POLITICIANS love a good statistic.
So here is a shocker for them to contemplate as the state election race gets under way: 30,000 young regional Queenslanders will not see out year 12 at school this year.
That is not a typo.
This year more than 30,000 young regional Queenslanders will not finish year 12. And it is likely to start of a cycle for many of them that will make their lives inferior to their Brisbane counterparts.
In the big city, 81% of children finish school. Elsewhere in Queensland, no city hits 70% completion, and in some towns the figure is barely 50%.
It starts a heart-breaking cycle. Fewer kids from the regions, compared to Brisbane, will go to university.
Perhaps that means the regions' youngsters go to trades-based learning?
Fewer, compared to Brisbane, will be successful in getting and completing apprenticeships.
What happens next?
More young people in the regions will kill themselves, or develop obesity, than those from Brisbane.
It is the hidden epidemic that is gnawing away at the fabric of regional Queensland.
We are in danger of breeding a lost generation, despite the best efforts of parents who love their children and see huge benefits in living outside the capital.
Our regional children are more likely to fail, because our politicians are failing them.
And it is why we today launch our Fair Go For Our Kids campaign.
You will hear a lot from the pollies over the next four weeks. They will turn up to every big city and remote outpost spouting their rhetoric and sprinkling little bits of gold dust to the voters.
But it is outcomes for youth we need, not random spending promises.
Today we look at education. It's time to think outside the box.
Most city kids have access to a wide range of teaching styles, fandangled learning methods and resources.
That is limited in the regions.
We need to upskill our teachers, particularly those teaching in areas they are not expert. Or we could beam in teaching superstars?
Maths teacher Eddie Woo has become an internet sensation after posting videos online for a student who was sick with cancer and missing a lot of school.
He has made maths irresistible. There is no reason he could not be used in the bush.
This title, and the 12 other regional daily mastheads in the News Corp stable across the state, are making the plight of our young the key election battleground.
We don't care who is spending more in the regions, Annastacia Palaszczuk or Tim Nicholls. We want the inequalities reversed and it won't happen without a targeted plan.
As we go behind the bare statistics in the coming weeks, and meet the young people trying to get ahead in the regions despite the odds stacked against them, some of our findings are bleak.
With the huge benefits to living regionally - both in cost of living and lifestyle - it shouldn't be this way.
When you see our local pollies on the campaign trail, ask them: What about the kids? What have they done; what will they do to make measurable changes to these outcomes?
The regions need engaged youth to flourish. Our kids - your kids - need a Fair Go.
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