An open and independent Parliamentary Inquiry into mine safety in Queensland has been quashed by the Palaszczuk Labor Government with support from Katter’s Australian Party.
LNP Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dale Last called for the bipartisan inquiry following six deaths in Queensland mines and quarries in the last 12 months.
“Lives are on the line and Annastacia Palaszczuk’s refusal to support a full Parliamentary Inquiry into safety can’t be justified,” Mr Last said.
“Labor has failed to do the right thing by the hard-working men and women in the resources industry.
“Labor’s two reviews into mine safety simply don’t match the power of a Parliamentary Inquiry, which could have provided the answers and path forward the industry needs.
“Unfortunately, Labor doesn’t want an inquiry because they are afraid of what it might uncover about their handling of the mine safety regime.
“It’s already been revealed the Palaszczuk Labor Government has slashed the number of mine inspections in Queensland by more than 500 a year.
“Labor’s mining safety and health advisory committee has also failed to meet because its membership did not meet Labor’s gender-balance requirements.
“We have only scratched the surface of the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s neglect of mine safety.”
Mr Last said 55,000 people worked in mining and 262,000 jobs depended on the resources sector.
“The Parliamentary Inquiry would have listened to the men and women employed in the coal mining industry to understand their views about health and safety,” he said.
“If Labor were serious about mine safety, they would have supported a bipartisan inquiry.
“Nothing is more important than ensuring every miner who goes to work comes home safely.
“The LNP will continue to stand up for the men and women who work in our mines and quarries.”
Labor has been caught red handed exaggerating and misleading Queenslanders on the level of funding it’s putting towards Rural Fire Brigades.
LNP Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Lachlan Millar said Minister Craig Crawford had been sprung, after claiming there was nearly $13 million (or 25%) more in the 2019-20 budget for Rural Fire.
“In March, Minister Crawford was bragging that Labor had increased Rural Fire funding ‘by a third to $52 million’ compared to the $39 million it inherited from the LNP in 2015*,’ said Mr Millar.
“But when questioned in Estimates and under parliamentary oath, Minister Crawford came clean and admitted the budget had in fact not grown at all.
“Instead it was still $39 million in 2019-20 – the same as in 2015**.
“This means funding for Queensland’s Rural Fire Service has stalled under the Palaszczuk Labor Government.
“With no increase to even cover CPI, this is effectively a cut.
“What we have here is a Minister willing to say one thing in the regions, but something completely different in parliament when his Brisbane masters are giving him scripts.
“We saw the contempt in which Labor held rural and regional Queenslanders by slashing Hazard Reduction Burns and then turning around blaming farmers for fueling the bushfires, in the ‘so-called’ bushfire report.
“Blaming farmers for being confused about backburning rights while ignoring Labor’s own mismanagement of state-controlled land and national parks is a new low.
“Only the LNP will hold government agencies to account and properly fund rural fire services, so they can undertake fire mitigation activities.”
* Statement Minister Crawford: Palaszczuk Government supports keeping rural fire brigades rural http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2019/3/12/palaszczuk-government-supports-keeping-rural-fire-brigades-rural
** Pre-estimates Questions on Notice – QFES: No. 10: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/committees/LACSC/2019/Estimates2019/qon-26Jul2019-Estim-Fire.pdf
Reports today that the managers of Baralaba North coalmine waited more than 12 hours to report an onsite fatality to authorities, is yet another reason why there must be a full parliamentary inquiry into Queensland’s mine safety program.
LNP Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dale Last backed the union’s calls for an explanation as to how a blatant breach of Queensland’s mine safety reporting laws happened.
“Serious questions also need to be asked about why so many mine safety roles have been and remain vacant under the Palaszczuk Labor Government,” Mr Last said.
“With the state’s chief inspector recently resigning, it’s clear all is not well with Queensland’s mine safety regulator.
“It follows six deaths in Queensland mines and quarries in the last 12 months and revelations that the number of inspections has fallen year-on-year from 1781 (2015-16) to just 1241 (2018-2019.)
“There can be no justification for the massive reduction in mining inspections implemented by the Palaszczuk Labor Government.
“Mine safety is too important to get wrong, and something is clearly going wrong in Queensland.
“Rural and regional mining communities deserve better.
“That’s why the LNP will move a motion to establish a full parliamentary inquiry into mine safety next week in Parliament.
“The LNP is calling on Annastacia Palaszczuk for bipartisan support.
“The mining safety regime in Queensland is clearly in crisis and the safety of miners is paramount, not petty politics.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s neglect of safety is unforgivable.
“These alarming figures, vacancies and accusations underline the need for Annastacia Palaszczuk to call an immediate Parliamentary Inquiry into mine safety in Queensland.
“Only the LNP will continue to fight for a parliamentary inquiry into mine safety, because Annastacia Palaszczuk and embattled Minister Anthony Lynham aren’t taking the issue seriously.”
The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s anti-regions, anti-farmer and anti-jobs agenda has driven many in the agriculture industry to revolt, LNP Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett said today.
Mr Perrett said the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s unfair reef laws have been met with huge backlash from industry groups including CANEGROWERS, AgForce, Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC), Growcom and the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF).
Mr Perrett said the industry groups were sending a clear message to the Palaszczuk Labor Government – the Reef Laws are unfair on farmers.
“CANEGROWERS represents more than 4,000 farming businesses up and down the coast and they’ve taken the extraordinary step of running TV ads* against the unfair reef laws,” Mr Perrett said.
“The state’s cattle and grazing industry group, AgForce, is deleting their best management practice data to ensure their members are protected from the incoming Labor Government laws**.
“ABGC have described the incoming laws as ‘devastating’*** while Growcom has questioned farmers’ ability to continue to absorb the costs of environmental regulation****.
“Farmers have been blindsided by these regulations and deserve to be listened to.
“It’s completely unacceptable that Labor is going to ram these reef regulations through without listening to the very people these laws will impact.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk is out of touch and regional Queensland is no priority for her Labor Government.
“The Labor Government continues to treat regional Queenslanders like second class citizens.
“Only the LNP will ensure farmers always get a fairer reef regulations deal, with a proper consultation process that actually listens and considers the impact on farmers and their communities.”
** AgForce statement: https://agforceqld.org.au/index.php?tgtPage=news&id=view,810
*** Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC) statements: https://abgc.org.au/2019/07/15/banana-growers-urge-queensland-government-to-reconsider-regulation/
**** Growcom statements: https://www.growcom.com.au/more-carrots-required-for-environmental-outcomes/
Round Nine of Deb Frecklington’s Local Hero Grants will celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the popular local grants program.
Mrs Frecklington said she started her Local Hero Grants in August 2016, and over the past three years, $8,000 has been invested back into the community.
"These are great small grants which have so far helped more than 24 local community groups and individuals across the Nanango Electorate to achieve projects and attend representative events,” Deb said.
“A great example is the South Burnett Mountain Bike Club who were successful with their application in the March round and used the funds to help take club members to the recent MTBA National School Championships.
“Club President Jason Wyeth has let me know that out of 97 schools competing at the championships, the Kingaroy State High School team came 7th overall, which is a massive achievement. It was great to be able to support the
Club, students and families and I’d like to congratulate them on representing our region with such a terrific result.
“The next round of my Local Hero Grants is now open with applications closing 31 August.
“Grants are up to $250 and I’m encouraging groups to get their applications in as soon as possible,” Deb said.
If you would like to apply, please go to the website at www.debfrecklington.com.au or contact the Nanango Electorate office on 4190 7100 for the guidelines.
Link to South Burnett Mountain Bike Blog: https://www.southburnettmtb.com/blog
The severity of Queensland’s drought continues to hurt our farmers with several government owned and operated irrigation schemes so dry they’re unable to provide any water to their farming customers.
The drought has created a situation where farmers are paying fees on their water licenses, even though they’re receiving 0% of their water allocation.
Put simply, farmers are paying money to the Queensland Government for nothing in return.
LNP Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Dale Last believes it’s unfair and has called on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to waive the Part A irrigation fees for those farmers with 0% allocation.
“Farmers in the Lockyer Valley, South Burnett, Southern Downs and other regions are currently paying money for nothing and it doesn’t make any sense,” Mr Last said.
“We know Labor Governments have waived these fees in the past in severe drought*, so why can’t they do it again in 2019?
“This is simple economics. Farmers, or anyone else for that matter, shouldn’t be paying taxes for nothing.
“If Seqwater and SunWater can’t deliver water to grow farmers crops, then farmers shouldn’t have to pay for it.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government should be doing everything to help farmers struggling with drought, not slugging them with useless fees.
“It’s bad enough that Labor is cutting drought assistance to livestock farmers by scrapping the fodder subsidies, now they are charging those growing our crops for nothing.
“It’s time for Labor Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham to waive these unfair Part A fees to assist our struggling drought affected farmers.
“Labor is anti-regions, anti-job and they just doesn’t understand rural and regional Queensland.
“This is just another example of Labor governing from Brisbane for Brisbane.”
Recent claims about the competency and appropriateness in which the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program is being managed by the Palaszczuk Labor Government, raises serious questions that need to be answered.
LNP Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perrett has called for a comprehensive independent audit into the program, after the concerning allegations went public and the failures to meet performance targets to date.
“These allegations are concerning, especially after Estimates last week where Minister Mark Furner and his department acted like everything was going well*,” Mr Perrett said.
“This program is funded by all states and territories and therefore Queensland has a responsibility to deliver on their investment – an investment that many states, in particular New South Wales, would be calling into question, after these allegations.
“Despite the public reporting Fire Ant nests, there is a lack of action and co-ordination from Biosecurity Queensland in its response to these sightings.
“We have seen more than 26 regions outside the Fire Ant Eradiation Zone detect the pests, despite assurances from the Minister that everything is going to plan.**
“Biosecurity Queensland have failed to prosecute or fine any individuals or businesses under the regulations for spreading fire ants, despite admitting fire ants have been detected during compliance activities.***
“Important issues, like those raised by the whistle-blower Jamie Varcoe, continue to undermine the public’s confidence in the program that has been plagued with delays and mishaps.
“The LNP continues to have concerns about the way in which the fire ant eradication plan is being implemented.
“The LNP take the accusations very seriously and believe it’s time for Minister Furner to stop hiding the reality from Queenslanders on the success of their fire ant eradication program and answer these very serious questions.”
* Fire ant estimates questioning p73-74: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/hansard/2019/2019_07_24_EstimatesSDC.pdf
** Fire ant detections outside eradiation zone (see attached map): Southport, Labrador, Hope Island, Helensvale, Oxenford, Maudsland, Boyland, Birnam, Beaudesert, Veresdale Scrub, Veresdale, Gleneagle, Bromelton, Anthony, Obum Obum, Moorang, Townson, Thornton, Mulgowie, Laidley Creek West, Gatton, Lake Clarendon, Regency Downs, Hatton Vale, Pine Mountain, Kholo.
*** Answer to Question on notice No. 897: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/questionsAnswers/2019/897-2019.pdf