Minister snubs council in visit
IT was really a fly in, fly out visit to Gladstone by Sustainable Population Minister Tony Burke yesterday.
Mr Burke met with The Observer at 2pm for a 30 minute interview, before racing out to Clinton State School to meet Member for Flynn Chris Trevor for an inspection of infrastructure projects at the school and a photo shoot before jumping back in a taxi to meet a flight at Gladstone Airport.
Most politicians who have visited Gladstone in past few months have made the time to visit with Gladstone Regional Council, or industry representatives, to discuss the needs of the growing region.
Gladstone Regional Council deputy mayor Gail Sellers said council would have been very interested to speak with Mr Burke while he was in the city, but as council understood, he didn’t have the time.
Mr Burke admitted to The Observer that the last time he visited the region, he was visiting with his agriculture portfolio cap on.
He did not catch up with Mr Trevor to find out what current issues were being faced in the region due to high population growth forecasts to come with the liquefied natural gas industries and other major industry developments before meeting The Observer.
Mr Burke explained that the change in portfolio from Minister for Population under the former Rudd Government to Minister for Sustainable Population under the current Gillard Government from just focusing on the economic outcome from population growth to a broader field.
“I think what Julia’s done, she’s shifted it from being a focus pretty much solely directed on the economic outcomes to a focus that’s directed towards a quality of life,” he said.