Horror as Tim Nicholls eats a melon
THE man who could be the next Premier of Queensland - leader of the LNP and Member for Clayfield Tim Nicholls - was in Chinchilla on Saturday for his first ever Melon Festival.
He had been warned against the melon skiing, hadn't done enough training for the Melon Ironman and took a look at the melon bungee and the pip spitting before settling for the sticky and undignified mess of the melon eating competition.
Judging by the look of abject horror on Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh's face - who had invited the LNP leader to the festival - Mr Nicholls performed admirably at the table.
Speaking to the Chinchilla News after the parade on Saturday morning, Mr Nicholls said he had been "loving” his time at the Melon Festival.
"It's a great opportunity to get out to regional Queensland, a great opportunity to get out and to talk with local people and fined out what their issues or concerns are,” Mr Nicholls said.
Cr McVeigh took Mr Nicholls on a tour of the former QR land next to the Museum, now owned by the council, and Mr Nicholls talked up the opportunities present in a diverse economy that encompassed tourism, agriculture and the resources sector.
When asked whether he was worried about the rise of One Nation - a shift particularly noticable in the Maranoa electorate during the 2016 federal election - Mr Nicholls said he knew people in the regions were doing it tough "in certain areas” and "they're looking for answers”.
"But you've got to have a government that can actually deliver those answer; it can't be just a thought bubble,” he said.
"It just can't be anti-everything. You've got to have a plan for something.”
Mr Nicholls went on to say that one of the big issues on his radar over the last year was that of the drug ice, and it's affect on regional Queensland.
"So we've got... a plan to deal with the scourge of ice. If you want to get things built in the regions, you need something like our royalties for regions program,” he said.
"So Labor cut it, we actually had it, and we've promised to reintroduce it... you've actually got to have sensible solutions and I think that's our job.
"A vote for the minor party will simply see the do-nothing Labor government get back into office once again.”
Mr Nicholls did not accept that voters were turning to parties like One Nation because they were fed up with both major parties.
"Oh no, we've got hard-working people here in the electorate of Warrego, we've got Ann who works hard and is out here on the ground,” he said.
"We've got to make sure that we're out there, that we're talking with people, that we understand what their concerns are and as I say, we understand that people are looking for us to do better.
"Our challenge is to get out there and work hard every day to show the voters out there that we are doing better, that we have got the plans and the policies. That's what our mission is going to be between now and the next election.”