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Local News - April 2020

Regional Queensland short-changed in power rip-off

30th April 2020

A new report has found regional Queenslanders are still getting a raw deal with their electricity bills, while the South East continues to reap the benefits of retail competition.

The Queensland Competition Authority’s (QCA) latest report released today shows residents in the South East are benefitting from shopping around with 27 retail providers, while regional Queenslanders are chained to Ergon.

The data shows the average quarterly bill in regional Queensland is $361, while one retailer in the South East charged $264, which in nearly $100 less a quarter.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said it’s outrageous that regional Queenslanders have to cough up an extra $400 every year.

“It’s clear that only the LNP has a plan for cheaper electricity for regional Queensland,” Ms Frecklington said.

“Regional Queensland needs retail competition and only the LNP will deliver it.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk is refusing to implement findings from their own Productivity Commission report into electricity pricing, but the LNP will.

“The LNP has a plan to provide retail competition in the regions, which would deliver savings to households north of Gympie and from Toowoomba west to the border.

“Regional Queenslanders deserve to be able to shop around and save and that’s what the LNP reforms will give them.”

LNP Shadow Minister for Energy Michael Hart said Labor is treating regional Queenslanders like second class citizens.

“It’s just plain wrong that Annastacia Palaszczuk allows Ergon to charge nearly $400 more in regional Queensland because there is no competition,” Mr Hart said.

“A Deb Frecklington LNP Government would provide a community service obligation (CSO) to Ergon to reduce the cost of regional distribution, allowing private retailers into the regional market.

“A vote for the LNP on October 31 is a vote for cheaper power bills in regional Queensland.”

Link to report:


Learning at home is disadvantaging our kids

28th April 2020

Five independent research reports commissioned to examine the impact of remote learning have found that Labor’s learning from home plan is piling pressure on families and damaging our kids’ education.

The latest report, by the Peter Underwood Centre, found that nearly half (46%) of students are at risk of suffering adverse educational, nutritional, health, social and emotional outcomes if they are kept away from school.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said the Premier should now admit she got it wrong and that Labor has created a two-tier education system of haves and have-nots.

“The overwhelming evidence is that our schools should be open for everyone and that parents should have the right to choose how their kids learn,” Ms Frecklington said.

“These reports show a digital divide among students, particularly for those in regional and remote parts of Queensland where connectivity is an issue.

“Opening schools is the first real step to re-starting the economy and protecting jobs.

“Access to a world-class education should be the standard and the best place for that is in the classroom.

“The advice from health experts and education experts is clear, it’s time for the Premier to do the right thing and open our schools for everyone.”

LNP Shadow Minister for Education Jarrod Bleijie said that schools should be open for everyone, not different grades on different days.

“Our kids’ education should be the priority for Annastacia Palaszczuk, not her union bosses,” Mr Bleijie said.

“It’s time for the Premier to start listening and stop the second-rate education system.

“Labor’s home-school plan isn’t working and it’s unfair on kids, parents and teachers.

“Labor should be focused on getting everyone back to school and there is no reason that can’t start right now.

“Queensland’s NAPLAN results were already behind other states before coronavirus and the actions of the Palaszczuk Labor Government are putting our kids even further behind.”

Links to independent reports:

Peter Underwood Centre, University of Tasmania

Australian Council for Educational Research

Centre for Program Evaluation, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Centre for International Research on Education Systems

National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education


Regions slam Labor’s 50km travel limit

27th April 2020

The LNP is calling for the Palaszczuk Labor Government to show some common sense and re-think its new restriction on Queenslanders travelling more than 50kms from their home.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said 50km was an impractical limit in most of regional Queensland.

“Limiting travel to 50km might make sense in South-East Queensland, but it makes no sense in large parts of the state,” Ms Frecklington said.

“We need a common-sense approach that takes in local expertise, not one that is designed just for Brisbane.

“A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work in a big state like Queensland.

“We need to be listening to locals and looking at easing restrictions on a region by region basis.

“Most towns outside the south-east are more than 50kms apart so this change will be of no help to people in the regions.

“I am calling on the Labor Government to re-think this blanket rule and apply some common sense.”

LNP Shadow Minister for North Queensland and Member for Burdekin Dale Last said the 50km limit had angered people in his electorate.

“This rule has been dreamt up by a Brisbane-focused Labor Government that doesn’t have a clue about regional Queensland,” Mr Last said.

“If you drive 50ks out of Clermont you’re in the middle of nowhere.

“People have given up a lot to stop coronavirus and they deserve better.”

LNP Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar said the rule was ‘ridiculous’ for rural Queensland.

“50kms might seem like long way to Jackie Trad in South Brisbane, but it’s nothing out here,” Mr Millar said.

“This is another example of Labor’s Brisbane-centric, bureaucratic approach to everything.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government has no idea how this is impacting rural areas.”

Labor fails to back action to fight crime and save jobs

23rd April 2020

The Palaszczuk Labor Government have prevented the LNP from introducing tougher laws to tackle skyrocketing youth crime and urgent measures to stop the Paradise Dam wall from being torn down, by placing time restraints on the debate.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington didn’t have the opportunity to move amendments tabled earlier in her speech to the Parliament last night during debate on the Emergency Response Bill to COVID-19.

The LNP amendments sought to reintroduce breach of bail as an offence for young offenders and scrap Labor’s catch and release laws, halt planned works to tear down the Paradise Dam spillway by five metres, and introduce a stay on increases to land valuations for the next six months.

“The number one priority has been the health of Queenslanders and stopping the spread of the disease,” Ms Frecklington said.

“But the coronavirus can’t be used as an excuse not to confront the other issues facing communities across Queensland.

“One of the most concerning issues people are grappling with in communities like Cairns, Townsville and the Gold Coast is skyrocketing crime under Labor.

“The LNP gave Labor the opportunity to fix their soft youth crime laws and they rejected it.

“There is also clear evidence that Paradise Dam can be fixed - and for a fraction of what Labor is planning to spend.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government needs to see sense, look at the evidence and stop the demolition work immediately.

“Queensland cannot afford to lose more jobs and more businesses, but that’s exactly what will happen if Labor rams ahead with its plan to lower Paradise Dam.

“The LNP was also fighting for a stay on land valuation increases for the next six months to ensure there is a level of consistency.

“There is genuine concern that land valuation increases could flow through to local government rate hikes and hit families financially when they can least afford it.

“Now more than ever, Queensland needs an LNP Government to build a stronger economy and deliver solutions to the problems faced by communities across Queensland.”

LNP bid to halt Paradise Dam demolition work

22nd April 2020

The LNP will use today’s sitting of Parliament to try to stop the Palaszczuk Labor Government from pulling down the Paradise Dam spillway.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said the LNP would attempt to move amendments to the Covid-19 Emergency Response Bill to prevent the demolition work from going ahead.

Ms Frecklington said there was now clear independent advice that the dam could be fixed at fraction of the cost claimed by Labor and without causing lasting damage to the Wide Bay economy.

“The LNP will do everything we can to stop Labor tearing down Paradise Dam,” Ms Frecklington said.

“There is now independent expert advice showing the dam can be fixed at a reasonable cost and this must be fully explored.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government is spending $100 million to lower the Paradise Dam wall, despite independent experts like Dr Paul Rizzo saying it can be fixed for $25 million.

“The LNP will move amendments to stop the dam being ripped down until further testing and analysis can be done.

“The LNP will work with experts such as Dr Rizzo to fix Paradise Dam.

“I know how important the Paradise Dam is to this region.

“Water means jobs and a future for the people who rely on the dam.

“We cannot afford to lose water and lose jobs.

“Queensland needs to save every single job it can right now.

“I’m asking Labor to see sense, look at the evidence and stop the demolition.”

Elective surgeries need to be scaled up in Queensland private hospitals

21st April 2020

Following yesterday’s news that there were no new cases of coronavirus in Queensland overnight, the LNP is calling on Queensland to up-scale elective surgeries in private hospitals.

LNP Shadow Minister for Health Ros Bates said that non-emergency elective surgeries and important cancer screenings should come back on-line as quickly as possible.

“Queenslanders have done an amazing job at flattening the curve and we should take great pride in that,” Ms Bates said.

“As a nurse I know that while we can’t be complacent, now is the time we should be re-starting surgeries to focus on better patient care.

“Labor’s surgery waiting list had already significantly blown out prior to the coronavirus.

“Queenslanders who on these waiting lists are suffering and if there is capacity in our private hospitals, we need to open them back up,” Ms Bates said.

As of February, there were almost 56,000 Queenslanders waiting for surgery, but we expect that to be a lot higher now given the extra capacity that was needed to respond to coronavirus.

“There is no point having empty hospital beds in private hospitals when Queenslanders are waiting for surgery,” Ms Bates said.

“The LNP has long advocated for a partnership with the private sector to improve patient care and we need that now more than ever.

“Private hospitals were there to help support the public system during this crisis and there is no reason why this partnership needs to end now.

“The cost per minute of surgery in private hospitals is about half that compared with public hospitals, so the system is more efficient as well.

“Some regional areas have had zero or very few cases of coronavirus, so a scaled-up response should be considered to help Queenslanders get the health care they need.

“Any surgery re-start needs to be done in consultation with clinical specialists and private hospital operators, but I would urge the Palaszczuk Labor Government to move quickly,” Ms Bates said.

The Federal Government is currently underwriting 50% of the cost of private hospital surgeries to help manage the system.

Labor’s rental reforms need to go back to drawing board

17th April 2020

Overwhelming negative feedback from Queensland’s property industry has highlighted Labor’s unfair and unbalanced rental reforms that are set to be legislated in Parliament next week.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said it was clear that Labor’s proposed laws needed to be scrapped and the whole process restarted.

“We are all in this together and everybody agrees that tenants need protection through this crisis,” Ms Frecklington said.

“But Queensland’s proposed rental laws are the most draconian and unfair in the country.

“Labor’s laws will smash our property industry like a sledgehammer, scaring off future investors and forcing mum and dad property investors to cop all the financial pain.

“It’s great to hear that more consultation will be undertaken, but talk is cheap – Queenslanders want to see action.

“These laws have been masterminded by Jackie Trad and have been flawed from the start.

“It’s time for the Premier to show some leadership and intervene to fix this mess.

“Superannuation has taken a hit already with the downturn in financial markets and self-funded retirees who have invested in property to set up their future are also being thrown to the wolves.”

LNP Shadow Minister for Public Works and Housing Michael Hart said Labor’s proposed laws were reminiscent of the politics of envy that Queenslanders overwhelmingly rejected from Bill Shorten at the last federal election.

“No one denies that tenants need to be supported through this crisis and its fundamentally important that we keep a roof over everyone’s heads,” Mr Hart said.

“But Labor’s flawed rental laws will end up driving up rents in the long-term.

“We are the only state that offers rental waivers, which will see mum and dad property owners lose out.

“Labor’s laws fundamentally undermine the property rights of Queenslanders.

“Unfortunately, the Palaszczuk Government wasn’t careful with the information they have already put out and if they don’t get the legislation right they might just destroy the private rental market.

“There are now five days before the Parliament will debate this legislation and the LNP still hasn’t seen any draft legislation that we are supposed to vote on.”

Stop tearing down Paradise Dam and fix it

14th April 2020

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington today called for the immediate halt of the ripping down of the Paradise Dam wall after expert advice showed the dam can be fixed at a reasonable cost.

“It makes no sense for the Labor Government to spend a $100 million to lower the Paradise Dam wall when we have independent experts saying it can be fixed for $25 million,” Ms Frecklington said.

“Labor must stop pulling down this dam today until all options to fix Paradise Dam are fully explored.

“Independent expert Dr Paul Rizzo’s report* makes it clear that Paradise Dam can be fixed at a reasonable cost and that the dam is highly unlikely to experience failure.

“Jobs and economic survival are on the line.

“We know that water creates jobs. Jobs and job security are needed now more than ever – this is about securing the economic future of this region and ensuring we can be more self-reliant with our food supply.

“The LNP will work with experts such as Dr Paul Rizzo to fix Paradise Dam.

“An LNP Government I lead would:

  • Implement the testing regime recommend by Dr Rizzo.
  • Direct Sunwater to work with Dr Rizzo on the design of the stabilisers – recognising the expert experience Dr Rizzo has in stabilising the Bagnell Dam in Missouri USA, which impounds Lake of the Ozarks, the largest man-made lake in the USA.
  • Expand the Commission of Inquiry in the construction of the dam to investigate – missing documents, design issues and the apron fault.

“An LNP government would also investigate and progress more upstream water storage options. The only way to deliver more water security are more dams. It’s not a question of one project over another.”

LNP Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said the LNP is calling on essential works to be paused until all options are investigated.

“Yes safety must come first but Labor are moving forward with a plan to lower the dam and the government’s own $6 million Commission of inquiry hasn’t even reported back yet,” Mr Bennett said.

“Labor is treating the people of Wide Bay with complete contempt, as they have done throughout the whole Paradise Dam saga.
“The decision to pull down the dam will have huge repercussions for jobs and locals deserve the truth.

“Labor is more interested in protecting itself than protecting the community and jobs.”

Member for Bundaberg David Batt said the people of Wide Bay deserve water security and that’s what they will get from the LNP.

“It’s unacceptable that Labor only has a plan to tear down the dam and no plan to fix it,” Mr Batt said.

“Labor’s handling of Paradise Dam has been a kick in the guts for our economy.”

Member for Callide Colin Boyce said the Palaszczuk Labor Government is anti-regions, anti-dams and anti-jobs.

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

“Fixing Paradise Dam and exploring all options both downstream and upstream are priorities for the LNP.

“Water provides life, if you have water you have jobs, it’s that simple.

“For food and job security we need to build more dams and weirs.”

School announcement creates a two-class system

14th April 2020

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said the State Government is continuing to send mixed messages around schools and fears the system announced today will create the haves and have nots.

“Parents and teachers need certainty and to open schools for some people and not for others is confusing many Queenslanders,” Ms Frecklington said.

“People just want clarity and certainty, partially open schools for some doesn’t provide that.

“It is out of touch for the Premier to say that if you don’t have a job, then you should home school your kids.

“That’s not good enough in Queensland, no child should be left behind.

“I fear many socio-economically disadvantaged kids are going to fall behind as the sad reality is there are many children who can’t afford to have breakfast at home, let alone an iPad to learn on.

“If kids have no choice but to do online learning from home for at least five weeks, the State Government needs to provide devices, quality internet access and printed materials.

“Many families are struggling at the moment and they can’t bear this additional burden alone.

“Coronavirus has cost us so much already, we can’t let it cost our kids a year of learning.”

LNP Shadow Minister for Education Jarrod Bleijie said he fears the state government’s decision will create a two-class system.

“We can’t have a system where those kids from disadvantaged backgrounds are left behind because they can’t go to school and can’t access the internet,” Mr Bleijie said.

“It just isn’t good enough for the state government to force our most disadvantaged kids to learn from home without printed materials, internet access and appropriate devices.

“Today’s announcement isn’t really an announcement at all, the Premier needs to be clear whether schools are open or not.

“The Premier has failed to listen to parents or teachers.

“With many families worrying about their jobs and how they will pay the bills, the last thing they need is mixed messages in their kids schooling.”

LNP pressure delivers for farmers needing firearms for job

14th April 2020

A campaign by farmers backed by the LNP to reverse Labor’s unnecessary closure of essential licensed armourers and dealers during the COVID-19 health crisis has been successful.

LNP Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Tony Perrett said intense pressure forced the Palaszczuk Labor Government to backflip on its bungled ‘non-essential business’ classifications.

“Farmers, their workers and recreational shooters who assist on rural land for rural purposes to control feral pests, should never have been put in this mess in the first place,” Mr Perrett said.

“Farmers are needed now more than ever to produce food and fibre and they rely on firearms in the management of their land.

“This shows how out of touch Annastacia Palaszczuk is with regional Queensland.

“It’s essential for farmers to have access to licensed armourers and dealers to ensure they can continue to operate and adhere to animal welfare standards in the event a firearm is required to humanely euthanise a sick or injured animal.

“The service also provides a means for farmers to undertake their usual activities such as pest control.”

LNP Shadow Minister for Police Trevor Watts said it was another knee jerk reaction from the Palaszczuk Labor Government, who once again failed to undertake consultation.

“The fact that there has been no multi-party scrutiny or parliamentary process put in place to oversee the Queensland response to the COVID-19 health crisis is disgraceful,” Mr Watts said.

“This is the just the latest example of the Palaszczuk Labor Government failing to do its job properly.

“This has created unnecessary anxiety and frustration in rural Queensland at a time when it is least welcome.

“An LNP Government would treat law-abiding Queenslanders with firearm licences with respect alongside the business that support them.”

Let parents decide if children go to school

14th April 2020

Parents who wish to send their children back to school when Term 2 starts next week should be able to do so, LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said today.

Ms Frecklington said she feared many thousands of Queensland children could be left behind because of the State Government’s confusing message on education.

“Parents and teachers are confused and concerned,” Ms Frecklington said.

“We need to have clarity from the State Government.

“Having schools open for some children but not others runs the risk of creating a two-tier education system that will leave some kids behind.

“I’m especially worried about children being left in homes where they may not receive any home schooling at all for the next five weeks.

“And let’s remember that many families don’t have access to laptops, printers, digital devices or sufficient internet connections.

“If parents can teach their children at home and are able to do so they can choose to.

“But parents who want to send their kids to school should have that choice.

“Both parents and teachers need clarity on these issues urgently.”

LNP Shadow Education Minister Jarrod Bleijie said the State Government needed to revise its advice to parents, teachers and principals this week.

“The health advice is that schools can open and making sure that can happen should be the government’s focus,” Mr Bleijie said.

“Queensland’s education results were heading in the wrong direction before coronavirus hit us, so the damage to our children’s future cannot be dismissed.

“We need clarity from the State Government, not a confused situation with some kids going to school and others being encouraged to stay home.

“If parents want to send their kids to school they should be encouraged to do so.

“Schools aren’t a babysitting service, they are places for our kids to learn and get a world-class education and that should continue.”

Devil in Labor’s details blocks farmers from firearms services

2nd April 2020

Thousands of farmers are still barred from using licensed armourers and dealers despite the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s embarrassing backflip.

Earlier this week Labor classified licensed armourers and dealers as ‘non-essential services’, which sent the industry into lockdown before the decision was reversed.

LNP Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perrett said the farming industry had been conned by Labor following revelations primary producers with licenses issued prior to 2015 were still ineligible to purchase ammunition and firearms.

“About half of Queensland’s farmers are still barred from purchasing firearms and ammunitions – tools of their trade – because of the Labor Government,” Mr Perrett said.

“There is no one else to blame except Labor’s incompetent Minister for Agriculture Mark Furner.

“Like everything we see from Labor, the devil is always in the detail.”

Mr Perrett said farmers holding OC (including OC1, OC2, OC3, OC4 and OC5) category licenses issued before 2015 are barred from accessing armourers, which he estimated accounted for about half of Queensland’s farmers.

“Mark Furner is out of his depth and the Palaszczuk Labor Government is out of touch with regional Queensland,” Mr Perrett said.

“Farmers are needed now more than ever to produce food and fibre and they rely on firearms in the management of their land.

“It’s essential for farmers to have access to licensed armourers and dealers to ensure they can continue to operate and adhere to animal welfare standards in the event a firearm is required to humanely euthanise a sick or injured animal.

“The service also provides a means for farmers to undertake their usual activities such as pest control.”

LNP Shadow Minister for Police Trevor Watts said he had once again written to the Premier and the Minister for Police and asked them to explain why so many farmers had not been included in the announced exemptions.

“This is the just the latest example of the Palaszczuk Labor Government failing to do its job properly,” Mr Watts said.

“This has created unnecessary anxiety and frustration in rural Queensland at a time when it is least welcome.

“An LNP Government would treat law-abiding Queenslanders with firearm licences with respect alongside the business that support them.”