Relief as Qld poll date is set

PREMIER Anna Bligh's announcement of a state election on March 24 will evoke "a collective sigh of relief" from Queenslanders, Gympie MP David Gibson said yesterday.

But he warned of a long and bruising eight-week election campaign, with the government making full use of public resources during the pre-caretaker period.

"The Government goes into caretaker mode only after the Governor is notified on February 19, but in effect the campaign has started," he said.

"This means she gets four weeks of full access to government-paid advertising and the resources of government, at public expense," he said.

"There are very strong conventions on the caretaker period. For example, in that oil spill off Stradbroke Island, departmental officials had to brief both the Minister and me as Opposition spokesman."

Ms Bligh said the announcement would give Queenslanders time to consider the Floods Inquiry report, now due on March 16.

However, the Local Government Association of Queensland said the announcement, which would delay council elections to April 28, was more about "political convenience than good governance".

Association president Paul Bell said the Premier had gone back on "several assurances that she would not shift the date for Queensland local government elections (previously set for March 31) to suit her own political purposes".

Gympie Times


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