CROWDS of Fairfax constituents have aired their concerns and fears with new MP Ted O’Brien on his summer listening tour of the electorate.
Starting the year with his ear to the ground, the Fairfax MP spent four days touring the electorate, taking his outdoor office to Cotton Tree, Mudjimba, Marcoola, Eumundi and Coolum this week.
Scores of residents who had been ignored by Mr O’Brien’s predecessor Clive Palmer took the opportunity to be heard on such wide-ranging issues as the upcoming entitlement reform, shifting of the historic Coolum Community Centre, development concerns in Yaroomba and queries about the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion.
At the final listening post in Coolum, a vocal group of more than 20 people gathered under the shade of a pandanus in Tickle Park.
Mr O’Brien listened, asked questions and offered advice and information in response to community concerns, mainly on local council issues.
Mr O’Brien said a number of problems raised were outside his responsibility as a federal member but he would still advocate to the relevant authorities on behalf of residents.
“It doesn’t matter if an issue fits with another tier of government, the community wants their elected representative to listen and to act,” said Mr. O’Brien.
“The good news is that my colleagues from this area of the Coast – Fiona Simpson, Jason O’Pray and Steve Robinson – are so easy to work with and also have the community’s best interests at heart.”
Mr O’Brien said his Summer Road Trip was the first of the year and he was looking forward to continuing meeting face-to-face with constituents and doing his best to assist.
“There is no substitute for meeting people face to face and hearing their views and concerns in person,” said Mr. O’Brien. “I might be a relatively new politician, but I’m a big believer in the old style of grass roots politics.”