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Fisheries unfair quota reform causing chaos

17th July 2019

The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s changes to the state’s Fisheries Regulations is causing angst up and down the coast, with the changes forcing hundreds of family-owned commercial fishers out of the industry.

LNP Shadow Minister for Fisheries Tony Perrett called for a halt to the regulation changes after it became clear Labor was no longer listening to industry.

“Under the proposed changes listed in the released discussion paper, quota changes to certain fisheries species will see allowable take reduced to well below business viability for many fishers,” Mr Perrett said.

“Generational fishing businesses and jobs are being whipped away due to Labor arbitrarily squeezing them out, by reducing their quota to unsustainable levels.

“All these changes are being imposed on fishers without a cent of compensation.

“To make matters worse, the Palaszczuk Labor Government hasn’t completed modelling on the impact the reduction in available Queensland fisheries will have on local and domestic seafood supply.

“It doesn’t take a genius to realise if there is less available local seafood to meet demand then imports from overseas will increase.

“Put simply, there will be less Queensland seafood and more imports in your local supermarket.

“While the LNP want to make it easier for consumers to identify and purchase Queensland seafood through clearer labelling laws, Labor is in the process of dismantling and destroying our once proud commercial fishing fleet”.

Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) CEO Eric Perez joined the LNP in calling for a halt to the misguided regulation changes putting fishers’ livelihoods on the line.

“Quota changes have not been developed in full consultation with industry and do not represent best practice in terms of fisheries management,” Mr Perez said.

“Industry were asked to provide feedback on how to manage our fisheries and quota was not supported by most commercial fishers.

“Yet this industry finds itself on the verge of more poorly developed fisheries policy”.

Ambulance ramping skyrockets at hospitals across Queensland

16th July 2019

Analysis of ambulance ramping statistics over 18 months lays bare the worsening crisis in Queensland emergency departments on Annastacia Palaszczuk’s watch.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said ambulance ramping had skyrocketed at hospitals across the state since the November 2017 election.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk promised better local health services at the last state election but has failed to deliver,” Ms Frecklington said.

“Instead, we see patients lined up in hospital corridors on stretchers.

“It’s clear ambulance ramping has skyrocketed under Labor, which is impacting patient care.

“These aren’t just numbers in a spreadsheet – it’s your mum or your brother or your close family friend.”

Ambulance ramping refers to the number of patients waiting longer than 30 minutes to be admitted to emergency care and transferred from ambulance stretcher.

Ms Frecklington said the statewide ambulance ramping rate had jumped to 25 per cent since November 2017 under Labor.

“Our dedicated nurses, doctors and paramedics are doing their best, but they need more help on the frontline,” she said.

“Queenslanders deserve a world-class public health system that the Palaszczuk Labor Government isn’t delivering.

“Labor Health Minister Steven Miles is out of his depth, not across his brief, and Annastacia Palaszczuk should sack him immediately.”

Statistics

The latest state-wide ambulance ramping statistics for May: http://www.performance.health.qld.gov.au/

This is now 18 months since the last state election – November 2017 to May 2019.

Comparison of ambulance ramping across state from November 2017 to May 2019:

  • Statewide has increased from 20% to 25%
  • Cairns has increased from 14% to 27%
  • Rockhampton has increased from 11% to 26%
  • GCUH has increased from 29% to 42%
  • Robina has increased from 32% to 37%
  •  Mackay has increased from 13% to 19%
  • Caboolture has increased from 22% to 26%
  • Redcliffe has increased from 17% to 24%
  • Logan has increased from 35% to 41%
  • PA Hospital has increased from 17% to 31%
  • Gympie has increased from 10% to 18%
  • Ipswich has increased from 21% to 26%
  • SCUH has increased from 24% to 34%

*Historical data is not kept on the department’s website.

LNP exposes massive cut in mine inspections

16th July 2019

New figures obtained by the LNP show that the Palaszczuk Labor Government has slashed the number of mine inspections in Queensland by more than 500 a year.

The answer to an Opposition question-on-notice released today (attached) shows that the number of inspections has fallen year-on-year from 1781 in 2015-16 to just 1241 in 2017-8.

There have been six deaths in Queensland mines and quarries in the last 12 months.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington said Labor’s cuts were putting mineworkers in danger.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government is putting the lives of mineworkers on the line,” Ms Frecklington said.

“There can be no justification for the massive reduction in mining inspections implemented by Labor.

“The mining safety regime in Queensland is now clearly in crisis.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s neglect of safety is unforgivable.

“These alarming figures underline the need for Annastacia Palaszczuk to call an immediate Parliamentary Inquiry into mine safety in Queensland.”

The damning figures follow revelations that the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s mining safety and health advisory committee had failed to meet because its membership did not meet Labor’s gender-balance requirements.

Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Dale Last said only an open and independent inquiry could provide the answers and path forward that the industry needs.

“The reduction in investigations proves that we need an open and independent Parliamentary Inquiry into mine safety because the Palaszczuk Government has clearly dropped the ball,” Mr Last said.

“This is an industry that contributes billions of dollars to the Queensland economy and billions to the State Government’s coffers.

“If these reductions are due to cost-cutting then we need to get to the bottom of it and do the right thing by the hard-working men and women in the resources industry.”

Burning questions remain over Labor bushfire mismanagement

16th July 2019

The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s review into the devastating bushfires that tore through parts of Queensland last year fails to investigate key disaster prevention concerns.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said the review failed to investigate whether Labor’s mismanagement of fuel loads and fire breaks on state-controlled land worsened the bushfires.

“We know our emergency service workers did an amazing job - that was never in doubt,” Ms Frecklington said.

“The report fails to look at whether Labor prepared the state properly before the fortnight of fires devastated Queensland communities.

“We know there were nearly 1000 less Hazard Reduction Burns conducted and attended by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service in 2018 compared to 2015.

“The report was all about Labor saving face rather than saving communities from bushfires.”

LNP Shadow Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Lachlan Millar said it was unacceptable the report failed to make any recommendations despite many submissions on the mismanagement of state-controlled land and issues with getting fire permits approved.

“Rather than taking responsibility for slashing Hazard Reduction Burns, the Palaszczuk Labor Government blamed our farmers for the fuelling the bushfires,” Mr Millar said.

“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.

“Queenslanders deserved answers to crucial questions about how the bushfires caused so much damage.

“Landholders have been very open and frank with us and the government over how policy settings should be overhauled.

“Only the LNP is listening and only the LNP will hold government agencies to account on land management practices and fire mitigation activities.”

Deb’s plan to get the Galilee going

9th July 2019

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has reiterated her plan to create jobs, boost investment and unlock the full potential of the Galilee Basin, during a trip to Central Queensland today.

Ms Frecklington said Annastacia Palaszczuk has turned her back on the region thanks to her anti-resources, anti-regions and anti-jobs agenda.

“The resources industry has been held to ransom by the Palaszczuk Labor Government,” Ms Frecklington said.

“The LNP’s ‘Boost the Basin’ plan will create thousands of new jobs across Central and North Queensland.

“We will also deliver a 10-year freeze on mining royalties and overhaul Labor’s appalling approval process.

“Adani didn’t go through approvals for the Carmichael coalmine project, it was an obstacle course.

“$50 billion worth of Galilee Basin projects, which will create 15,000 new jobs have stalled because of Labor.

“Central Queensland plays a crucial role for the entire state.

“I guarantee that all Queenslanders will reap the benefits of the Galilee Basin through new roads, hospitals and schools.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk has no plan for Queensland other than tax, tax and more tax.

“When Labor run out of money, they come after yours.

“Queenslanders have been slugged with nine new or higher taxes under the Palaszczuk Labor Government.

“I’ve consistently said an LNP Government I lead will not introduce any new taxes.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk refuses to do the same, which is why you can’t afford Labor or trust them to create new jobs.”

LNP calls for Parliamentary Select committee to investigate Mining deaths

8th July 2019

LNP leader Deb Frecklington today announced she would move for an independent Parliamentary Select Committee to investigate mining safety in light of the spate of recent deaths.

“This committee needs to be set up as soon as possible. One death is way too many but to have four in six months means action needs to be taken,” Ms Frecklington said.

“We need to establish a parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of the Queensland Government's mine safety regime.

"The Palaszczuk Labor Government admitted this morning that an advisory committee on Mining Safety was dissolved last year because the board didn’t have the right gender requirements. That needs to be investigated along with reports the mines budget has been cut and why we have gone from two chief inspectors to one.

"It's crucial Queensland learns lessons from these tragedies to ensure our mines are safe.

“It is critical this is a truly bipartisan committee with 3 members of the government, 3 LNP members and a member of the crossbench.”

LNP Shadow Minister for Mines Dale Last said the committee should literally travel to the coal face.

“This committee should travel to mining communities and hear first-hand from those at the coal face,” Mr Last said.

“We need to hear the stories of regional Queenslanders employed in the coal mining industry and their views about the health and safety systems in Queensland.

“Everyone should come home safely from their place of work.”

The committee will be asked to consider the following:

  • (a) Resourcing and operations of the mine safety inspectorate, including the inspectors in regional Queensland.
  • (b) review the legislative framework to ensure it is the most effective in world to protect mine workers.
  • (c) why did the Palaszczuk Government dissolve a Mining Safety Advisory Committee due to the Government’s policy about gender representation and what impact this has had on Queensland mine safety.
  • (d) the circumstances that have led to 6 fatalities in Queensland mines in the last 6 months.
  • (e) the stories of regional Queenslanders employed in the coal mining industry and their views about the health and safety systems in Queensland.

LNP guarantees rape defence review if Labor fails to act

8th July 2019

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington is determined to punish rapists and deliver justice for sexual assault survivors by closing an archaic legal loophole allowing offenders to walk free.

A future LNP Government would refer the state’s rape laws to the Queensland Law Reform Commission seeking a major overhaul of the “mistake of fact” defence in Queensland.

Ms Frecklington said action was needed now and called on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to support the LNP’s plan and refer the laws immediately.

“It defies belief offenders continue to rely on legal loopholes to get away with brutal crimes while the Palaszczuk Labor Government delays law reforms,” Ms Frecklington said.

“Victims are denied justice and more potential victims in the community are at risk when rapists walk free.

“Enough is enough, sexual predators must be held accountable.

“Queensland has the most outdated consent laws in the country and it’s time to act.

“I want to protect vulnerable women from sexual violence.

“It shouldn’t take a State Election to bring consent laws into line with community expectations, but if the Labor Attorney-General doesn’t refer the law then the LNP will.”

Ms Frecklington said the LNP’s plan to refer the laws to the Commission reflected calls by the Queensland Women's Legal Service, Bond University law Professor Jonathan Crowe, advocate Bri Lee and retired Supreme Court Justice Roslyn Atkinson.

The current laws allow defendants to rely on the "mistake of fact" defence to argue that they reasonably and honestly but mistakenly believed the complainant consented to sexual intercourse.

The issue with the defence is that it has been used in cases where:

  • the accused was so intoxicated they “thought” the victim was consenting
  • the victim was so intoxicated that they were comatose and legally incapable of giving consent
  • the accused reasonably believed the victim wanted sex because of their social behaviours e.g. she was flirting with the accused and allowed the perpetrator to touch her breasts.

The defence may also be used in cases where a victim ‘freezes’, which is a recognised as a common psychological response to a violent attack.

LNP Shadow Attorney General David Janetzki said too often rapists were sentenced but then had the conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal.

“In practice, the “mistake of fact” defence is setting an alarming precedent and denying victims justice,” Mr Janetzki said.

“There have been many cases involving violent, calculated, repeat sexual offenders who relied on this defence, either at trial or on appeal, to avoid punishment.

“Good laws are balanced laws, but the “mistake of fact” is skewed in the perpetrator’s favour.

“It’s inexcusable Labor has failed to act and review these laws.

“The LNP knows more needs to be done to protect victims of rape and if Labor doesn’t act, we will take this policy to the people of Queensland at the 2020 election.”

Mr Janetzki said Tasmania had a model for legislative reform in this area that could be considered.

In Tasmania, a mistaken belief by the accused as to the existence of consent is not honest or reasonable if the accused –

  • was in a state of self-induced intoxication and the mistake was not one which the accused would have made if not intoxicated; or
  • was reckless as to whether or not the complainant consented; or
  • did not take reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to him or her at the time of the offence, to ascertain that the complainant was consenting to the act.

Victoria has introduced similar laws while the New South Wales Attorney-General referred the sexual consent laws for review to the New South Wales Law Reform Commission last year.