SMALL TALK: Finance Minister Penny Wong, with Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann, chats with small business people at Brassall Shopping Centre.
SMALL TALK: Finance Minister Penny Wong, with Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann, chats with small business people at Brassall Shopping Centre. Rob Williams

Penny hits the 'Swich and Kev's coming soon

FINANCE Minister Penny Wong visited Ipswich yesterday to meet small business people and announce a funding boost for indigenous crime prevention.

Flanked by Ipswich MP Shayne Neumann, Senator Wong walked through Brassall Shopping Centre, meeting shopkeepers and shoppers. Earlier, they went to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service on Brisbane St to announce $672,649 for the service.

At Brassall Shopping Centre, Senator Wong said it was "really good as Finance Minister to get out and talk to people on the ground.

"Like, you're dealing with what's happening with the global economy and the national economy but it's always fantastic to talk to retailers who give you a picture of the real economy and what's happening in their lives," she said.

"The mining boom's coming off, we know we've got to generate jobs and growth in other parts of the economy. Retail is part of that - but so too are a whole range of other industries. I think people reflect those challenges.

"There's a lot of very resilient locals here. That's certainly the character that comes across."

Meanwhile, Mr Neumann promised newly-reinstated Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would be visiting Ipswich soon.

"He will be coming; I've asked him to come and he said he would," Mr Neumann said.

"I anticipate he'll be coming here before the next election. He told me he would."

Senator Wong added: "He's a pretty passionate Queenslander; I don't think you'll keep him away."

Senator Wong, who like Mr Neumann switched her allegiance from Julia Gillard to Mr Rudd, was reticent yesterday to discuss that.

Debating the leadership was left to Lynne Lumby and her "better half" Barry who met Senator Wong outside the Bendigo Bank.

"They had to do something. Julia spent too much time on things she'd be recognised for after she left rather than being with the people," Mrs Lumby said.

After meeting Senator Wong she said: "I've been privileged and honoured.

"It's lovely to see them up here. I haven't met Penny before but I've met Shayne," she said.

Asked if Mr Rudd could rescue the party and win the election Mr Lumby said: "I've got a funny feeling he can do it. I think he can."



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