Water prices paid by farmers will be slashed by almost 20% a year from 1 July 2021 in a major job-boosting election commitment by LNP Leader Deb Frecklington.
Ms Frecklington made the announcement in the Burdekin today as part of her economic plan to stimulate the economy and drag Queensland out of recession.
“A major part of the LNP’s plan to supercharge the regions and unleash industry is through new dams and water infrastructure,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Today we complement our bold dam building plan by slashing water costs for farmers.
“Cheaper water means more secure regional jobs and a near 20% reduction in water costs is a major job-creator for regional Queensland.
“I want Queensland to be Australia’s food bowl and cheaper water costs will be a catalyst for that.”
Ms Frecklington said the LNP will implement recommendations from the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) to reduce water costs by transitioning SunWater to a regulated asset-based (RAB) approach for financing asset renewals.
The RAB approach recovers costs from customers as incurred yearly rather than attempting to estimate the replacement cost of an asset at the end of its life.
By adopting the QCA’s recommendation to modernise the way Sunwater calculates its asset renewal allowances, as has been done in other states, Sunwater will be more efficient and adopt new technologies.
“SunWater currently services nearly 5,000 irrigator customers throughout rural and regional Queensland by providing water for crops like fruit, vegetables, cane, cotton and grains,” Ms Frecklington said.
“The LNP understands water prices are already too high and without affordable water Queensland businesses and farms won’t be able to employ Queenslanders.
“Our dam building plan will create thousands of secure jobs, but we need to ensure those already using water to grow our job-creating crops can afford it.”
The LNP’s dam plan includes water infrastructure projects like the New Bradfield Scheme, Nullinga Dam, Urannah Dam, Emu Swamp Dam, Rookwood Weir, raising Burdekin Falls Dam and fixing Paradise Dam.
LNP Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Burdekin MP Dale Last said today’s announcement meant more money in the pocket of farmers and more secure local jobs for rural and regional Queensland.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government has no plan to provide the long-term structural reform farmers need to ensure they will have access to affordable water,” said Mr Last.
“The cost of water under the Palaszczuk Labor Government is hurting our farmers and costing all-important jobs in our regions.
“Under proposed water price increases slated for just after the election, there are farmers in line for price hikes of more than 48 per cent.
“The LNP will deliver huge savings so farmers can boost productivity and employ more Queenslanders
“Only an LNP Government will back our farmers, invest for growth and supercharge the regions.”
The Palaszczuk Labor Government has failed to learn the lesson of the Federal Election by continuing to shift the goalposts on critical job-creating resource projects like the $900 million expansion of the New Acland mine.
LNP Shadow Minister for Mines Dale Last said the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s decision to politicise the New Acland approvals process would have serious implications for future projects in the state’s all-important Galilee Basin.
“Central and North Queenslanders have not forgotten how the Palaszczuk Labor Government shifted the goalposts in its attempt to kill off the Carmichael Mine project,” Mr Last said.
“Queenslanders sent a very clear message at the ballot box that they wanted to see job creating projects like the Carmichael Mine and New Acland approved.
“Labor are more interested in political stunts and hollow rhetoric and it’s clear that their own Queensland Senators have no influence over the Palaszczuk Labor Government.
“Unfortunately, nothing has changed since last year and all we have is the same old anti-regions anti-resources and anti-jobs Labor Government.
“Now more than ever regional Queensland needs job-creating projects approved and fast-tracked, not stalled because of Labor’s ideological extremism.
“If Labor cannot be trusted to approve the expansion of a 20-year-old mine at New Acland, there is no chance that it will open the Galilee Basin to the new projects we need to secure a decade of resource jobs.
“Unlike Labor, a Deb Frecklington LNP Government has a plan to build a stronger economy to get Queensland working again.
“Our bold vision is to make Queensland Australia’s economic powerhouse again, the best place to get a job and get ahead.
“The LNP will open up the Galilee Basin and develop $50 billion of projects that support 15,000 new local jobs in Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton and throughout regional Queensland.
“The LNP will provide certainty in the approvals process to encourage investment and secure more jobs.
“Every dollar of the royalties collected from the Galilee Basin will go into a new Queensland Infrastructure Fund to build hospitals, schools and roads we need.
“An LNP government will implement our economic plan for a decade of secure jobs, to get Queensland working again and drag Queensland out of the recession by stimulating the economy.
“The foundations of the LNP’s plan for a stronger economy and secure jobs are investing for growth, unleashing Queensland industry, supercharging the regions and securing our children’s future through industries like the
The key elements of the LNP’s plan to ‘Boost the Basin’ are:
‘Today I asked the Premier to support New Acland stage 3 to save and secure Queensland jobs and she refused to do it.
‘Annastacia Palaszczuk is putting her anti-resources agenda before the jobs of resource workers and their families.
‘The Premier is the only person standing in the way of this project and she is responsible for every job that is lost by blocking it.
‘Labor has no plan for Queensland and no sympathy for New Acland workers whose jobs are at risk.
‘This project would be approved by an LNP Government because we need a stronger economy and secure jobs to drag Queensland out of recession.
‘The LNP’s economic plan will unleash Queensland industry, supercharge the regions and secure our children’s future.’
More concerns have been uncovered with the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s botched fire ant eradication program.
LNP Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett said it’s unbelievable that Labor have spent more than $100 million of taxpayers’ money on the program to eradicate fire ants, but the situation is only getting worse.
“The LNP raised the alarm on the botched fire ant eradication program for some time, only to be told by Labor that everything is fine,” Mr Perrett said.
“The Queensland Ombudsman is now conducting its own initiated investigation based on reports it has received from the public.
“This is yet another example of the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s mismanagement of taxpayers money.
“The LNP firmly believe in the mission of the eradication program, but wholeheartedly reject Labor’s botched implementation and ongoing mismanagement.
“Only a Deb Frecklington LNP Government we will get the fire ant program back on track, meet targets and make sure it is being delivering as intended.”
LNP Member for Scenic Rim Jon Krause said locals raised the alarm with claims that the program is failing horribly.
“For a long time now there has been a feeling across my electorate that there’s no urgency and no commitment from the program to do the job properly,” Mr Krause said.
“I’ve been to fields where the ants should have been treated and eradicated just to see nests everywhere.
“Fire ant eradication is a big deal for our local community and the Labor management of the program is failing us.
“Biosecurity Queensland and Labor Agriculture Minister Furner need to be held to account for overseeing this failed eradication program.”
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington today announced a comprehensive plan to crack down on youth crime and protect the public.
Ms Frecklington said she was determined to make Queensland communities more safe and secure for families if her party wins the next election.
An LNP Government will implement tougher laws, monitor youth offenders on bail 24/7, introduce mandatory detention for third convictions, establish a Community Payback Farm program, scrap youth bail houses, and increase early intervention with a justice reinvestment trial.
Since 2015 when Annastacia Palaszczuk became Premier, robbery has skyrocketed 94 per cent in Queensland, unlawful use of a motor vehicle has jumped 77 per cent, assault has increased 35 per cent and shop stealing has increased 70 per cent.
“Everyone has a right to feel safe in their home and out on the streets,” Ms Frecklington said.
“The youth crime crisis began the day Annastacia Palaszczuk became Premier.
“The LNP will overhaul the failing youth justice system that has brought so much crime and misery to communities like Townsville, Cairns and the Gold Coast.
“Young thugs committing violent crime, car theft and drug use won’t be the norm under the LNP – it will be stamped out.
“The only way to solve the youth crime crisis is to change the government.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government is soft on crime and the scales of justice have been tipped in favour of keeping juvenile criminals on the streets.
“The LNP will make sweeping changes to prevent youth crime, crack down on perpetrators, and rehabilitate offenders to contribute to the community.
“Businesses shouldn’t have to count the cost of theft, families shouldn’t have to replace stolen property, and police shouldn’t be stretched to breaking point.
“Now more than ever, Queensland need an LNP Government to crack down on crime, create secure jobs and build a stronger economy.
“A stronger economy means safer communities.”
Shadow Minister for Police Dan Purdie said an LNP Government would back up the hardworking police with tough laws to crack down on repeat offenders.
“Labor’s ‘catch and release’ laws that let juvenile offenders get away with crime will be scrapped once and for all,” Mr Purdie said.
“Police are exhausted and stretched to the limit from catching the same offenders time and time again.
“There will be no more slaps on the wrist under the LNP. We will bring back true consequences for crime.”
LNP’s plan to crack down on crime
A range of justice reinvestment programs in Australia have proven to be successful in early intervention and reducing offending. Backing Bourke, a program led Just Reinvest NSW, focuses on indigenous youth in and around Bourke. An impact assessment found a 31% increase in year 12 student retention rates and a 38% reduction in charges across the top five juvenile offence categories; a 14% reduction in bail breaches and a 42% reduction in days spent in custody. The ‘BackTrack’ Youth Works Program in NSW delivered a 35% cut in juvenile crime in a one-year-period.
Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington, is supporting a petition calling for the appointment of a Specialist Cancer Nurse role for the South Burnett.
Mrs Frecklington said she had been approached by members of the community who had previously used a similar service and were disappointed to hear it would no longer be available.
“A Cancer Care Nurse Navigator role was operating in the South Burnett for nearly two years and had become a valued service,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“Local cancer patients appreciated and needed this tailored health care. In fact, when the service ceased in late 2019, there were 76 active clients, with 10-12 new referrals each month.
“There are a large number of cancer patients in the South Burnett, with the number of people dying from cancer in Murgon, Cherbourg and Wondai 15% above the national average and 9% above the average for Kingaroy.
“In February this year I wrote to the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service Board calling for the reinstatement of this specialist role.
“However, they have noted that the role will now be general and not specific to a particular disease. While I appreciate this new role is also important, cancer patients are telling me that they are very disappointed to lose this essential cancer specific service, which guided them through their cancer journey.
“The petition we are running is calling for the appointment of a Specialist Cancer Nurse role for the South Burnett and it is being supported by Principal Petition, Mr Eric Cross. Both Eric and his wife Carla have survived cancer and in 2019 were the Faces of Relay for Kingaroy Relay for Life.
“The petition will be available in hard copy format from various members of the community, as well as at my Electorate Office in Kingaroy. It can also be signed online at https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/petition-details?id=3360. The petition will close on the 28th August 2020.
Photo: Kingaroy local, Eric Cross is supporting Deb’s petition for the appointment of a Specialist Cancer Nurse role to the South Burnett.