Campbell Newman at the launch of Rio Tinto's Yarwun 2 facility in Gladstone.
Campbell Newman at the launch of Rio Tinto's Yarwun 2 facility in Gladstone. David Sparkes

Premier avoids protesters as he enters lunch at back of PCYC

12.10PM: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has bypassed protesters outside the Gladstone PCYC, entering through a back door for the GAPDL October Enterprise Luncheon.

Mr Newman arrived at 11.50am before rubbing shoulders with industry and business figures inside.

Protestors from the NDIS, QAS, QFRS and anti-uranium mining groups chanted to "sack" Mr Newman.

Hundreds of guests from the Gladstone region are attending the lavish event. 

11.43am: A CROWD is building outside the Gladstone PCYC as disgruntled public servants and protesters gather to greet Premier Campbell Newman as he arrives for an industry leaders lunch.

Mr Newman is currently launching the Yarwun 2 facility at Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun and is expected to arrive at the PCYC at noon.

About half a dozen groups are rallying outside the PCYC, including uranium protesters, ambulance officers and fire service crew.

People who purchased tickets for the lunch are starting to arrive.

Police are patrolling the area.

EARLIER: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman may be rubbing shoulders with government, industry and business leaders during his whirlwind trip to Gladstone today, but don't expect him to meet and greet the public.

When The Observer requested the Premier's Gladstone itinerary three weeks ago, a media staffer said it was too early to discuss the Premier's movements out of concern for safety.

When questioned yesterday, a spokesperson for the Premier did not mention any plans to meet with the general public, but instead noted Mr Newman's commitments with industry, government and business figures in town.

"While in Gladstone he will be meeting with a number of government and industry and business representatives," the spokesperson said.

"The Premier is looking forward to his visit to Gladstone."

It is believed Mr Newman will jet into Gladstone this morning, where he will attend the launch of Rio Tinto Alcan's Yarwun 2 project.

From there he will attend the GAPDL October Enterprise Luncheon, where he will act as keynote speaker.

This is the first time Mr Newman has visited Gladstone since he was elected premier.

Gladstone MP Liz Cunningham will not meet with the Premier away from the GAPDL event, but said she would continue to raise the lack of funding for Gladstone Hospital with Health Minister Lawrence Springborg and in Parliament.

"There is still no reasonable explanation as to why it's not being funded," she said.

"I don't have to convince them to fund it, I just think it's a matter of finding the funds, and I will continue to lobby until they do."

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd hasn't arranged a one-on-one meeting with Mr Newman, but said he was  looking forward to meeting with the Premier at today's lunch.

"At this stage I don't have a private meeting arranged with the Premier due to the tight time frames of the visit," Mr O'Dowd said.

"I do however look forward to meeting with the Premier at the GAPDL function, which will be an excellent opportunity to showcase the Gladstone region."

Gladstone regional councillors have met to discuss a list of local issues they'd like to raise with the Premier.

During the meeting six key areas of concern were addressed, including infrastructure, roads, land ownership, industry and the Gladstone Royalties to the Regions scheme.

Council CEO Stuart Randle said there were a number of issues that council would endeavour to address with Mr Newman.

Yesterday Gladstone Regional Mayor Gail Sellers was unavailable for comment, but is believed to be meeting with the Premier at the Yarwun 2 launch. 

Union plans peaceful assembly

The Gladstone branch of the Queensland Council of Unions has organised a peaceful assembly today to let the Premier know "the way we, the Gladstone community, feel about his government's changes to job security, rights in the workplace, and cuts to services".

Participants will be gathering at the PCYC at 11.15am. 

Can-Do's commitments:

  • GAPDL October Enterprise Luncheon: Mr Newman will be keynote speaker.
  • The Premier will also officially open the newly constructed Yarwun 2 facility at Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun.

Hot topics

Mr Newman is sure to be questioned on:

  • Affordable accommodation.
  • Funding for Gladstone Hospital.
  • Kin Kora roundabout upgrades.


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