Andrew Powell says ordinary citizens are better at long term planning than politicians.
Andrew Powell says ordinary citizens are better at long term planning than politicians. Craig Warhurst

Powell propels people of Gympie to have say on future

QUEENSLAND'S future is "up to you", state Cabinet minister Andrew Powell told Gympie people yesterday.

Here to promote the State Government's 30-year Queensland Plan initiative, the plan promoter said he did not personally want any say in the final result.

Mr ("Call me Andrew") Powell told a Gympie and District Chamber of Commerce breakfast he wanted Queenslanders to take control.

Dubbed the Queensland Plan "Champion", a modest Mr Powell encouraged Gympie people to make their views known on MP David Gibson's website.

And the more the merrier, he said, especially from young people who will have to live with what we are creating now.

"David says he wants at least 500 responses. That means I'll have to get 750 from my electorate of Glasshouse. And I suspect (Premier) Campbell Newman will want to top that.

"My badge before being a politician was community engagement and I actually worked for Peter Beattie."

But the Beattie Government had a problem with genuine community engagement, he said.

"I remember one ministerial forum, where people had spent three months preparing submissions.

"I observed (then Labor Minister) Matt Foley.

"We had to have a poet there, because Matt loved his poetry.

"But as soon as the poetry was over, Matt would take a newspaper and read it while community members made their submissions.

"He was clearly not engaged. He wasn't interested.

"As politicians, you have to remember we have the attention span of a goldfish."