Press Conference with Cr George Seymour
GEORGE SEYMOUR: It's really fantastic to have a supportive Federal Government that is meeting with the council that is in our region, in our community, working out how our community can move forward. We are very, very pleased to have Senator Anthony Chisholm, the Assistant Minister for Regional Development here in our community. He's been a senator for many, many years. So he's got a very good relationship with the Fraser Coast, but it's great to be able to show a senior government minister around the issues we're facing with flood recovery as well as some amazing stories about the resilience of our community, the innovation in terms of manufacturing and the spirit of our community.
JOURNALIST: So what have you guys had an opportunity to do whilst you've been here today?
GEORGE SEYMOUR: We're visiting Woolworths, who are doing their massive reconstruction following the second major flood this year. A number of businesses have bounced back already from the floods and Woolworths will very soon be open to full capacity. So it's fantastic for the Federal Government to see the workers, all the construction crew, the resilience of Woolworths here in Maryborough, as well as visiting BtB Marine which is a fantastic manufacturing business based here on the Fraser Coast, providing government defence contracts, contracts to different levels of government, recreation, and private use.
JOURNALIST: So why is it important for the different levels of government to work together?
GEORGE SEYMOUR: It's really essential that all levels of government work together to tackle the problems of the 21st century. We have many, many issues here on the Fraser Coast in terms of how we want to move forward with education levels, employment, housing affordability, and it's only through the three levels of government working together that we can adapt and we can innovate and we can ensure that we're meeting the needs of the community.
JOURNALIST: So flood recovery and manufacturing we’ve spoken about today. Anything about the housing crisis, as you've just mentioned?
GEORGE SEYMOUR: The first issue always - right now, and it has been for quite some time - is housing affordability. When you have, you know, families, young families who don't have a roof over their head or are two weeks towards the end of their tenancy and don't know what they're going to do, that is a crisis. And we welcome the commitments in the state government budget this week, and we welcome the Federal Government's, you know, continuing support. We need to address housing affordability and homelessness.
JOURNALIST: Thanks, George.
GEORGE SEYMOUR: Okay.
JOURNALIST: Alright, so if we could do ourselves a quick sound check for us, please.
ANTHONY CHISHOLM: Anthony Chisholm, Labor Senator for Queensland.
JOURNALIST: So, Anthony, what's it been like visiting Maryborough today?
ANTHONY CHISHOLM: It's been fantastic to make this my first regional visit as the newly appointed Assistant Minister for Education and Regional Development. Thanks to the mayor, George Seymour, who I've always had a good relationship with but it just feels special to be back here whilst we have got an Albanese Labor Government.
The Prime Minister gave me these assistant minister roles because he wants me to spend as much time in regional Queensland as possible. We know, although we didn't win seats in regional Queensland, Albanese wants to be a Prime Minister for all of Australia. And that's why I'll be spending a significant time in this part of the world, working with the local government to ensure that these regions get the best opportunity that they can as part of an Albanese Labor Government.
We know there's plenty of challenges. I've spent many a time through this part of the world in opposition, but it's really pleasing to be here today in government, talk with George, talking to the local community and ensure that we can actually make a difference to improve the lives of people and tackle those changes that many people face.
JOURNALIST: So visiting and talking to the locals today, what kind of things are you hearing that needs to be addressed in Maryborough?
ANTHONY CHISHOLM: Well, I think that there's strong opportunity. So what the Labor ‑ Federal Labor Government want to focus on is rebuilding manufacturing, ensuring that there's good educational outcomes no matter which part of the country that you're from. So those values closely align with what the priorities are for people in this area. So I'm confident that the Federal Government can work with people in this area.
So we know that manufacturing is important to this part of the country. Federal Labor Government want to work closely with local businesses which is why we're building the boat ‑ visiting the boat manufacturing this afternoon because we think there's enormous opportunity to grow these sorts of businesses in this part of the world.
JOURNALIST: And obviously the state budget was handed down yesterday. What's the kind of reaction from that? How good is it for Queensland and regional Queensland as well?
ANTHONY CHISHOLM: Well, we know that there's been a significant investment in health and I think that's going to be welcomed in many parts of Queensland. So we know it's been a priority to rebuild hospitals, include increased capacity in these places as well. So I think that will be welcomed and I'm particularly pleased with the extra money spent on mental health support. I know that will be welcomed across many parts of Queensland.
JOURNALIST: Is the Federal Government going to sort of work with Queensland to bring those projects to fruition?
ANTHONY CHISHOLM: Absolutely. The Prime Minister has signaled that he wants to work with governments of all persuasion. We've had a good relationship with the state government over the last couple of years. I'm confident that we’ll work well together. We saw the meeting, the first meeting of the National Cabinet last week, how constructive that was, and I expect that to continue as we get closer to delivering a federal Labor budget in October.
JOURNALIST: And where to in regional Queensland will you be visiting next?
ANTHONY CHISHOLM: I'll be visiting all parts of the state. So we're looking at getting up to Cairns and the Cape very soon. We know that it is a big state but we want to be ‑ ensure that we are a government for the whole of Australia and the whole of Queensland.