IT'S not every day high school students share a room with politicians but today Pioneer State High School captains were given that opportunity.

Attending the Mackay Summit the year 12 students, Jimmy Barnes and Cass Palmer-Field said they were enjoying rubbing shoulders with the state's head honchos.

"It's fun just to be able to work with different people and give them our ideas and take their ideas as well," Cass said.

"From what we've heard today, I think they're (the politicians) on the right track."

Jimmy said they day had been a great learning experience, he said he'd like to see the politicians focus on respect.

"If a community has no respect does that mean it has no future?"

Jimmy said he was particularly excited to shake hands with the Premier Campbell Newman but admitted he expected him to be a bit taller.

"I didn't know Campbell Newman was so short, he looks a lot bigger on TV … I didn't know I was taller than him," he said.

"I got to shake his hand and talk to him."

Cass said meeting leader of the opposition Annastacia Palaszczuk was a highlight.

"She told me some tips about university so it was pretty cool," she said.

Want to get some MPs' attention? Bring your whistle folks

WHISTLES were handed out en masse to members of the unions that joined together to screech their protest of the Queensland Plan summit outside the Mackay Convention Centre.

Up to 400 people from 12 unions gathered according to the Queensland Council of Unions.

Even the Together Union's Peter the Privatisation Duck made an appearance.

Protesters condemned the summit, with QCU president John Battams claiming the event cost $4.5 million.

Electrical Trade Unions state secretary Peter Simpson said the money could have been spent saving jobs or stopping hospitals and schools from being closed down.

"It's an absolute disgrace," Mr Simpson said.

Several Labor politicians, including opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, used their lunch break at the workshop to hear what the protesters had to say.

But Labor Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne said the event was better than he thought it would be.

"It's generating a lot of active conversation," Mr Byrne said.

"But it had want to get a good band for its buck."

Mr Byrne suggested the event cost more than $5 million.

Protesters outside the Queensland Plan Summit in Mackay.
Protesters outside the Queensland Plan Summit in Mackay.

Gladstone MP looks to industry-centric future

GLADSTONE MP Liz Cunningham said she was excited by the summit because of what people have been contributing.
"The tight times has kept people focused," she said.

'There's been enough time for some excellent questions to come up.

Mrs Cunningham said that discussing ideas with people outside her electorate had made her and the other Gladstone delegates think beyond their geographical area.

"So far for Gladstone we've talked about what they raised in the CSIRO presentation on MET (mining, engineering and technology)," she said.

"We've been discussing how we can equip people living in the region for the economic opportunity in the future."

Mrs Cunningham said that in the future she hoped the plan would address the impact of industry on communities to ensure that the social fabric can cope.

"We want to see that addressed coactively rather than retrospectively," she said.


Mackay MPs and delegates put their thinking caps on

WITH their heads positioned closely together, Deirdre Comerford, Tim Mulherin, Greg Sutherland and Narelle Pearse drafted their questions to help shape the Queensland Plan.

They were only given 25 minutes to scribble their draft questions on a large sheet of butchers paper.

Mayor Comerford and Member for Mackay, Tim Mulherin, were talking low and fast as the time started to run out.

This is what they came up with:

  • How do we drive innovation and shift our focus to a more knowledge and technological based economy? 
  • How do we responsibly balance economic prosperity and environmental sustainability?
  • How do we position QLD as a global entry point to the Asian economy?
  • How do we fund infrastructure going forward to maximise the opportunities for our region?

Focusing on a better future for our families

GEOFF Campbell is thinking about his children and grandchildren as he listens to the speakers and his fellow brainstormers during the Queensland Plan summit.

The member of the Urban Development Institute of Australia and partner of Bundaberg business Insite SJC is with his local member, Bundaberg MP Stephen Bennett, today.

He joked that he was frightened the event might turn out to be a "set up" and the State Government would allocate delegates with the task of liaising with the community for the next stage of the Queensland Plan.

But Mr Campbell said he believed everyone with him wanted to focus on a better future for their families in 30 years time.

"You want it to be crime-free, and there's a big focus on education," he said.

From a development perspective, Mr Campbell said he hoped the 30 year plan could eventually provide a better road map for town planning.

He explained regional town planning schemes were 20 years and with the Queensland Plan longer it would help map a better town planning future.


CSIRO discusses mega trends

Great expectations: Consumer and societal expectations for services, experience and social interaction
Virtually here: Increasing connectivity is impacting shops, offices, cities, governance models and lifestyles
More from less: Increasing demand for limited resources
Going, going, gone: A window of opportunity to protect habitats, biodiversity and the global climate
The silk highway: Rapid economic growth in Asia and the developing world
Forever young: An ageing population, rising health care expenditure and changing retirement models

Discussion areas for session two

  • Jobs, participating and the economy
  • Education and research
  • Living in my community
  • Sustainable landscapes
  • Healthy and active

Instructions for session two

  • Generate a few questions for your discussion area
  • Identify top tow questions for your table
  • If you have a question unrelated to your discussion area, post it on the wild card wall
  • Work with neighbouring table to craft your best single question for your discussion are
  • Write your best question on the sheet provided and post it to the wall

Excitement in the room

Minister for Police and Community Jack Dempsey said there was an air of excitement in the room and it was great to see the variety of people at the summit.

"It's good to see all types of government's a unified group of parliament," he said.

"It's a vision for the future and the direction that Queensland needs to be going.

"You've got to make sure people have the chance to be part of it.

"It's great to see the plan kicking off in a regional city.

"I look forward to not only what comes out of today but the next couple of months as well.

Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Queensland summit in Mackay.
Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Queensland summit in Mackay. Peter Holt


First session makes MPs think

Facilitator Max Hardy from Twyfords summarised the situation succinctly in his opening statement: "It's something about a powerful question that can inspire people."

In the first session the attendees were to workshop the following questions: "From your experience and information presented today what do you believe are the key opportunities and challenges facing Queensland? What questions would you ask in your electorate or region?"

They were then tasked to write down the top three questions from the table and pick one for display on the conference centre wall.


Jeff Seeney said today will be a milestone for Queensland

Deputy Premier and Callide MP Jeff Seeney said today will be a milestone for Queensland for many years to come.

Mr Seeney said he was looking forward to discussing the trends that will affect the state.

"Today I'm going to see that regional Queensland is seen, heard and noticed by government in Queensland," he said.


Bennett hopes the summit would look infrastructure

Bundaberg MP Stephen Bennett said he hoped the summit would look at questions to do with infrastructure and job creation opportunities.

Mr Bennett said there is a wonderful opportunities for growth with the Bundaberg port that he hoped to raise.

"We need to improve health opportunities," he said.

Burnett delegate John Russon said that he believed road and rail infrastructure is underused in the state.

"I think we need to look at the decentralisation of Queensland," Mr Russon said.

"We've got such a diverse state, why do we need it all infrastructure to be based in south-east Queensland."

Mr Russon also said the road network and the improvement of the Bruce Highway were major concerns for people within the Burnett region.


Sorrensen keen to see topics surrounding tourism

Maryborough delegate Kate Niblett, who is in the education sector and belongs to a range of community organisations, said she hoped to see the plan become a method for engaging Queensland for the future.

"I'm really interested to see how we manage knowledge-based systems for the future," Ms Niblett said.

Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorrensen said he would be taking a keen interest in what was said at the summit in terms of health services and tourism.

"I hope the conference brings a lot of futuristic type things," Mr Sorrensen said.

"How we deliver services and what the future is going to look like, especially in the medical field.

"There's a lot of good ideas in the community."

Vanessa Chircop

Premier met with protesters at Queensland planning summit

QUEENSLAND Premier Campbell  Newman and 400 delegates at a Queensland Plan Summit have been met by protesters fighting for jobs and to save the Great Barrier Reef.

About 50 protesters, mainly from the union movement,  rallied outside of the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre as MPs and community leaders prepared to map out the future of the state over the next 30 years.

They voiced concerns over asset sales and the impact of developments and industry on the Great Barrier Reef.

Spokesman for environmental group Communities Protecting Our Region Gordon Johnson said it was hoped Premier Campbell Newman would take notice of community angst over the proposed Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal.

"We've been deserted by Campbell Newman," he said.

"It's going to be the second largest coal terminal in the world and we don't want that for our region - Mackay is going to end up as a dirty coal town.

"We're proud Queenslanders and that's what we want Campbell to know."

Protesters hope to grab Newman's attention: Spokesman for environmental group Communities Protecting Our Region Gordon Johnson said it was hoped Premier Campbell Newman would take notice of community angst over the proposed Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal.
Protesters hope to grab Newman's attention: Spokesman for environmental group Communities Protecting Our Region Gordon Johnson said it was hoped Premier Campbell Newman would take notice of community angst over the proposed Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal.


Summit brings great cross-section of Qld: Bleijie

Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie told APN he had brought with him representatives of Sunshine Coast schools, sporting groups and the Salvation Army to have their say.

Gympie MP David Gibson said it was important that Queensland regional areas planned for the future.

"For me Gympie is going to be a very different place from where it is now,'' Mr Gibson said.

"We have to start planning now.''

Mr Bleijie said the summit included a great cross section of Queensland.

"It is just great to be here today with all these great Queenslanders as we discuss this plan for the next 30 years,''

MPs at Queensland Plan Summit in Mackay: MPs express their hopes for Queensland Plan Summit in Mackay.
MPs at Queensland Plan Summit in Mackay: MPs express their hopes for Queensland Plan Summit in Mackay.


Greens say 30-year plan can't be about short term gains

Queensland Greens Lead Senate candidate, Adam Stone said the final plan should develop well-considered changes for the long-term good of the state, not just "hollow words" with short-term gains.

"In 30 years time, Queenslanders will want secure jobs in industries that are stable or growing, they'll want to be more highly skilled than their cheaper international competitors, and they'll want to enjoy services and infrastructure befitting one of the richest societies in the world," he said.

"The plan must take us from dirty energy to the clean variety, protect tens of thousands of sustainable farming and tourism jobs from the coal and gas rush threatening our best agricultural land and Great Barrier Reef, and invest heavily in education and other social services that will underpin our economic competitiveness and quality of life."

Greens candidate for Dawson, Jonathon Dykyj, is on the ground at the site of the summit in Mackay. 

He urged the State Government to ensure the Queensland Plan genuinely looks after the best interests of Queenslanders by committing to keep public assets and services in public hands.

"Privatisation, outsourcing, contestability - whatever you want to call it, it will undermine service delivery in Queensland in years to come for the sake of a quick buck," Mr Dykyj said.


Politicians urged to keep politics out of summit

BOTH the Government and Opposition have warned each other to steer away from playing politics as MPs and hundreds of constituents gather for today's Queensland Plan Summit.

The event, to be held at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre, has been promoted as a starting point on a plan to manage Queensland for the next 30 years.

Both sides of politics are selling the same line: that this is to be a summit driven by the people, for the people.

But whether politics will truly be left at the door is yet to be seen.

Yesterday, Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk criticised Mr Newman for not spending more time in the Mackay region in the lead-up to the summit.

"It's a pity that the Premier and his cabinet team didn't use this opportunity to really understand the issues impacting here in Mackay," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"It would have been the perfect opportunity for 18 ministers and the Premier to spend time in the Mackay region, getting to understand the issues that are confronting people."

A spokesman for the Premier confirmed this week the majority of Government MPs would arrive and leave Mackay on the same day.

Meanwhile, Ms Palaszczuk said Labor's shadow ministers spent yesterday in Mackay, meeting with local industry representatives.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell reaffirmed the focus of today's summit would be "in the hands of the people". "The real focus of tomorrow is generating questions," he said.

"The real work on the Queensland plan occurs between May and October as we have conversations around the state to answer those questions."

But The Together Union has criticised the event, saying no union was formally invited to attend.

Mr Powell dismissed the accusations, and said unions were invited to "participate in a peak body and industry association workshop" held in Brisbane last week.


Services Union has presented a petition with 3000 signatures

THE Services Union has presented a petition with 3000 signatures to Member for Mackay Tim Mulherin opposing privatisation of public assets.

Earlier this year, unions promised to run "the mother of all campaigns" in opposition to asset sales recommended in the Costello Report.

The Government has since confirmed it would not sell publicly-owned electricity corporations, but has adopted 118 of the 155 recommendations contained within the report.

Services Union secretary Kath Nelson said it was hoped delivering the petition to Mr Mulherin ahead of the Queensland Plan Summit today would mean Premier Campbell Newman would take notice. She said Queenslanders did not support asset sales. "This exercise, from our union's perspective, is ensuring the community is represented," she said.

Unions will hold a rally opposing privatisation, job cuts and reduced services outside the summit today.


CSIRO talks future plans

11.20am: By 2030 we will have 60% less coral reefs, with the great barrier reef under the same stress says CSIRO's Stefan Hajkowicz.

Mr Hajkowicz also said that Queensland has amazing intellectual property which is basically knowing how to mine.

We will be selling our intellectual property to countries such as Chile in the future and showing them how to mine.


Drafting questions for our nation

11.32am: Politicians and guests taking 25 minutess to think of 3 questions they would ask their region.
Ted Malone, Narelle Pearse, Mayor Deirdre Comerford and Tim Mulherin drafting up questions on butcher's paper.

MPs from around Queensland draft some questions for their regions.
MPs from around Queensland draft some questions for their regions. Andrea Davy

Fast talking politicians

11.52am: The music has just changed to Salt N Pepper's Push it. They only have minutes left. Tim Malone and Deirdre Comerford are talking fast.

Questions for Mackay's region

12.03pm: Mackay's pollies and guests have thought up their questions.