DRIVING CHANGE: Leisa Tibbetts spoke directly to Government about the changes needed to improve Central Queensland.
DRIVING CHANGE: Leisa Tibbetts spoke directly to Government about the changes needed to improve Central Queensland.

Rural areas crying out for services

ONE active community member is speaking up to government and telling them what our region needs.

At a recent roundtable meeting with Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke, Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga and Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher, Leisa Tibbetts brought up a lack of services in the Banana shire to forefront.

Mrs Tibbetts is one of 20 selected representatives of the Central Queensland Regional Community Forum who have the chance to have quarterly meetings with the Queensland Government to help identify and address the key priorities facing regional areas.

“We need services in general but it’s also about making government accountable and aware funding is going to people but the services aren’t here in town,” Mrs Tibbetts said

“In the bush we have to speak up because our services are completely different to Rockhampton and Gladstone.

“This country is in a mess and that’s why I applied, to support rural communities who are the backbone of the country.

“To walk in a room with ministers and others was daunting but once topics come up to speak up well you just have speak with passion if you want to represent your community.”

Regional Community Forums are held right across the state as part of the Queensland Government’s Advancing Queensland’s Region Program.

Mrs Tibbetts was successful in being selected to the forum based on her work in the community which includes her offering of a 24-hour suicide support service with her business Real Heart, holistic healing for people with mental health and depression and as president of the Biloela Community Wellbeing group.

Out of the 20 Central Queensland representatives, only four are not from Gladstone, Rockhampton or Yeppoon. Mrs Tibbetts is one of those four.

All 20 forum members agreed mental health is a huge challenge facing Central Queensland.

“Business, infrastructure, our youth and the big one that took over was mental health, it came out loud and clear in the last forum,” Mrs Tibbetts said.

“Our suicide rate in Central Queensland is high and our mental health system is clogged up with waiting lists and people are being turned away.”

Mrs Tibbetts said forum members all agreed the following areas should be the focus to improve Central Queensland; Tourism and liveability, Skills, training and youth development, Infrastructure planning and investment and Community wellbeing, including mental health.

Mrs Tibbetts will participate in another roundtable meeting in February.