Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale and Premier Campbell Newman enjoy State of Origin at North Ipswich Reserve last night.
Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale and Premier Campbell Newman enjoy State of Origin at North Ipswich Reserve last night. Sarah Harvey

Newman's Origin visit angers MP

IPSWICH'S only remaining Labor MP has accused Premier Campbell Newman of being more worried about footy than the Queensland economy after he rolled into the city last night to watch the Origin match.

Mr Newman joined Mayor Paul Pisasale and a crowd of Queensland supporters at the North Ipswich Reserve function

centre. But Mr Newman couldn't find the time to attend Prime Minister Julia Gillard's National Economic Forum in Brisbane earlier yesterday.

His choice of priorities infuriated Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller, who suggested the Premier wasn't working hard enough in his new role.

The forum arrived in Brisbane yesterday, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard addressing the country's economic situation with speakers including Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens, Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan, Minister for Industry and Innovation Greg Combet and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation Penny Wong.

"While it's nice of him to come to Ipswich, he has been playing the political blame game on the Queensland economy and yet missing an ideal opportunity to listen and talk to industry about what government can do to increase business opportunities in Queensland," Mrs Miller said.

"No one begrudges him from watching the game - many Queenslanders will be - but most people in Ipswich will do a fair day's work in the lead-up to help their community and the business they work for and they expect the Premier to do the same."

Mr Newman responded to the criticism by reaffirming that he was elected with a mandate to reduce Queensland's massive debts, which he warned earlier this week could exceed $85 billion within the next three years.

A spokesman from the Premier's office dismissed the National Economic Forum as a talkfest.

"The best way to get the economy going is to get rid of the carbon tax, the MRRT, cut green tape and get on with approving important job-creating projects, not attend a two-day talkfest," the spokesman said.

Cr Pisasale leapt to the defence of the Premier, saying the forum did not hold all the answers to the state's economic problems.

"When you've got debts that are higher than Victoria and NSW put together, the last thing you would want to do is go to a forum," Cr Pisasale said.

Meanwhile Mr Newman told the QT last night that he came to Ipswich to watch the game with the punters.

"I just wanted to be with fair dinkum Queensland people and enjoying the event with my former colleague in local government circles Paul Pisasale," Mr Newman said.

"I knew he'd put on a good show ... but I just wanted to be here with the real people.

"I am not a big sports person but I have loved this contest for many years."



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