Member for Pine Rivers Carolyn Male and Premier Anna Bligh take an early morning jog along the Pioneer River.
Member for Pine Rivers Carolyn Male and Premier Anna Bligh take an early morning jog along the Pioneer River. Tony Martin

Anna goes from jog to union trials

QUEENSLAND Premier Anna Bligh began her first day of Regional Parliament jogging the Bluewater Trail, declaring her love for the region with a ‘Bligh 4 Mackay' t-shirt.

But the relaxing morning didn't last long. As the doors of the MECC opened, the auditorium filled quickly. There were hordes of school children watching, a few vocal objections from both parties and announcements about roads funding, skills training and even cheaper car rego.

The relaxed atmosphere outside turned hectic with the sudden arrival of 200 chanting CFMEU members, who were protesting about the treatment of construction workers.

Speaker of the House John Mickel and the Premier opened the sitting yesterday, speaking of the importance of Regional Parliament and the growing Mackay region and its economy, a theme prominent in most of the speeches made by members during yesterday's proceedings.

“I am very pleased we can bring State Parliament to Mackay ... It is important that people get to see democracy in action,” Ms Bligh said.

Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace announced work was ready to begin on 16 overtaking lanes on the Bruce Highway.

Mr Wallace said Main Roads would start work on the first package of overtaking lanes, between Sarina and Mackay, in July, weather permitting.

“This package includes the construction of a north-bound lane near Alligator Creek as well as the extension of the overtaking lane near Sandringham Creek,” he said.

The $36.5million two-year project is funded by the Federal Government. The State Government is building the overtaking lanes.

The Premier escaped Parliament briefly to officially open the new $4million Medical and Applied Sciences Laboratories at CQUniversity. The new labs replicate a high-end radiology department.

“The spotlight is on the world-class training facilities that are developing right here in Mackay,” Ms Bligh said

“The new laboratories will deliver regionally-trained medical imaging specialists and sonography specialists for local communities experiencing a shortage of these skilled professionals,” she said.

Meanwhile, LNP leader Campbell Newman visited G&S Engineering in Mackay, where he announced a move by the LNP to freeze car registration prices for the party's first term in government.

“It's getting harder and harder for Queenslanders, particularly lower and middle income earners, to make end meet but Labor just doesn't care,” he said.

Mr Newman slammed the proposed carbon tax, saying Queenslanders deserve a straight answer.

“There is no doubt this would hit Mackay and other areas hard and it is an absolute economic madness,” he said.



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