PREMIER Campbell Newman may have avoided protesters outside the PCYC yesterday, but he couldn't escape questions addressed at the lavish GAPDL luncheon.

During a 20-minute address as guest speaker at the GAPDL October Enterprise Business Lunch, the Premier spoke about the LNP's plans for Queensland and Gladstone.

He wasted no time emphasising the debt the former State Government had incurred and the impact that was having on future spending.

"If money was the answer, we would have the best health system in the known-universe. But there's a heck of a lot more we can do," Mr Newman said.

The Premier also spoke about the future of Gladstone's port, the state of the region's roads and the reasoning behind the decision to lift the ban on uranium mining.

A number of concerned residents asked the Premier about future funding for Gladstone Base Hospital, with Queensland Hospital and Health Board Service Gladstone representative Kurt Heidecker saying progress was slow but steady.

"For those people who have had concerns, we (the hospital board members) have been in the role for the past four months and we are just starting to see some results," Mr Heidecker said.

"It's a bureaucracy so it takes time. We push hard at the board level to get the attention and resources here, but in terms of Campbell's infrastructure, we are very much appreciative."

Gladstone MP Liz Cunningham, along with Mayor Gail Sellers and Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd, also attended the event.

Several union and community groups made their presence felt outside the PCYC yesterday morning.

Before the Premier's arrival, about half a dozen groups rallied outside, including uranium protesters, ambulance officers and fire service crew.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Gladstone firefighter Mark Erridge said he wanted Mr Newman to get the message about firefighters' working conditions in Queensland.

"He's given the community a low-grade response when they deserve better," Mr Erridge said.

The Premier spent yesterday morning at the opening of Rio Tinto Alcan's Yarwun 2 project, after a helicopter tour of the Gladstone region, courtesy of GAPDL.



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