by Rory Hession
THE Roma Show's political profile increased at the weekend when State Opposition leader Tim Nicholls made an appearance.
Mr Nicholls had been touring regional Queensland and said his recent trip to Roma was an opportunity to hear from local voices.
"It's show season; I was out in Kingaroy last week, I'm in Roma this weekend and will be making my way to Longreach next week,” he said.
"It's an opportunity for me to talk to locals and listen to their concerns and show some support so we understand what's going on in the Warrego.”
After last week's unveiling of the Federal Government's 2017 Budget, Mr Nicholls was quick to support its importance to rural areas.
"The Budget has seen some significant investment in the regions, particularly the inland rail; that 100 year story is now getting some serious money put behind it with $8.4billion in investment,” he said.
"More broadly, money has been put into the development of roads and in particular beef roads which will certainly benefit from that funding available.
"This along side the full funding of the NDIS, something that was a $22billion hole. We're now seeing hard dollars invested into that.”
However, the same level of optimism wasn't extended to the upcoming Queensland 2017 Budget.
"Queensland rural areas have definitely been duffed by the last Queensland Palaszczuk budget, we certainly haven't seen investment go into the roads and the infrastructure we need,” he said.
"There is $3million less money made available for infrastructure after their previous budget in particular.”
Mr Nicholls said it was Annastacia Palaszczuk's prerogative to also call an election date to ease local fears.
"There's also been a lot of speculation on when the next election will be held and the one thing Annastacia Palaszczuk could do would be to say when the election is going to be held now,” he said.
"Without a firm knowledge, people won't invest and people won't make decisions as they're waiting to hear what the election holds and what the policies are.”
The prospect of a growing One Nation party was also some concern but Mr Nicholls said the state opposition was moving to address voters' dissatisfaction with major parties.
"We understand people are fed up with the shouting nature of politics and so what we've been doing is putting real policies that affect people on the ground in Queensland,” he said.
"You need people prepared to do the hard work to put in place policies to address people's concerns, because thought bubbles won't fix issues like youth unemployment and the Warrego Hwy.”