Curtain falls on Mackay parliament

THEY rolled into Mackay, security in tow and cheque books in hand to shower cash on the region.

It’s been a whirlwind three days as 89 Members of Parliament shook hands, smiled for the cameras and mingled with Mackay voters during the sitting of Regional Parliament.

For her finale yesterday, Premier Anna Bligh chose the South Mackay Ambulance Station at Paget, where she checked on the progress of the $1.3 million upgrade to the station and announced that tenders were now open for the next stage of the $4 million redevelopment of the Mackay Police Station in Sydney St.

But it was nothing compared to the cash thrown around earlier this week. That included $300 million to upgrade Mackay-Whitsunday region roads and $40 million to flood-proof the Fursden Creek bridge on the approach to Edmund Casey Bridge.

The Labor Government also gave the green light to construction of stage one of a new $41 million Trade Training Centre at CQUniversity and knocked one year off the wait for a new high school at Eimeo.

From the other side of the political stands, the LNP promised a coroner’s office and improved road safety for schools while Member for Mirani Ted Malone delivered an important petition to push the government into conducting a safety audit of the Bruce Highway.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the politicians who came to Mackay.

There were overdue flights, a Premier who had to fly to Brisbane on State of Origin night and, on Tuesday, a loud protest from construction workers against ‘sham’ contracting.

While it cost the State government $650,000 to bring Parliament to Mackay, it was evident that the region’s hospitality and accommodation providers benefited from the exercise.

Labor and LNP ministers could not be criticised for staying indoors.

Plenty of politicians visited all parts of the region including Moranbah, the Mackay Marina, Slade Point and popular venues like Harrup Park Country Club.

Between Question Time, community barbecues and government business and media appearances, there was little time for more.

But it was evident that the sitting has put Mackay well and truly on the map.

As the curtain fell on the sitting of Parliament last night, the Premier had a final message for the region: “I see a bright bold future for Mackay and we will continue to believe in it and deliver to the region.”

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