Far North Queensland residents are being urged to have their say on a trial of daylight saving for South East Queensland.
Premier Anna Bligh has asked her Far North MPs to provide feedback by mid-May on support or opposition for the introduction of an SEQ trial and a referendum, potentially from this summer.
Additionally, the government today opened an on-line forum – providing direct contact with the Premier – offering residents of communities from Coolangatta to Cooktown the chance to have a say on whether Queensland should have a split time zone trial, followed by a referendum.
“Our government has previously categorically ruled out Daylight Saving for the entire state and we remain opposed to any consideration in that regard,” Ms Bligh said.
“But in South East Queensland this is an issue that polarises residents, this is the issue that never goes away and no matter where I am in the south east, it is the issue that is regularly raised with me – and I can’t ignore that.
“And it’s little wonder when you consider that anyone aged under 36 has never been given the opportunity to have their say.
“Independent MP Peter Wellington has introduced a Private Members Bill to have a referendum on two time zones for Queensland and maybe Mr Wellington is headed in the right direction.
“Maybe we need to revisit the Daylight Saving issue and listen more to exactly what it is Queenslanders want for the South East in regard to split time zones.
“Our government won’t decide how to vote on Mr Wellington’s Bill without talking to Queenslanders first,” Ms Bligh said.
Member for Cairns Desley Boyle said people in FNQ needed to get involved in this debate and provide their views.
“We know daylight saving is ruled out in the Far North but I want feedback on what people think about SEQ being on a different time to the rest of Queensland.
“I’m keen to know where people stand on that issue so that I can pass it on to the Premier,” Ms Boyle said.
Member for Barron River Steve Wettenhall said he expected a lot of interest in the issue.
“I expect to hear strong opposition from the Far North to a split time zone for Queensland, just as the Far North has previously strongly opposed statewide daylight saving.
“There is sure to be a range of views in the community so I am looking forward to the opportunity to ‘test the temperature’ of the community on this issue over the coming weeks,” Mr Wettenhall said.
Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the discussion about having daylight saving in the Far North had been put to bed.
“This discussion isn’t about having daylight saving here, it’s about asking residents in my local area to put forward their views to me about having daylight saving just for SEQ so we can contribute to the debate.
“I want to hear from people in my electorate because regional Queenslanders have a real chance to shape this discussion and influence the outcome.
Member for Cook Jason O’Brien said: “As Queensland’s most northern representative I understand why people up here do not want daylight saving.
“However, as someone who regularly travels to Brisbane for Parliament I also understand why people in SEQ do.
“I think that we can sort through the technical difficulties to make sure everybody is happy and I look forward to hearing what my constituents think,” Mr O’Brien said.