"I HAVEN'T been here for a while," Gympie's first Cabinet Minister in more than 30 years said yesterday as he walked back into his Gympie office.
David Gibson's recent absence is a situation he plans to correct, somehow.
Since his elevation to the new Campbell Newman Ministry a week ago, he says he has hit the ground not so much running as sprinting.
"My first day of briefing went to 10pm," he said.
"I've got police, ambulance, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, Emergency Management Queensland, SES groups and Corrective Services," he said.
It is a lot of sensitivities, a lot to go wrong, and that is why his working day starts, at the latest, with a detailed briefing on issues all over the state that he may have to deal with.
That happens every day at 7am, "rain hail or shine."
But he says there will be some compensations for his electorate.
Even though he will not have any extra Gympie electorate staff, any police or other inquiries linked to his portfolios can be referred to his new Ministerial office in Brisbane for prompt and direct handling.
"And I'll be able to sit around the Cabinet table and make sure Gympie concerns are brought to the attention of the relevant minister."
On Cooloola Coast beach driving fees, he says he will be talking directly to colleague Steve Dickson, minister for National Parks and Recreation.
Similarly with Mary Valley revitalisation issues, he says he wants to see action to return government land, purchased for the Traveston Crossing dam, to private ownership as soon as possible.
He says he will be speaking directly about this to neighbouring MP, Callide's Jeff Seeney, who is also deputy premier and Infrastructure minister.
And he intends to spend as much time as he can visiting frontline emergency and community safety officers and finding out from them what improvements can be made.
"It's challenging and exciting, with a blend of professionals and very committed volunteers," he said.
To keep in touch with his constituents, he is investigating opening his office on Saturdays, between 9am and noon.
And amongst all that, he says keeping time for his family is a survival necessity.
He plans to set aside one weekend a month as family time. It is vital to him and an important commitment to his younger children who, he says, have never experienced life without a dad in politics.
"They keep me grounded. My teenage kids will still roll their eyes at my jokes and my wife will reel me in and remind me that I'm her husband before and after being a Minister."
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