Rainbow Beach 'just north' of Noosa? That's just ridiculous
I CONTINUE to be bemused by a television commercial that promotes Rainbow Beach as being "just north of Noosa”.
This geographical appropriation of part of our region reminds me of the ludicrous and abandoned proposal by the Queensland Electoral Commission to move the boundary to put our coastal community in the electorate to our south.
Either way, both ignore the fact that to get to Rainbow from Noosa, you have to drive a fair way through the Gympie region.
The accuracy of the current advertising might be validated should a direct Rainbow-Noosa road ever be built.
Until it is, we can continue to feel miffed at being conveniently excluded from a resort's promotion. A direct road isn't coming any time soon.
If the speed at which any sign of Coondoo Creek's new bridge is any indication, it won't be happening any time this century.
The threat of the loss of our private hospital, thereby putting added pressures on Gympie General, comes at a time when many regional centres have the same problem of under-resourced medical facilities.
We all share the problem of attracting medical professionals and keeping them.
Government policy must take some share of the blame, along with any unwillingness on the part of some doctors to leave all the comforts of city life.
Recent decisions by Queensland Labor to close maternity facilities in small Central Queensland towns just add to this feeling that the regions continue to be an afterthought of a government that can't see beyond Bald Hills.
We have great support for the establishment of new medical facilities on the Cooloola Coast to service our ageing population but I cannot see the current government in Brisbane giving anything but lip service to the plan.
Even if we are successful, the question that dogs the private hospital might also apply: how do we attract medical professionals who will commit to staying for a good period of time?
We all regard doctors as being well paid; indeed better paid than most of us.
But we don't consider the astronomical insurance premiums they pay or the size of their HECS debts.
Federal Labor has suggested discounting HECS debts of teachers prepared to commit to working "in the bush” for designated periods.
One has hope that someone in Canberra might take up this idea and apply it to the health sector as well.
It certainly wouldn't do the Coalition's re-election prospects any harm to propose discounting the HECS debts of medical professionals who commit to moving "to the bush”.
A word of warning should apply here, though. Such a scheme would have to be safeguarded against any political manipulation which might include areas such as, say Western Sydney, as "regional Australia”.