Mr PERRETT (Gympie—LNP) (7.19 pm): Gympie is experiencing high growth. Government can
no longer ignore the data. Growth is putting pressure on local infrastructure and services. Water security needs to be addressed. Works and investigation need to start on raising Borumba Dam to provide water security for residential, industrial and agricultural users. Gympie Mayor Glen Hartwig has publicly said that we have less than 10 years.
Like many areas of the state, police services need significant investment. The police are
stretched on the Cooloola Coast, with issues caused by the influx of people and accidents. The permanent population of 6,500 swells by thousands during the peak tourist season and on weekends.
The current Rainbow Beach Police Beat is not a police station. It does not provide the same level of service. The Cooloola Coast urgently needs additional personnel and resources, including a properly designated police station.
Growth is also putting pressure on the Mary Valley. The Imbil Police Station needs additional personnel as well as an upgrade. There is increasing pressure on local state controlled roads which I frequently raise with the minister. The Mary Valley Highway safety upgrade report was due last year. It must be publicly released. Road access to Rainbow Beach and Tin Can Bay needs to be improved.
The upgrade of the Coondoo Creek Bridge was welcomed, but traffic is often held up and passing lanes are needed to make the road safer for everyone.
Another issue affected by growth is the education of our children. Local high schools are under pressure. Enrolments at James Nash and Gympie state high schools are bursting, with private schools picking up the slack. We should plan for significant growth.
Gympie needs a new fire and rescue station. The land was bought in 2014 and is ready for a
station. A previous minister said that construction would start in 2022, with completion in 2023. The minister needs to advise the community if it is still on track.
The government needs to keep its eye on the ball in relation to service delivery at Gympie
Hospital. I have been receiving numerous complaints from local doctors about service delivery at our Gympie Hospital. It is wonderful that a new hospital was built on the Sunshine Coast, but it is more than 100 kilometres away. Locals need services in Gympie. Gympie’s hospital is on a constrained site at the top of a steep hill and parking is poor. The closure of the private hospital is putting pressure on the public hospital. If the current hospital is unable to meet its community service delivery obligations, then planning for a new hospital needs to start.
We need to see the review of the Cooloola Coast’s health needs which was due in February last year. The government can no longer ignore the needs of high-growth regions like Gympie.