Media | Local News

Local News - November 2019

Labor’s Paradise Dam debacle drags on

29th November 2019

The LNP has slammed the Palaszczuk Labor Government for its handling of the Paradise Dam debacle and keeping the Wide Bay community in the dark.

“Labor has been dragged kicking and screaming to hold an inquiry into Paradise Dam,” LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said.

“The people of Wide Bay have been in the dark for months over the safety of the dam and why it had to be drained to a staggering 42 per cent in the middle of a drought.

“Labor’s handling of this issue has been a debacle and it’s destroyed all trust in the Palaszczuk Labor Government in Wide Bay.

“Jobs are being destroyed in Wide Bay right now and the public deserves answers.”

LNP MP for Burnett Stephen Bennett said Labor’s announcement today failed to address key community concerns.

“Labor still hasn’t released the terms of reference for their inquiry, which means we don’t know if it will get to the bottom of what’s happened,” Mr Bennett said.

“Our region has been waiting anxiously for clear information about what is wrong with the dam and what Labor’s plan is to fix it – and we’re still waiting.

“The people of Wide Bay should have been respected and fully informed, but Labor are taking them for granted.”

LNP MP for Bundaberg David Batt said that the LNP moved a motion to establish a Parliamentary Inquiry into the design and construction of Paradise Dam debacle in October*, but Labor voted it down.

“A bi-partisan Parliamentary Inquiry would have given the people of Wide Bay the truth they deserve.

“The secrecy surrounding Labor’s decision has made a bad situation far worse.

“Water security investments made in the region based upon the dam’s reserves are now very uncertain.

“The region doesn’t know if the dam will ever return to 100 per cent capacity and that’s incredibly damaging to future investment in Wide Bay.”

LNP MP for Callide Colin Boyce said reducing the level of Paradise Dam to 42 per cent had been a disaster for farmers and businesses in the region.

“This is a massive scandal and the buck stops with Annastacia Palaszczuk,” Mr Boyce said.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government is anti-regions, anti-dams and anti-jobs.

“The LNP gets that water means jobs and a Deb Frecklington Government has a plan to build water infrastructure projects in regional Queensland – including the drought-busting New Bradfield Scheme.

“Only the LNP has a plan for the future to deliver water security for Queensland.”

Hansard: October 16 Motion on Paradise Dam, Parliamentary Inquiry - Page 96 - www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/hansard/2019/2019_10_16_WEEKLY.pdf

 

Labor votes against crucial bushfire inquiry

28th November 2019

The Palaszczuk Labor Government has voted against an open and transparent Parliamentary Inquiry into the state’s bushfire prevention and preparedness strategies.

LNP Shadow Minister for Fire, Emergency Services and Volunteers Lachlan Millar said countless communities across regional Queensland had been devastated by bushfires recently.

Vision of speeches in Parliament: https://bit.ly/2KZY6Oe

"The LNP called for a Parliamentary Inquiry on behalf Queenslanders who have suffered the impacts of not one, but two, unusual and frightening fire seasons," Mr Millar said.

"Queenslanders deserve to know why this Labor Government has overseen an 83 per cent reduction in overall fire prevention activities*.

“This is on top of Labor slashing funding for the Rural Fire Service by $13 million**.”

The Inspector-General of Emergency Management was tasked with a review following the major bushfires in November and December 2018 that raged across more than a million hectares of land.

The review showed alarming falls in bushfire prevention measures by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services in 2018 compared to 2016:

  • 83% reduction in overall completed fire prevention activities
  • 75% reduction in completed hazard reduction burns
  • 82% reduction in completed fire breaks
  • 88% reduction in community education activities

"While the Labor Government should be doing more to prepare for bushfires, instead they are cutting back on proven bushfire prevention measures,” Mr Millar said.

"Our firies do an incredible job protecting the public and property, but they are being let down by a Labor government that is failing to ensure emergency services have the resources they need to do their job.

“To make things worse, a report by the Queensland Audit Office found QFES didn’t know if Queensland's fuel loads were being managed effectively***.”

LNP Leader and Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington moved a motion for an inquiry in Parliament yesterday.

"The LNP's call for a Parliamentary Inquiry had the full support of the crossbench, but Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Labor Government voted against it,” Mr Millar said.

“Labor opted for a secret government review designed to hide the truth and cover up any failings of the government.

"The LNP will continue to hold the Labor Government to account because nothing is more important than community safety.”

Background:


* IGEM 2018 Queensland Bushfires Review p74 (graphic): https://www.igem.qld.gov.au/reports-and-publications/reports/Documents/IGEM%20Queensland%20Bushfire%20REVIEW%202019.pdf

** https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/questionsAnswers/2019/1488-2019.pdf

*** Follow-up of Bushfire prevention and preparedness (Report 5: 2018–19) - Audit Office report p4: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Documents/TableOffice/TabledPapers/2018/5618T1579.pdf

Deb’s cool campaign helps Nanango Electorate kids

26th November 2019

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington’s long-running campaign for air-conditioning in state schools has finally paid off for students in her Nanango electorate.

Ms Frecklington said only pressure from her party had forced Labor to help South Burnett and Somerset state schools pay for air-conditioning systems.

“I’m very happy that my decision to promise air-conditioning in every single state school classroom has forced Labor to respond,” Ms Frecklington said.

“It’s a pity that Annastacia Palaszczuk had to be shamed into acting and is still refusing to air-condition many other schools from the border to Bundaberg.

“While I’m happy for students at Taabinga State School and several others, this fight is far from over for the LNP.

“Labor is clearly playing politics with this issue and cherry-picking certain schools.

“That’s totally wrong. Every student deserves to learn in comfortable conditions.

“There will be a clear choice at the next election. The LNP will air-condition every state school classroom in Queensland, but Labor won’t.

“Air-conditioning our classrooms is a big investment, but the LNP believes it is worth it.”

Ms Frecklington said the LNP’s plan for education would also include de-cluttering the curriculum.

“Queensland’s NAPLAN scores are going backwards, so we need to make sure schools concentrate on the basics – reading, writing and maths,” Ms Frecklington said.

“The LNP will raise standards and give our kids the best start in life.”

Labor’s dam cover-up must end

21st November 2019

The future of fed-up Queensland farmers remains in limbo more than two months after water releases began at Paradise Dam.

LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander joined growers and producers in Bundaberg this morning to demand answers from the Palaszczuk Labor Government about the Paradise Dam scandal.

Mr Mander said Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to stop the cover-up.

“Today is National Agriculture Day and the Palaszczuk Labor Government is treating Queensland farmers like dirt,” Mr Mander said.

“Queenslanders have a right to know why Paradise Dam has been reduced to 42% in the middle of a crippling drought.

“That is why the LNP called for a public parliamentary inquiry into the design and construction of the dam.

“It’s only 13 years old and already alarm bells are ringing.

“Water is the lifeblood of regional Queensland but it’s going to waste under Labor.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to stop playing games with the lives of farmers who are in a world of hurt from her anti-dams, anti-regions and anti-jobs agenda.

“Labor isn’t working for Queensland.”

LNP Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said farmers and businesses in Wide Bay have made major investments based on the water security that the dam provides, but that security has now been destroyed.

“Locals deserve answers and a guarantee this won’t happen again,” Mr Bennett said.

LNP Member for Bundaberg David Batt said only the LNP has a plan for water security.

“LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has a vision for Queensland which includes the New Bradfield Scheme and the establishment of the Queensland Dam Company which will build dams and upgrade existing ones,” Mr Batt said.

“Only the LNP has a job-creating infrastructure plan that supports communities because we know water means jobs.”

Labor need to come clean on Paradise Dam scandal

18th November 2019

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has renewed calls on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to come clean on Paradise Dam in the wake of new disturbing media reports.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government needs to stop covering up the Paradise dam debacle,” Ms Frecklington said.

“The people of Wide Bay deserve to know if Paradise Dam was designed and constructed properly.

“Queenslanders have a right to know why the dam had to be reduced to a staggering 42 per cent in the middle of a drought.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk is the weakest Premier in living memory and she has failed to be open and transparent about the integrity of the dam.

“This is a massive scandal and the buck stops with Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“Enough is enough – Labor need to come clean and tell the community what their plan is to fix this mess.”

Labor’s irrigation water price increases unacceptable

14th November 2019

Fixed prices for irrigation water used to grow food and fibre in Queensland are set to increase by as much as 372% in some parts of the state, under the Labor commissioned QCA draft report.

LNP Minister for Natural Resources Dale Last said the QCA’s draft report completely failed to acknowledge farmers concerns of year-on-year water price increases.

“Farmers using Sunwater’s Callide irrigation scheme are staring down the barrel of more than 30 years of consecutive price increases under Sunwater’s so called ‘cost reflective price’ for water,” Mr Last said.

“This is just one of many Sunwater irrigation schemes facing unsustainable price increases that will result in scheme failures, job losses and economic decline*.

“SunWater’s own ‘cost-reflective’ water prices numbers will effectively kill numerous irrigation schemes in regional Queensland, yet this report has not offered a solution.

“I’ve met with farmers throughout Queensland in these schemes. This isn’t just some abstract water pricing exercise being decided in Brisbane, these are real regional communities with real jobs on the line.

"There are serious questions that need answering around SunWater's ability to deliver value for money for farmers.

“The LNP have already called on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to reject any move to include dam safety costs being recovered through the water price farmers pay.

“It is unsustainable to expect farmers to pay for community safety costs of public assets.

"Water prices are skyrocketing because Sunwater can't control its costs. It’s completely unacceptable for Sunwater to now be demanding more money from farmers just because they can’t get their house in order.

“Queensland farmers are currently getting a bad deal with SunWater.

“The LNP understands that where there is water there is wealth.

“Without water these rural and regional communities will lose production, which results in less jobs and more expensive food and fibre for all Queenslanders.

“Unlike Labor, the LNP believes in the economic and social power of water. That is why we have a plan to build the New Bradfield Scheme, Nullinga Dam, Urannah Dam, Rookwood Weir and to raise the Burdekin Falls dam.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government is anti-farmer, anti-regions and anti-water.

“It’s time for Annastacia Palaszczuk to step in and guarantee the future of irrigated agriculture in Queensland”.

* QCA Water price increases “not sustainable”: https://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/6482291/irrigation-cost-blowout/?cs=4785

** QCA releases irrigation review draft report: https://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/6480135/irrigation-dead-in-the-water/?cs=4785

Labor must play its part in helping fight drought

11th November 2019

The announcement by the Federal Government of an extra $1 billion in aid to support farmers and communities fighting devastating drought is welcome, but Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor Government is refusing to increase support.

Liberal National Party Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perrett said the Palaszczuk Labor Government was failing to properly respond to the state’s worsening drought situation.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government was handed its drought review report in January this year but has no intention of implementing any new drought support measures until 2021, after the next state election,” Mr Perrett said.

“Despite the deteriorating drought situation in Queensland, all Labor can commit to is cutting freight subsidies for essential fodder and water from July 1 next year, saving them $50 million over the forward estimates*.

“While the Federal LNP is ramping up its assistance to farmers and their communities, Queensland Labor continues to politicise the drought and cut support.

“Cutting drought support during drought is a disgrace and quite rightly needs to be called out.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk is completely out of touch with farmers and regional Queensland.

“Producers deserve a Premier who could lead this state during times of severe drought but all they get from Annastacia Palaszczuk is cuts and fake fights with Canberra.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk is the weakest Premier in living memory and she’s betraying the Queenslanders who produce our food and fibre.

“The LNP will never turn our backs on farmers and the agriculture industry.”

Students swelter as Labor turns down air-con demands

8th November 2019

As the temperature gauge nudges 40 degrees in parts of southeast Queensland today, many students and teachers are sweltering without air-conditioning to keep state classrooms cool.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said the stifling conditions were no place for kids to learn and staff to teach.

“The LNP knows that cool kids are smart kids and teachers deserve to work in modern conditions,” Ms Frecklington said.

“It’s hitting 39 degrees in Ipswich and 38 in Gympie, but Annastacia Palaszczuk doesn’t think all public schools in those regions deserve air-con.

“Classrooms in Brisbane are roasting in 37-degree heat and that makes it really hard for our kids to concentrate.

“While some regions have air-conditioning, Annastacia Palaszczuk has rejected demands for air-con in Brisbane, on the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Gympie and Darling Downs.”

Ms Frecklington announced the LNP’s plan to air-condition every state school classroom in Queensland in June 2018.

“Air-conditioning every state school classroom is a big investment, but I think our teachers and kids are worth it,” she said.

“Hard-working P&Cs shouldn’t have to raise funds themselves to pay for air-conditioning in state classrooms.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to stop playing favourites and commit to air-conditioning every state school classroom.”

Ms Frecklington said the LNP’s plan for education would also include de-cluttering the curriculum, allowing teachers to focus on the core skills of reading, writing and maths.

Labor duds south-east schools over air-con

5th November 2019

Tens of thousands of students from Gympie to the Gold Coast are being left to sweat through summer because Annastacia Palaszczuk is playing politics over air-conditioning, the LNP said today.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington spoke out after Labor today announced it would install air-conditioning at 25 Fraser Coast schools – but shunned demands for air-con in the South Burnett, Somerset, Toowoomba, Gympie Darling Downs, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Ipswich regions.

Ms Frecklington announced the LNP’s plan to air-condition every state school classroom in Queensland in June 2018. Temperatures in the south-east are forecast to hit the mid-30s this week.

“While Labor plays favourites, the LNP will air-condition every state school class room in Queensland,” Ms Frecklington said.

“The LNP knows that cool kids are smart kids and our teachers deserve to work in modern conditions.

“Air-conditioning every state school classroom is a big investment, but our kids’ education is worth the cost.

“Labor needs to follow the LNP’s lead and commit to air-conditioning every state school.

“Our hard-working parent volunteers shouldn’t have to fundraise to pay for air conditioning schools.

“Kids find it easier to concentrate in cooler temperatures and they are less likely to become tired and disruptive.”

Ms Frecklington said the LNP’s plan for education would also include de-cluttering the curriculum, allowing teachers to focus on the core skills of reading, writing and maths.

Most of Queensland’s NAPLAN test results went backwards this year.

 

Only Labor standing in way of 150 mining jobs

1st November 2019

Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court (Court of Appeal) to uphold the original decision to allow the New Acland mine expansion is great news for Darling Downs jobs.

Liberal National Party Leader Deb Frecklington welcomed the decision and said the important job-creating project had been stonewalled by the Palaszczuk Labor Government.

“The workers, the community and the courts all support the New Acland Mine, but Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor Government does not,” Ms Frecklington said.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor are now the only ones standing in the way of these much-needed regional jobs”.

LNP Shadow Minister for Mines Dale Last said Labor’s continual objection and interference in the New Acland mine was proof that they were anti-resources, anti-regions and anti-jobs.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government has shown breathtaking arrogance and hypocrisy after deliberate inaction cost 150 workers their jobs,” Mr Last said.

“Labor’s approval process for stage 3A is a complete joke and jobs are being lost because of it.

“If Labor’s Anthony Lynham was fair dinkum about jobs he would sign off on this project today.”

LNP MP for Condamine Pat Weir said hundreds of jobs had already been unnecessarily lost on the Darling Downs because of Labor’s anti-resources agenda.

“I welcome the decision handed down today by the Queensland Court of Appeal and call on the Palaszczuk government to grant the necessary approvals and bring to an end the uncertainty that has been hanging over this project for far too long,” Mr Weir said.