Community Cabinet to help mark Stanthorpe’s 150th anniversary

The Queensland Cabinet met in Stanthorpe today.

By Dominique Tassell

The Queensland Cabinet met in Stanthorpe today to “focus on issues and projects vital for the continued benefit of the community”.

The Cabinet meeting and community reception also helped mark the 150th anniversary of Stanthorpe, and showcase the Granite Belt region and its importance to the Queensland economy.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said taking the Cabinet to Stanthorpe further demonstrated how her Government worked for all of Queensland.

“The Stanthorpe area is such a special part of Queensland which is why all our Cabinet Ministers are looking forward to helping mark its 150th anniversary,” the Premier said.

“Bringing the Cabinet to Stanthorpe will allow us to hear firsthand from the Mayor and local community about the issues and opportunities important to the region.

“I’m proud of the local investment our Government has made, including health, education, roads and infrastructure.”

The Mayor of Southern Downs Regional Council, Vic Pennisi said he was thrilled the Premier has decided to bring the Cabinet to Stanthorpe to help celebrate a significant anniversary.

“Earlier this year I wrote to the Premier asking her Government to be a part of Stanthorpe’s 150 year celebrations,” he said.

“I think the community will be delighted to hear that the Premier has decided to bring her entire Cabinet to mark the proclamation of Stanthorpe becoming a municipality in 1872.

“Our region has so much going for it and we look forward to engaging the Premier and Ministers about our priorities when Cabinet comes to town.”

Later in the day, the Premier and her Cabinet gathered at Robert Channon Wines to announce the creation of the Queensland Music Trail.

She also announced that following lengthy discussions about the pipeline from Toowoomba to Warwick, they would be investing $300m into the project.

The Premier stated that water had obviously been an issue in recent years, especially in Stanthorpe.

She said the State Government spent $11m on water carting during the drought and would continue to support the community.

“If Warwick runs out of water, Stanthorpe runs out,” she said.

The pipeline will be 108k long, and will reportedly be finished by 2026.

Reportedly, the State Government will meet with local councils to “flush out” concerns in the next few months.

When asked about Toowoomba Council’s position on the pipeline, the Premier stated that the community wants water security and the State Government is funding the project so the Council should support it.

The Premier also stated they would be investing in local roads, though when asked specific questions about the region’s issues she declined to comment.

She did state that the State Government would be investing $800,000 into Stanthorpe High School.

Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe then spoke to the media.

He said how great it was to celebrate Stanthorpe’s anniversary and to include them in the Queensland Music Trail.

He said they’d made a budget commitment of over $20m over three years for the trail, and there will be four trails across Queensland.

Minister Hinchliffe said the trail aims to support bringing arts to communities and is an opportunity to encourage people to explore regional communities.

He highlighted the state’s domestic tourism boom in recent years, stating it had been highly focused in Southern Queensland.

He said they had seen great success in this area, but maintaining that is now a priority.

He stated that highlighting local talent would be a priority of the trail too.

Joel Edmondson, the CEO of Queensland Music Festival, stated that the trail is a “transformational initiative” that is the result of extensive collaboration.

He said it is a statement to how the states can work together and will be a “ globally unique and recognised initiative”.

Joel said that the trail will have both economic and cultural value for communities, and was about combining the two great experiences of music festivals and road trips “to create a new type of holiday and visitor experience”.

He stated the trial would recognise the “unique character and personality” of each stop and was about “opening the heart and soul of communities through music”.

Joel stated each trail is curated for specific audiences, and that all trails will feature First Nations performers.

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi spoke about water security in the region, stating that locals are still using water at a lower level than required.

He said he had concerns about the affordability of the pipeline, and the effect on ratepayers, but is confident that the State Government will consider this.

Mayor Pennisi also highlighted the unique culture of our region, stating that we have precincts such as the art gallery and library precinct in Stanthorpe.

He also stated that locals had been calling for a music precinct in Stanthorpe, which he supported.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick then spoke to the media, stating that the budget announcement next week will have a strong focus on investing in regional Queensland, through projects including the pipeline and music trail.

He said that over the last two years, regional Queensland has been an outstanding success story.

Member for Southern Downs, James Lister, said “this event is a terrific opportunity for us all to influence government over the issues which are important to us”.

“I have sought meetings with the Water Minister, Glen Butcher, and the Transport Minister, Mark Bailey to discuss our water security and road issues.

“So far Mr Butcher has agreed to meet with me in my office and I look forward to our discussions, particularly in respect of Emu Swamp Dam.

“I’m also keen to speak with Mr Bailey about the backlogged program of maintenance for our roads in Southern Downs, and in particular improving Cunningham’s Gap, building a replacement for the narrow, 100-year-old Carnarvon Bridge in Stanthorpe, and a permanent fix for the New England Highway south of Stanthorpe.

“I’m particularly happy for our mayor, Vic Pennisi, that the Premier and Cabinet are coming to town,” Mr Lister said. “He and his council have been working with the Queensland Government on a number of issues and the fact that the Premier has decided to bring cabinet to Southern Downs shows that Vic and his team have forged a good relationship with the government.

“I’ll be attending the Premier’s civic reception tonight and I look forward to promoting our region’s needs while I’m there,” he said.