The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s cancellation of the 2020 State Budget is causing chaos for agricultural shows which rely on recurrent funding from State Government.
LNP Shadow Minister for Local Government Ann Leahy said the future of Queensland’s traditional shows were on the line because Labor had cancelled the budget.
“It is becoming evident that having no State Budget will result no agricultural shows – something that will crush the spirits of hundreds of local communities,” Ms Leahy said.
“Communities rely on their agricultural shows to stimulate local economies and attract visitors.
“The Federal Government has recognised the importance of agricultural show societies with a $36 million one-off reimbursement.
“The NSW State Government has provided a $12m scheme to help shows, but there is silence from the Palaszczuk Labor Government on $2.1 million of recurrent funding for Queensland shows.”
General Manager of the Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies, Trevor Beckingham, called for the funding to be committed to struggling show societies sreeling from the impacts of drought and COVID-19.
“Queensland shows need certainty into the future and confirmation of the 2020/2021 shows grant now – not in six months’ time,” Mr Beckingham said.
“There are show societies in Queensland that are on the brink who have unrecoverable costs without this state funding.
“We have made submissions and requests to Minister Hinchcliffe yet we are still unable to get any response at all about the show grants for the coming year.
“The perception is that because we aren’t having a show this year that we aren’t affected.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. The bills keep coming and the funds have run out.”
LNP Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perrett said it was disgraceful that the anti-farmer, anti-regions Palaszczuk Labor Government was using the coronavirus crisis to kill off culturally and economically important industry showcases.
“Only a Deb Frecklington LNP Government will protect Queensland farmers and their important industry showcase events by supporting our rural and regional show societies,” Mr Perrett said.
Electricity bills for regional households and businesses will fall by an average of $300 under an LNP government, LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said today.
Ms Frecklington said the $300 average saving would be on top of the reduction announced today by the Queensland Competition Authority in its determination for 2020/21 electricity prices in regional Queensland.
Ms Frecklington said the LNP’s plan to end Ergon’s monopoly by enabling private energy retailers to compete in regional Queensland would bring down prices for communities north of Gympie and from Toowoomba west.
“The cost of living has been hurting Queensland households for years under Labor,” Ms Frecklington said.
“The LNP will bring down power bills in regional Queensland by an average of $300 a year by breaking up Ergon’s monopoly.
“Labor has been using electricity as a secret tax to prop up the failing state budget.
“Right now Queensland families need a government that backs them, but the Palaszczuk Labor Government is ripping them off.”
LNP Shadow Energy Minister Michael Hart said the LNP’s plan was based on the findings of the Queensland Productivity Commission’s inquiry into energy prices.
He said an 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.
“There are 27 energy retailers competing for customers in Brisbane, but the regions are stuck with one choice – Ergon,” Mr Hart said.
“The LNP will ensure that regional consumers gets lower bills like Brisbane.
“The fact is Labor is using its monopoly to hit consumers with a secret tax on electricity bills.
“The national regulator recently caught the Palaszczuk Labor Government red-handed trying to hike up its network charges, which would have pushed power bills even higher.”
Strong economic management by the LNP is helping to create jobs and drag Queensland’s economy out of recession, Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington said today.
Mrs Frecklington said the Federal Government was able to invest in infrastructure across Queensland, including the fixing the D’Aguilar Highway, because of the effective and responsible management of the national Budget by the LNP.
“The only party which can be trusted to manage the economy is the LNP,” said Mrs Frecklington.
“The Federal Government is able to invest in job-creating infrastructure at this difficult time because of its strong economic management over several years.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced federal funding for $415m of shovel-ready Queensland infrastructure projects.
“The Federal Government’s support is very welcome, but Queensland should be doing much more at state level to build a stronger economy for the Somerset region,” she said.
“An LNP Government that I lead will get Queensland working again by building new dams and roads, cutting the cost of electricity, backing Queensland-owned businesses and ruling out any new taxes.
“While the Federal Government has strengthened the national economy, the Palaszczuk Labor Government has badly weakened Queensland’s economy.
“Queensland had the worst average unemployment rate and highest number of bankruptcies long before covid-19 hit us.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk was the last Premier in Australia to announce a support package for business and the only the Premier in Australia to cancel her government’s entire Budget.
“Labor has no plan and no Budget for our economy.
“An LNP Government will hold a Budget within 100 days of the next election and finally get Queensland working again.”
Photo: Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington and Member for Glasshouse, Andrew Powell have been fighting for funding for the busy D’Aguilar Highway and welcome the Federal Government announcement.
Volunteers in Queensland’s charities and not-for-profit organisations will have to deal with more red-tape and face tougher laws than corporate directors under new laws passed by the Palaszczuk Labor Government.
Clause 31 of the Associations Incorporation Bill passed by Parliament yesterday will mean that Queenslanders who lead voluntary organisations will now face similar onerous insolvency obligations as corporate directors – but without any of the defences.
“This is totally over-the-top regulation from the Palaszczuk Labor Government,” LNP Shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki said.
“Labor has tied Queensland businesses up in red-tape and now they’re doing the same to charities.
“I believe we should be encouraging Queenslanders who want to give their time to help their communities and people in need.
“These laws will have the opposite effect”.
The legislation puts volunteers in the same legal bracket as corporate bosses – but without any help to guide them.
“Labor’s changes leave Queensland’s army of volunteers exposed to the threat of future prosecutions but without corporate lawyers and highly paid advisors to support them,” Mr Janetzki said.
The Palaszczuk Labor Government introduced a ‘guillotine’ to pass the Bill after just two hours’ debate in Parliament.
Clause 31 stipulates that the officers of incorporated associations could face a fine of up to $8,007 if they fail to prevent insolvent trading.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has vowed to overhaul the child safety system and protect vulnerable kids from drug-abusive parents if her party wins the next state election.
A stand-alone agency called the Child Protection Force will be established by an LNP Government that will include a 24-hour rapid-response team and a new squad of police investigators to clear the backlogs.
The LNP will also introduce compulsory drug testing with no second chances to combat escalating drug addiction and to hold parents accountable for caring for their children.
Ms Frecklington said the avoidable tragedy of Mason Jett Lee had exposed fundamental failures in the Department of Child Safety and further cases of shocking child neglect showed gaping cracks in the system remained.
“If I were Premier, it will be a priority to keep our kids safe,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Too many kids are dying or suffering severe harm under the current system and that has to change.
“I make no apologies for my tough stance. Kids must be protected at all costs.
“The legacy of little Mason Jett Lee must be one of sweeping change to the child safety system that failed him.
“Sadly, Labor’s child safety system is still failing to protect vulnerable children and I’m determined to overhaul it from the top down.
“The cycle of tragedies, inquiries, and failures must end.
“It’s time to act and that’s what an LNP Government will do. Leaving vulnerable children in homes of abuse can be a death sentence.
“The LNP’s new Child Protection Force will put safety first and stop vulnerable kids from slipping through the cracks.
“Labor’s broken Department of Child Safety must be left in the past to meet the safety needs of Queensland kids now and into the future.
“The LNP believes it’s time to stop the cover-ups and end the bad habit of hiding behind privacy provisions.
“The system should be designed to protect vulnerable kids, not senior bureaucrats.
“The LNP’s Child Protection Force would take a hard-line approach to drugs to keep kids safe.
“ICE addiction is rife under the Palaszczuk Labor Government and the prevalence of it in the child safety system is life-threatening.
“The cycle of drug use and child abuse must be broken and parents need to break the cycle of addiction to ensure they can care for their kids.
“The LNP’s Child Protection Force will implement random compulsory drug tests for illicit substances like methamphetamine for people on Intervention with Parental Agreements.
“Under the LNP’s plan, positive tests to certain illicit substances will require participation in a drug rehabilitation service so parents get the support they need to break the addiction.
“A second positive test will lead to children being placed in foster care under a no-second-chances model because the cycle of drug abuse must be broken.”
The LNP’s Child Protection Force
Shadow Minister for Health and Act for Mason patron Ros Bates said the protection of kids would now be a 24 hour operation.
“Vulnerable kids aren’t only in danger from 9 to 5 and so the job of protecting them shouldn’t be 9 to 5 either,” Ms Bates said.
“Child Protection Force officers will be there when they’re needed, around the clock, helping to protect children who can’t protect themselves
“As a survivor of family violence, I know too often children are caught up in the horror of domestic and family violence.
“Overhauling the child safety system will complement the LNP’s plan to end to scourge of domestic violence in Queensland Shadow Minister for Child Safety Stephen Bennett said a key part of the LNP’s plan was increased transparency and accountability.
“The LNP will introduce new performance reporting for all regional child safety service centres to increase transparency and accountability for senior executives to ensure vulnerable kids don’t fall through the cracks,” Mr Bennett said.
“Regional offices will be required to undertake two-year accreditation programs to improve standards and increase local accountability, similar to recent changes in New South Wales.
“Officers in the LNP’s Child Safety Force would undergo new training and development with a focus on identifying behaviours that put kids at risk, with increased early intervention to identify the support needed for kids in care.”
An LNP Government will extend payments to foster carers for children in care until they are 21 under a new $4 million two year trial that will bring Queensland in-line with most other states.
“It’s about creating a long-term care model, with increased support for carers and more help for families transitioning kids into adulthood to break the cycle,” he said.
Mr Bennett said the LNP would also increase the use of adoption through a new triage model with permanency order targets and new KPI’s, with a priority for vulnerable children under three years of age.
“The Carmody Inquiry recommended more adoption permanency orders through use of adoption, but that hasn’t happened under Labor,” Mr Bennett said.
“An LNP Government will recruit more foster carers to work with local service centres and create more emergency care options.”
The Palaszczuk Labor Government today refused to guarantee the future of Queensland’s all-important Stock Squad.
During Question Time in Parliament today, Labor’s Police Minister Mark Ryan refused to be drawn on the future of the Stock Squad.
LNP Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perrett said it was disgraceful that the Minister was unable to guarantee the future of the designated police unit tasked with fighting stock theft in Queensland.
“This is especially distressing when we have heard reports that the Minister has been handed a review with a recommendation to disband the squad,” Mr Perrett said.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government simply doesn’t understand the importance of the stock squad to regional Queensland and our agricultural industries.
“Unfortunately, Labor seems more interested in protecting animal extremists who trespass and terrorise farmers, rather than catching people who steal cattle, especially at time when their value is at an all-time high.
“When last in Government the LNP rebuilt the Stock Squad and properly resourced it to ensure it was able to do its job.
“Queenslanders can be assured that an elected Deb Frecklington LNP Government in October will once again properly fund the Stock Squad, so our farmers can be protected”.
LNP Member for Condamine Pat Weir said Labor’s refusal to guarantee the future of the Stock Squad was shocking but wasn’t a surprise.
“This is typical of a Labor Government that puts its city-centric agenda before the regions,” Mr Weir said.
“Farmers deserve to have a dedicated police squad that understands the industry and can hold those who commit crimes to account.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government is anti-farmer, anti-regions and cannot be trusted.
“Only a Deb Frecklington LNP Government will protect Queensland farmers and their stock from lawlessness.”
The decision by the High Court today has no bearing on the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s ability to provide certainty and grant critical approvals at the New Acland Mine.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said that it was time for Annastacia Palaszczuk to uphold her election promise and approve the mine since it was no longer before the land court.
“The court’s decision was unrelated to the approvals being sought to guarantee 450 local secure jobs,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor are the only ones standing in the way of securing these much-needed regional jobs.
“The Premier needs to honour her election promise and stop moving the goal posts.
“It’s time for Annastacia Palaszczuk to start backing local jobs on the Darling Downs.”
LNP Member for Condamine Pat Weir said that overwhelmingly the Oakey and Darling Downs community support the expansion of the mine to secure local jobs.
“We have seen a concerted campaign by the entire Oakey community from the chamber of commerce, local businesses and workers all calling for the Labor to approve the expansion,” Mr Weir said.
“Communities like Oakey need these 450 secure jobs to ensure it continues to function, especially in light of the recent coronavirus impacts.
“Hundreds of jobs had already been unnecessarily lost on the Darling Downs because of Labor’s anti-resources agenda.
“Only a Deb Frecklington LNP Government will back secure regional jobs and get Queensland working again.”
LNP Shadow Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Lachlan Millar has hit out at the Palaszczuk Labor Government for financing its coronavirus response using taxpayer money meant for firefighting and major emergencies.
It’s been revealed $16 million in important funding that would normally be used in the lead up to bushfire season had been redirected, even though the money was sourced through local fire levies.
Mr Millar joined with the Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland and the United Firefighters Union in calling for all money raised through the levies to be spent on the purpose it was collected for.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government clearly has no budget and no plan,’” said Mr Millar.
“Good government should be able to fund these sorts of coronavirus support services without reducing fire and emergency services funding.
“This funding is crucial to help protect communities across Queensland from bushfire disasters.
“Draining the emergency services budget is on top of the Palaszczuk Labor Government failing to meet its hazard reduction burn and fire mitigation targets last year before the fire season.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government must release a full budget so Queenslanders can see where their taxes are going.
“Queenslanders have been let down by five years of economic mismanagement by Labor.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk must guarantee that this money will be returned and that money Queenslanders pay through fire levies funds fire services.”
A review into the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program managed by Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) has painted a dire picture of waste and mismanagement*.
LNP Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Tony Perrett said it’s cause for alarm that the fire ant footprint had expanded and density of larger mounds had increased since the commencement of the programs.
“The LNP received complaints about Labor’s bungling of the fire ant program right from the start,” Mr Perrett said.
“Queenslanders told us they thought it was going backwards, and following the release of the findings, it turned out they were right.
“By the end of 2019-20 the Palaszczuk Labor Government would have spent more than $134 million of the $411 million allocated to the program, just three years into the 10-year eradication program.
“Instead of making progress in killing and eradicating fire ants, the program was mismanaged by Labor.
“Labor has failed to meet any of its yearly eradication targets and only one of the five key performance indicators.
“I have written to the Queensland Auditor General requesting the Audit Office conduct and independent review and report back to Parliament.”
LNP Member for Coomera said fire ant eradication is a big deal for his local community and the program had become a joke under Labor.
“There have been serious concerns about the productivity levels of local fire ant crews with concerns around the progress they have been making in eradicating the ants from the Northern Gold Coast, with these pests now found as far south as Southport,” said Mr Crandon.
“The report confirms these concerns and pointed out the productivity issues in meeting targets.
“That has resulted in an additional $150,000 per month of taxpayers money during the treatment season.”
LNP Member for Scenic Rim Jon Krause, said the problem was becoming so bad that fire ants were now south of Beaudesert, near the NSW border.
“Landholders in the Scenic Rim are sick of their concerns being ignored due to the Labor’s mismanagement of the eradication,” said Mr Krause.
“There was a situation in Bromelton were it took DAF more than five months to remove ants from the property, which is completely unacceptable.”
Tony Perrett said that if this mess wasn’t urgently turned around, fire ants will be in NSW and beyond before we know it.
“Taxpayers deserve better than this. The rest of the country deserves better than this,” said Mr Perrett.\
“Only a Deb Frecklington LNP Government we will get the fire ant program back on track, meet targets and hold those people administering the program to account.”
Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision to axe the 2020 Budget is a kick in the guts to farmers and regional Queenslanders who want a clear plan on dams and water security.
LNP Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Dale Last said the Palaszczuk Labor Government has no budget and no plan for water security, when most of Queensland is still suffering from severe drought.
“Queensland will be the only state or territory in the country that won’t deliver a budget this year and Labor is using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to hide the dreadful condition of the state’s finances,” Mr Last said.
“If Labor was serious about water infrastructure and building dams in rural and regional Queensland then it would release a budget.
“Queenslanders deserve to know how their taxes are spent and why Labor doesn’t have a plan to deliver water security and create more regional jobs.
“Queensland was in the middle of a jobs crisis before coronavirus hit, with the highest unemployment rate in the nation since the last state election.
“Only the LNP understands that water means opportunities and I won’t stop fighting for every single job in rural and regional Queensland.
“The LNP will help drought proof Queensland and deliver tens of thousands of new jobs by building the Nullinga Dam, raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall, building The New Bradfield Scheme, building the Urannah Dam, building Rookwood Weir and building the Emu Swamp Dam.”
“With two thirds of our state in drought*, these water projects from Cairns to Stanthorpe will create jobs and reignite our state’s economy.
“Only the LNP has a strong economic plan to deliver water security and get Queensland working again.”
Drought declarations: *https://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/drought/drought-declarations/
On ‘Thank a First Responder Day’ the Palaszczuk Labor Government refuses to budge on its push to sack nearly 5000 rural fire brigade volunteers after the upcoming fire season.
LNP Shadow Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Lachlan Millar said that instead of respecting and valuing our volunteers that defend our rural communities the Labor Government continues to hold them in limbo.
“Minister Craig Crawford’s backflip on blue cards for rural firies showed the implementation had been bungled from the start,” Mr Millar said.
“Nearly 5000 firies were set to get the sack and now they should be urgently re-instated ahead of the upcoming bushfire season to ensure our communities are protected.
“The reason why the sacking of thousands of rural fire volunteers was delayed until after the fire season was that entire communities and brigades had been left unmanned under the botched rollout.
“In Minister Crawford’s own region in the Far North, 46 per cent of rural fire volunteers had not applied for a Blue Card*.
“The Central and Northern Queensland regions have 34 per cent and the South West region has 33 per cent of volunteers who hadn’t event put their applications in.
“Having a situation where there would have been towns and communities without functioning rural fire brigades due to the arrogance of this Labor Government’s handling of the blue card process is unforgivable.
“Craig Crawford must apologise to each and every rural fire volunteer today over this fiasco.
“An LNP Government led by Deb Frecklington would work with our rural firies, not threaten them with the sack and help keep our communities safe.
“On behalf of the LNP I want to thank them all for their hard work and professionalism in serving our community.”
LNP Shadow Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Lachlan Millar said the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s backflip today on blue cards for rural firies showed the implementation had been bungled from the very beginning.
“Queensland is only months away from bushfire season and our volunteer rural firefighters will play a vital role in protecting communities across the state,” Mr Millar said.
“The whole time the Palaszczuk Labor Government spent threatening to sack our rural firies should have spent working with them and getting our state bushfire-prepared.
“Labor Minister Craig Crawford must personally apologise to each and every rural fire volunteer today over this fiasco and the way he has treated our rural firies.
“Queensland couldn’t afford to have thousands of rural firies hand in their badges in the lead up to bushfire season and Labor pushing back the deadline for a third time is an admission they have botched this whole process.
“Clearly Labor should never have threatened to sack our rural firies.
“Rural volunteer firefighters have been treated appallingly by Labor throughout this entire saga, and it’s still not over.
“An LNP Government led by Deb Frecklington would work with our rural firies, not threaten them with the sack.”