MEETING: Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington speaks to Lockyer Valley Growers president Michael Sippel, Lockyer MP Jim McDonald and Troy Qualischefski.
MEETING: Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington speaks to Lockyer Valley Growers president Michael Sippel, Lockyer MP Jim McDonald and Troy Qualischefski.

Frecklington: Ipswich won't be forgotten at state election

OPPOSITION Leader Deb Frecklington assured Ipswich won't be "forgotten" at next year's state election.

After a day spent touring the devastation caused by bushfires in Stanthorpe and surrounding areas, she attended a Lockyer Growers Group meeting in Gatton on Wednesday night.

A key point of discussion was the release of the Queensland Competition Authority's draft rural irrigation price review concerning the Central and Lower Lockyer Valley schemes.

Growers have been fighting against the introduction of the "unrealistic" allocations, largely due to historically underperforming local dams, and the reality of paying large sums for water they might never receive.

Speaking to the QT, Ms Frecklington believed Ipswich had been "left behind" and the Lockyer Valley "forgotten" by Annastacia Palaszczuk's government.

As a Labor stronghold, Ipswich was largely ignored by the LNP in this year's Federal Election, with the region desperate for infrastructure to keep up with its rapid population growth.

Ms Frecklington understood Ipswich was "screaming out" for infrastructure and blamed "political bickering" between the state and federal levels for why it was not being delivered.

"Ipswich has been ripped off under a Labor government," she said.

"In relation to infrastructure, you just have to look at the bottom line and when the State Government reduces the infrastructure spend by about $3 billion a year under Annastacia Palaszczuk, it's no wonder places like Ipswich are feeling forgotten.

"The one thing I would do is stop the political bickering with the Federal Government and I would work with Prime Minister Scott Morrison around the access to funding for infrastructure projects. That is why major infrastructure like road and rail projects get delayed all the time because of this infighting between state and federal.

"When we were in government, there was a federal Labor government and we were able to deliver major infrastructure projects... just by working with whoever is in (power).

"Ipswich won't be forgotten."

The Premier and the SEQ Council of Mayors are hoping a successful bid for the 2032 Olympic Games will fast track much needed infrastructure for the region.

In terms of pressing matters in the valley, Ms Frecklington said if elected a priority is a state wide water asset audit to assess how they can be better utilised, as well as a focus on water affordability.

The visit to the University of Queensland's Gatton campus was a chance to see eldest daughter Isabella, who is in her second year studying agribusiness.

"I think agriculture is the future so I'm very proud and excited that my daughter is here at Gatton studying agriculture but it's also nice to be able to see her and pay for her meal and get her a free feed," she laughed.

"I did take her to the pub and bought her a beer as well."

Draft price review released

THE Queensland Competition Authority has released its draft rural irrigation price review for stakeholder feedback.

The draft report, which has been provided to both the Treasurer Jackie Trad and the Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham, has been published with the QCA receiving more than 100 submissions and holding 15 workshops across the state.

Several stakeholder submissions relevant to the Central and Lower Lockyer Valley schemes were received, and a workshop was held in February to address queries around tariff structure, dam safety, the renewals annuity and other matters.

The QCA is inviting stakeholders to provide additional feedback as part of its ongoing consultation ahead of the anticipated release of the final report in February 2020.

The QCA will undertake a final workshop for Central and Lower Lockyer Valley stakeholders in Gatton in September 26.

Lockyer Water Users Forum member Gordon Van der Est said the group did not want to provide comment on the highly contentious price plan until they could thoroughly assess the entire report.

For more information and to make a submission, visit the QCA website.