LISTENING TOUR: Queensland Senator Anthony Chisholm and Labor Flynn candidate Zac Beers meet with the ALP Wondai Branch before visiting Wondai residents on Saturday September 22.
LISTENING TOUR: Queensland Senator Anthony Chisholm and Labor Flynn candidate Zac Beers meet with the ALP Wondai Branch before visiting Wondai residents on Saturday September 22. Jessica McGrath

Politicians lend a listening ear to community concerns

FEDERAL politicians visited Wondai to hear about the unique issues regional Queenslanders face last weekend.

Flynn Labor candidate Zac Beers visited Wondai for the fifth time since the last election for a listening tour with Queensland senator Anthony Chisholm on Saturday September 22.

"We're trying to get out and on the ground to get a really good understanding of what the important issues are for people in these communities,” Mr Beers said.

The politicians met with people at the Wondai markets and door-knocked around the community to hear people's concerns.

"So we can make sure decisions, policies and announcements we take to the next election are really focussed on what's important to people in the area,” Mr Beers said.

One of the common issues residents raise is good quality access to telecommunications.

Towns often have good service, but often it disappears quickly when travelling between towns.

"That is a big challenge, particularly given some of the accidents and emergencies we've had through the area in recent times,” he said.

Funding programs are available to address the black spot issue and Mr Beers wants to prioritise funding for places like the Burnett.

The biggest challenge for the region was connectivity, telecommunications and the road network, he said.

"The quality of the roads obviously has an impact on people's ability to get their products to the market, and if we can drive efficiencies by improving the quality of the road network, then that will ultimately create opportunities for growth and jobs,” Mr Beers said.

Another issue raised was access to good, secure, quality jobs.

"We've got a big focus on making sure, we drive investment and infrastructure and services to create opportunities for people to find good, secure work in these towns,” Mr Beers said.

"If we don't keep people employed in these sorts of areas, then areas like this will start to disappear.”

This weekend was Mr Chisholm's second time visiting the Wondai community.

It was important to visit the smaller towns, because the priorities of regional Queensland were different to Sydney or Canberra.

"You only pick up on that if you spend time in those places,” he said.

Mr Beers said it was important for the Flynn representative to understand the region's priorities.

"I think people are fed up with politicians down in Canberra wanting to make decisions for the regions, without going into those towns and talking to people,” he said.

The Labor team are working to understand the issues to make sure things start happening for regional Queensland.

"There's so many communities across the Burnett region that are facing a very, very dire future if we don't start getting some action in terms of infrastructure and investment to drive for some economic opportunities for this region,” he said.

The next federal election will be called sometime before May 18 2019.

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