Out of sight and mind: Somerset forgotten
THE Somerset region is suffering from a lack of recognition according to one industry leader.
Kilcoy Chamber of Commerce president Bronwyn Davies said the region had a lot to contribute, but was being let down and overlooked.
It comes after it was revealed the state government didn’t class the region as regional or rural, denying residents the opportunity to take part in the Regional Communities Forums this week.
Ms Davies had intended to sign up as a representative to the forums, but was left disappointed.
“90 per cent of the business and households are rural in the area,” Ms Davies said.
“It’s very disappointing and it doesn’t make sense.”
She said it was particularly galling given Ipswich was included in the forums and classed as a regional area.
She said forums such as the Regional Communities Forum were important for local issues to be heard.
“If we don’t have an ability to have a voice, then decisions are made and they can be adverse for the community,” she said.
The issue went far further than just forums, with health and education services being split among three separate areas just within the region itself.
Similarly, the Somerset Regional Council is classed as ineligible to access Works for Queensland funding, despite almost all other regional councils in Queensland receiving the funding.
Ms Davies said the was a problem with the region being continually overlooked.
“I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s deliberate, I think it’s out of sight, out of mind,” she said.
“There’s just not enough attention being given for whatever reason.
“Why Somerset is missing out on attention is beyond me, I just don’t understand it.”
Ms Davies said she was working with both major parties to highlight the need for better recognition of the region and hoped they would take notice.
“We’ve got a need in Somerset to be recognised for the distinctive and beautiful region that we are,” she said.
“(It) is just this amazing region that has everything on its doorstep.”