Campbell Newman and Member for Gympie David Gibson in Mary Street.
Campbell Newman and Member for Gympie David Gibson in Mary Street. Craig Warhurst

Newman pleased at his 80% support

THE man who would be premier of Queensland was uncharacteristically lost for words.

Told of his enormous popularity in the Gympie region, particularly after his recent visit, Campbell Newman hesitated for a few seconds before responding.

“Well, that's interesting,” he said, as news sunk in of his 80% approval rating from internet readers of The Gympie Times who participated in our online opinion poll.

A full 80% of them indicated they believed he would be a better premier than the incumbent, Anna Bligh.

“My only reaction,” he said cautiously, “is that across the state so far I'm picking up a strong feeling that it's time for a change.

“My job is just to make sure that I have a great team of people and the party and I are working on that now.

“But I am hearing what people are saying and I hope they support us at the election,” he said.

Mr Newman made a big splash in Gympie when he made a policy-packed pre-Easter visit, naming Gympie and Maryborough as “probably Queensland's most neglected regions”.

He promised a 10-year program to flood-proof and upgrade the Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Cairns, more needs-based funding for government services and more decentralised decision making for government agencies.

He said he would reverse Labor centralist policies which had resulted in cuts in Gympie-based administration, including the forestry and Gympie Conference Centre sell-off and the shift of regional Main Roads Department personnel from Gympie to Maroochydore.

After a quick tour down Memorial Lane and Mary Street, he told business and community leaders of his plans, at an RSL Club luncheon.

He also promised to curb what he called Labor's “extreme green” political allies and “my favourite department, DERM (the Department of Environment and Resource Management)”.

He also promised improved health care access.