Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders doesn’t want the city to be left behind.
Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders doesn’t want the city to be left behind.

‘Civil war’ to blame for regional deal stalemate: Saunders

A "CIVIL war" between Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien and member for Hinkler Keith Pitt is preventing Maryborough from joining the Hinkler Regional Deal.

That is what the city's MP Bruce Saunders believes.

"There is a divide between Keith Pitt and Llew O'Brien," Mr Saunders said. "Everyone knows there's a civil war happening there."

Mr Saunders claimed the two Federal LNP MPs were at odds over the Cashless Debit Card.

Mr Pitt has long championed the card, which is currently being trialled in the Hinkler electorate.

Mr O'Brien has long said the card would not be coming to Maryborough as he was opposed to it being a blanket solution for everyone.

The Hinkler Regional Deal was intended to provide jobs and an economic boost to the region in conjunction with the trial.

But Mr Saunders said no other regional deal had been determined by electoral boundaries rather than regional areas.

He said for years there had been a fight to bring the communities of Hervey Bay and Maryborough together and now the Hinkler Regional Deal was threatening that.

"The LNP comes along and undoes all that good work in five minutes," he said.

"I will not let this great city of Maryborough get left behind.

"Maryborough should be included in it - it's been left behind for too many years by the LNP."

Mr Saunders also disputed the claim that it was former treasurer Jackie Trad who declined to sign the deal.

"To blame the former treasurer is totally unfair," he said.

"It was me who went to her and argued fiercely there was no way we should sign it unless Maryborough was included."

Mr Pitt has said Maryborough could be included if it trialled the cashless card, a suggestion Mr Saunders strongly rejected.

"I won't sign up for that," he said.

Mr O'Brien said it was sad to see Mr Saunders "scrounging around for gossip and innuendo like a chicken scrounging over scraps in a pen".

"It's very disappointing for Bruce to stoop so low, falsely speculating about political relationships when our state and our nation is in the grips of a health and economic crisis that is costing people their lives and livelihoods," he said.

"It's disgraceful and he should be ashamed of himself. He should know better.

"If you want to do a deal there needs to be genuine goodwill and you need to be able to trust your partner.

"But I seriously question how anyone can trust this Palaszczuk Labor Government which has just lost its Deputy Premier under the cloud of a Crime and Corruption Commission investigation."

Mr O'Brien said he didn't need a special deal with the State Government to deliver for Maryborough and the Wide Bay.

Mr Pitt said the regional deal was aimed at helping to address social issues in the Hinkler electorate, as well as investing in vital infrastructure and driving the economy.

"The Hinkler Regional Deal has many flow-on benefits for the wider region and its shortsighted of the Member for Maryborough to not see this," he said.

"This proves that the Queensland State Labor Government only cares about putting money into the seats it holds. Anything else is ignored."



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