Bundamba MP says focus is on jobs, fighting bigotry
BUNDAMBA MP Lance McCallum said he will call out bigotry wherever it raises its head and that he has been "subject to my share of racism" throughout his life.
The former trade union official won the seat vacated by long-time MP Jo-Ann Miller in a by-election in March in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
During his maiden speech in parliament, Mr McCallum said securing and creating jobs will be his main priority in his multicultural, blue-collar electorate in the face of COVID-19.
For the first time in Queensland's history, three First Nations people hold seats in parliament at the same time.
Mr McCallum, a proud Gubbi Gubbi man, made history alongside Cook MP Cynthia Lui and Algester MP Leeanne Enoch.
"Bundamba has a strong sense of community, which is in no small part derived from our proud and broad cultural diversity," he said.
"People from the world over, Polynesian, African, Asian, Indian, New Zealand, European and many more, all make strong contributions to the fabric of our community.
"Being inclusive, tolerant and supporting one another is something that I believe in deeply.
"I have been subject to my share of racism and I have seen others be persecuted for their origin, religion, body shape, gender or sexuality simply because the perception of them by others was one of an often illusionary difference.
"I will always strive to call out this insidious behaviour and will always choose acceptance, collectiveness and unity over fear, distrust and division."
Mr McCallum said he knew the current climate was keeping people in the working class suburbs of Bundamba up at night.
"The people of Bundamba, like the majority of people across Queensland, want jobs: jobs that are purposeful, secure and can provide a decent standard of living for them and their loved ones," he said.
"As we begin to rebuild our coronavirus impacted economy, with so many unemployed, underemployed and seeking more work or having given up on looking for work altogether, all through circumstances beyond their control, it has never been more important to provide as many secure local jobs as possible.
"A large part of that comes down to skills and training.
"That is why we are delivering a $7.3 million upgrade to Ipswich TAFE.
"During the by-election we announced a $2 million upgrade to the Bundamba TAFE's metal trades training facility.
"With 260 students already accessing Labor's $42 million TAFE and apprenticeships program in Ipswich, we will have a local pipeline of skilled young workers ready to take on emerging opportunities in our growing industries."
He credited the work done by his predecessor, who often proved a thorn in the side to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in her final years in politics.
"Jo-Ann was a fierce advocate for 20 years and I wish her good health and happiness," he said.
"I said during the campaign that I would be Bundamba's representative in Brisbane, not the other way around; and I meant it."