minority government.

“Even if Labor wins and doesn’t need them, Labor knows that the LNP suffered because they didn’t service the rural electorates,” Dr Williams said.

“They will be mindful of the need to improve the profile of agriculture.”

Courtesy of AAP

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