19 October 2011

Queen rules out visit to Goodna, Ipswich or Grantham

Flood complaints bloom over Queen's reception snub

THE Queen has ignited controversy even before her arrival in Australia today, with flood victims from the Queensland city of Ipswich not invited to a royal reception in Brisbane next week.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said yesterday he had not been contacted in relation to the visit, and was not aware any members of the public or the emergency services had been invited.

"It's a bit disappointing they haven't contacted people who are at the frontline of the emergency response," Mr Pisasale said.

"Even the Dalai Lama made sure he spread his time evenly between Ipswich and Brisbane."

The Queen will visit Brisbane on Monday, when she will take a river cruise past flood-affected areas of the city and attend a reception for those affected by last summer's natural disasters.

Premier Anna Bligh's department is understood to have drawn up a list of 200 invitations to the event.

A spokeswoman for Ms Bligh said the Queen was in Brisbane for only half a day, and the guest list for the reception was based on advice from the government departments that worked on the ground during the January floods, and included the families of people who died.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will arrive in Canberra today. After meeting Julia Gillard and Governor-General Quentin Bryce, the first function of their 10-day tour will be Canberra's Floriade flower show tomorrow.

A team of gardeners is keeping the festival bright for an extra week ahead of the royal inspection. "By the end of tomorrow, everything is going to look great," said Floriade head gardener Andrew Forster.

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