16 April 2011

Campbell Newman has Ipswich in his sights

CAMPBELL Newman has slammed the Premier's Disaster Relief Fund and signalled his clear intention to win Labor heartland seats in Ipswich at the next election.

Former Brisbane lord mayor Campbell Newman will urge LNP ministers to endorse him as party leader.

LIBERAL National Party leader Campbell Newman has slammed the performance of the Premier's Disaster Relief Fund and signalled his clear intention to win Labor heartland seats in Ipswich at the next election.

Labor holds the seats of Ipswich and Bundamba comfortably while the LNP is safe in Lockyer. But Ipswich West, held by Labor's Wayne Wendt, is a seat the LNP believes it can give a real shake with Sean Choat as their candidate.

Mr Choat won 37.85% of the vote at the last election.

With the recent landslide win for the Liberal party in NSW as a backdrop, Mr Newman said it was time for the LNP to return to power in Queensland.

"I'd love the opportunity to have my team represent the people of Ipswich," he said.

"I am simply appealing to them in this election to have a good look at us – and if they like what they see, and I think they will, to give us a go.

"Sean Choat out at Ipswich West is a great bloke. He's a local and people should have a good look at him. I'd love him on my team.

"I have asked Sean and all candidates to compile a wish list of projects and initiatives that they'd like to see in their electorate."

Mr Newman said the main issues in the next election would revolve around the huge increases in cost of living and the "under-investment in rail services and under-investment in the roads".

He received plenty of feedback from residents about the failings of the Premier's Disaster Relief Fund, including pensioners who had been knocked back.

He pointed to the Brisbane City Council's performance in dealing with 90,000 applications for a water tank rebate scheme as an example of the way it should be done.

"We geared up and put the resources in place because we knew that people desperately wanted to get their water tanks in," he said.

"We showed some leadership and made it happen and focused on customer service. That is what should happen here. They should put the resources in, expedite the thing and help these poor suffering people.

"The criteria is very hard. I've had a lady come to me in tears. Her family had no insurance and they weren't wealthy people. That is what upsets me about it all...the unrealistic income thresholds that are excluding people."

Mr Newman said the turnaround time for people receiving help was "far too slow."

"People needed help weeks ago to rebuild their homes and their lives," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Wendt said he had done "a good job over the past five years".

"And I intend to keep doing that," he said.

He said the three rounds of the Premier's Disaster Relief Fund had been well received by the public.

"We are less than three months since the event and I think we've done a great job so far to try and do what we can," he said.

"The electorate of Ipswich West has been flood damaged in every corner with hundreds of people affected. There is no doubt that some people would have liked things to be done quicker, but I believe the scale of the event meant that it had to be done the way it has."

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