Two health groups is over the top

THE EXISTENCE of two health lobby groups on the Fraser Coast is "plain ridiculous", a chamber of commerce president insisted yesterday.

Bill Gosewisch, Burrum and District Chamber of Commerce president, was commenting after a meeting of the region's four chamber presidents with Fraser Coast Health Focus Group chair Gerard O'Connell.

The need for one lobby group, and no more, emerged as the over-riding message from Tuesday night's meeting and this view was expected to be confirmed by chamber executives at a meeting of the Fraser Coast Chamber of Commerce last night.

A proposal calling for one health group to represent the region went before the floor.

"One group is more or less political, the other is more or less medical. They are not doing the job," Bill Gosewisch, said.

"The government will use the two groups and play them off each other."

The establishment of the Community Health Task Force before Christmas placed a question mark over the role of the Fraser Coast Health Focus Group, which has been aligned with the chambers of commerce since its inception five years ago.

Health Focus Group chair Gerard O'Connell also called for a single entity group to fight for health services on the Fraser Coast.

"Two groups are not necessary and are very counter productive. It's a distraction, a laughing stock," he said.

Mr O'Connell reiterated his willingness to step out of the health lobby group arena if his involvement was an obstacle to the single group scenario.

He said he was hopeful that a public meeting would be called in the wake of last night's proposal bringing together all interested parties in the region.

Meanwhile the chair of the Community Health Task Force, Chris Foley, has said the LNP is represented in the group by Hervey Bay MP, Ted Sorensen.

Mr Foley was questioned on why Brad Hansen, the ALP Maryborough candidate in last year's state election was invited to be a member but not LNP candidate Anne Maddern.

"Brad is the endorsed candidate for the Labor Party," he said.



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