WELCOMED: Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan says he was given the cold shoulder by the Education Minister just days after her department confirmed he would be treated no differently when visiting local schools.
WELCOMED: Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan says he was given the cold shoulder by the Education Minister just days after her department confirmed he would be treated no differently when visiting local schools. Stuart Quinn

Cold shoulder: Costigan not happy with snub

WHITSUNDAY MP Jason Costigan declared he was given the cold shoulder by the Education Minister on Wednesday just days after her department confirmed he would be treated no differently when visiting local schools.

Grace Grace visited the region to turn the first sod on the site of Proserpine State High School's secondary learning centre project.

But the newly-minted independent local member was conspicuous by his absence and told the Whitsunday Times he had been 'snubbed'.

"There is a long-standing convention that the local MP, regardless of their allegiances, attends events such as this," Mr Costigan said.

"It was never a problem when I was an LNP member, but there is obviously a get-tough edict when it comes to the new independent member for the Whitsundays to cut him out of everything.

"No photos, no invitations."

But when questioned on Mr Costigan's claim, Ms Grace said the local MP was not excluded from yesterday's event.

"No, not at all," she said.

"Jason lives in the area, he can come any time he wants."

Mr Costigan said it was the second government event in the space of a few days he had been "cut out" of in Proserpine.

"I was snubbed from an event where the Member for Mackay opened Proserpine's new cricket facilities and now the sod turning at the Proserpine State High School.

"This from the same Education Minister that gave me the all clear to go to schools."

The Education Department said in a statement Mr Costigan would be treated just like any other person when visiting schools in his electorate.

Last month, Whitsunday Regional Council controversially wrote to the Education Minister asking if the MP would be allowed to enter the region's schools in the wake of the harassment allegations.

"Any visit must be subject to the consideration of the individual school principal, and such visits should be contingent on school operations not being disrupted and with respect to the safety and welfare of students enrolled at the school," the statement read.

"Notwithstanding, under normal processes governing visits to schools by politicians, all Members of Parliament are entitled to visit schools within their electorate subject to operational convenience of the particular school."