After serving the Pumicestone community for the last 3 years, Simone Wilson will say goodbye to her role as the State Member for Pumicestone after the State Election on October 31.
What would you say have been some of your major achievements?
Frankly, most achievements are those that I can’t freely talk about, but I leave knowing that my electorate team and I have helped many people at their greatest time of need. Whether this be with navigating the health system, housing difficulties, where individuals did not fit the group mould and needed someone to take up the good fight for them to make their lives better. This is what I am most proud of.
I am happy that I’ve been able to secure some environmental wins for our electorate.
Securing a total ban on shellfish collection across Moreton Bay was a great outcome, not only for my electorate but more widely across the stretch from Bribie to Wynnum. The significance of it will have long term positive impacts on our coastal waterways.
I was also very pleased to lobby the State Government for a Containers for Change recycling depot on the Island so that people who wanted to be part of this program didn’t have to take the long journey to Caboolture or Morayfield to get their refund.
During my first month as State Member I attended Lady Flo’s funeral in Kingaroy. Then Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull was also attending and after the service I seized on the opportunity to corner him at the water bubbler. Rather brazenly I told him that if he could do anything for Pumicestone it should be to cough up some dough to upgrade Bribie Island Road as the State Government was neglecting it. A few months later Mr Turnbull visited the electorate during the Longman By-Election and saw first hand what I was on about. He made the announcement and $20 million was immediately available without conditions attached to who won the Federal seat of Longman. That was in July 2018, over two years ago now and the works have only recently commenced.
Tell us about the Pelicans.
Who could ever forget about the debacle involving our beloved pelicans of Bribie Bridge. I will never forget the pitted feeling in my stomach when in the early hours of one morning I discovered the light fixtures had been replaced overnight on Bribie Island Bridge and installed with metal barbs to prevent the Pelicans from roosting. It was surreal to me that something like this could happen without firstly any notice given to me as the State Member, and secondly with so little regard for something that the majority of our community holds so dear.
That day my office was flooded with calls and emails from locals, one being a local lady by the name of Chris Wilson (no relation) who was equally devastated by had had occurred. Over the coming days we worked together to rally the masses in protest and what a visual feat that was. Over a thousand people stood along the span of the Bribie Bridge to send a clear message to the Government that what they had done was wrong, fix it and fix it fast. Suffice to say our message was heard, albeit those terrible barbs are still in place.
Why are you leaving, is there any conspiracy theories at play?
In a nut shell, family! But firstly it really has been a great privilege to serve the people of Pumicestone and whilst it has been one term for me, I could not have predicted having to make the decision to not recontest at the time I won the seat in 2017. Life has a way of dictating its terms!In the first few months, after narrowly winning the seat at the 2017 election, my father’s health began to decline and I knew he (and my mother) would need more support than what I was able to give them due to the demands of my job.As the next election heralds the start of four year terms in Queensland politics I had a big decision to weigh up.
What are you biggest regrets?
Without doubt having to deal with a Transport and Main Roads Minister who failed to put our electorate’s road infrastructure needs as a priority. We have urgent needs for upgrades to two of our major State Controlled Roads, Beachmere and Bribie Island Roads.
There is absolutely nothing on the table from the State Government to upgrade Beachmere Road. It remains a dangerous narrow road in parts with no sealed shoulders and the amount of near misses I get told about is highly disturbing. It’s not seen as a priority for the Palaszczuk Government but it is the number one priority of people who live in Beachmere and have to travel this road daily. I am glad that the LNP have recently committed $7 million to fixing the road shoulders and making the worst part of Beachmere Road safer. Locals would know I’ve been driving a major campaign to upgrade Bribie Island Road. The only new money (still to be) invested on this road is $20 million of Federal Government funding that’s been sitting in Canberra’s coffers since it was announced in July 2018. I had a hand in securing this funding and not once was I consulted by the State Government on how it should be spent on upgrading our major road.
What does the future hold for Simone Wilson?
I will always stay involved with my community, that’s just a given but instead I’ll be lobbying from the sidelines on what’s needed in the area. We have a new Moreton Bay Regional Council that will set a direction that the region will take and I hope this involves a focus on our patch and supporting our future goals for the area.
I’ll also be the first one to pop the cork if and when the State Government decides to finally fully upgrade Bribie Island Road. And I will keep lobbying on improved health services, particularly access to after-hours GPs for residents of Bribie Island. On the work front, I’ve held a Real Estate licence for many years and decided to start my own Real Estate business, which will be based on the Island but not limited to a certain geographical area. It will be called Wilson and Co and will be a full service Real Estate agency. I really love working with people and getting the best outcome for them, so this next chapter will be a pretty natural transition for me. It’s the very same fiduciary relationship that I’ve had with my electorate in that I’ve always put the best interests of people first and this will never change. I like to think I’ve built trust with people and they know me as an honest straight shooter, so I am looking forward to this next phase. I think there’s room for a fresh new approach to selling homes and I’m pretty excited with what the future holds.
Do you have a parting message for the next State Member of Pumicestone?
To begin with, I hope the electorate carries over into good hands. Not too many people get to represent their communities at this level and for me it’s been a journey I will never regret nor forget. I don’t believe we can be good politicians without having a good heart in the right place. I
said this in my inaugural speech and I will leave believing that my heart was firmly where it needed to be, with Pumicestone and its people. I hope the next State Member becomes the champion we need, someone that isn’t afraid of taking up the good fight and works hard to make Pumicestone an even better place to live, raise a family, run a small business, work and visit. At the end of the day that’s what we all want.
I’d like to extend my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the people of Pumicestone and of course I hope my work here is remembered with my hashtag #lovepumicestone
Who would you like to see asked 6 questions in the next issue? Let us know by emailing email@example.com