Here's our commitment: We're for you
EVER since our first edition in 1861, The Morning Bulletin has been the voice for the people of Central Queensland.
The sentiments expressed in that edition about the need to hold politicians and governments accountable are still as strong today as we fight for a fair go across the big issues such as health, crime, public infrastructure, highways, weirs, levees, Shoalwater Bay, the Adani mine and much more.
For almost 160 years we have carried that responsibility and the need for robust journalism has never been as vital as it is now as we approach what is a watershed federal election for this region.
There is much on the line, including the future of coal mining in the Galilee Basin.
In the last federal election, we achieved what many people thought was impossible - we secured federal government money to help build a public car park at the Rockhampton Hospital.
We listened to the people and we changed the status quo.
If Labor had listened to the people, to The Morning Bulletin, it might have won the seat of Capricornia back from the LNP's Michelle Landry.
Ms Landry listened, acted and created history by being the first coalition MP to hold Capricornia. Has Labor learnt its lesson? Is the LNP listening this time?
Time will tell as we take the fight to the candidates and the parties.
The spotlight on the coal mining issue will be on all the federal candidates for Capricornia and Flynn.
This isn't the inner Sydney seat of Wentworth where anti-coal sentiment was revealed in the by-election result - this is working class heartland where mining jobs are vital for our future.
You can trust us to ask the hard questions on this issue.
When Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk stumped up a lame excuse for vetoing a $1 billion Federal Government loan to Adani, we refused to accept it.
Labor's leader had pandered to the anti-coal movement and Central Queenslanders won't forget it.
This region has been through the mining boom and downturn rollercoaster ride for the past decade.
I know it's been tough for many of you.
I've been on that ride too.
We will be making sure the government that wins the election delivers on the $1b ring road, the $352m Rookwood Weir and the $60m South Rockhampton levee - to name three big ticket items that are almost across the line.
As editor, I know how important trust is when you need someone to stand-up and be the champion for an important community need - it's no accident this paper has won numerous awards for campaigning journalism.
When Rockhampton and Central Queensland were cut off for two weeks in the 2011 flood, we campaigned to ensure the Bruce Hwy was upgraded to flood-proof the city to a one-in-100-year event.
Successive state and federal governments had sat on this issue for decades and the time had come for action and we launched the Flood Proof Our Highway campaign.
During this campaign both Labor and the LNP committed to a $170m bridge project in the 2013 election and the Yeppen South Bridge is now testament to the power of the people through the voice of The Morning Bulletin.
Fast forward to 2019 and we already have commitment from the Australian Government and federal Labor to provide $800m towards a $1b ring road for Rockhampton with construction to begin in the next term of government.
That's an 800-job project over at least three years to improve transport and congestion in and around this progressive city and we will hold whoever wins accountable to that promise.
As we have done in every election, we will hold a town hall debate/forum where we will put your concerns and questions to the people who want to represent you in the Australian Government.
Are they up to the job? We will test them so you can decide who is best equipped to lead us into the future.
One of the measures of a strong community and newspaper is how it engages with its readers through its opinion pages and website.
That conversation is as strong as I've ever seen it in my 12 years as editor.
The level of engagement is often a talking point when I'm speaking to people from all walks of life as I travel around the region.
While we are the voice of the people, we need and value your input into raising the important issues that impact on our community.
This is the contract that underpins the relationship between good newspapers and the communities they serve. It is why newspapers have been part of the towns and cities they live in almost from day one.
In recent years, how you access your newspaper has changed in ways that were unimaginable only a few years ago and we are all participants in a communication and information revolution.
But in all that change, one thing that has not changed is that fundamental contract between this newspaper and the people it lives for - its readers.
This newspaper is written, printed and published online by real people living in the same region as you.
And we believe it's a region worth fighting for.
While we adopt a positive and progressive approach to our region, we know we have to often report news that's not pretty and sometimes disturbing.
That's the world we live in, but we endeavour to get it first and get it right as we break the big stories.
We were the first media to inform the community about the dire bushfire rating that ultimately caused the evacuation of Gracemere in November.
They were incredibly dangerous hours as we reported into the night about the intense and brave battle to save the town, our community.
We live here too. It's our region.
It's why we are so invested in this newspaper and The Morning Bulletin website.
We work here, play here, send our kids to the same schools, fish the Fitzroy, barrack for the local teams through thick and thin seasons, and just like many of you, pray this will be the year of the CQ Capras.
We swim at Emu Park beaches, hike the Zamia Walk, attend the emergency ward at Rockhampton Hospital with our kids and some of us even remember being wrecked on Great Keppel Island.
That's why we are so passionate about fighting for the region and bringing you the most accurate information available.
And that is our commitment.... We're for You, 24-7.