The incompetence of Labor’s Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner to lead Queensland’s agricultural industry has again been exposed following his latest backflip around farmers having access to weapons and armourers during the COVID-19 health crisis.
LNP Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Tony Perrett said the anxiety caused by Minister Furner’s inability to do his job and stop the closure of weapon armourers was proof that the Premier should sack him.
“Farmers are needed now more than ever to produce food and fibre and they rely on firearms in the management of their land, but Minister Furner repeatedly forgets this,” Mr Perrett said.
“This shows how out of touch the Palaszczuk Labor Government is with regional Queensland.
“Earlier this month Minister Furner was caught-out allowing funds for the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administered sustainability and first-start loans to dry up, well before the start of the new financial year.
“The LNP was able to apply parliamentary and political pressure which ensured additional funds were made available to support Queensland farmers during this difficult time.
“For 134 days, Minister Furner attacked the LNP’s plan to put smart drumlines into the marine park area, played politics with swimmers’ safety and put tourism jobs at risk, but thankfully common sense prevailed as a result of political pressure by the LNP.
“This is the same Palaszczuk Minister who committed $5 million of state funding to match the federal government’s commitment to tackle the spread of prickly acacia, and then failed to provide the funding when it came time for the State Government to pay up.
“The same Minister who is cutting $50 million in drought support right in the middle of a drought from 1 July 2020.
“Queensland’s Agriculture training colleges too have been closed under Minister Furner’s watch without a proper plan to restore skills and training back into our states vital agricultural sector.
“Bungle after bungle and repeated tone-deaf decisions should be enough to see Furner sacked.
“How many times does this incompetent Minister have to stuff up before he is sacked.
“Surely there is someone else who can at least be across their brief and stand up for Queensland farmers.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk is the weakest Premier in Queensland history.
“It’s time for Furner to go for good.
“Only the LNP understands the value of agriculture, creating jobs and the essential services that are needed to keep food on the table of Queensland families.”
Queensland is missing out on crucial legislation to combat coronavirus and make communities safer through Labor’s refusal to hold Parliament.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said Queensland Parliament was meant to sit today but Labor had handed the Speaker of Parliament – appointed by Labor – the sole power to close down Parliament.
“Parliament should have been sitting today with appropriate precautions so we can fix Labor’s soft youth crime laws,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Crime doesn’t stop because of coronavirus and neither should the Parliament.
“Crucial laws to prevent tenants from being evicted for the next six months should also have been on the table in Parliament this week.
“Queenslanders must be able to keep a roof over their heads during this health crisis.
“Retirement village operators have also been loud and clear on the need for changes to legislation to be able to respond to the coronavirus and enforce social distancing to protect the health and wellbeing of their residents.
“These measures could be in place today but the Palaszczuk Labor Government is missing in action.”
Ms Frecklington said sending Queenslanders to the polls on Saturday but calling off Parliament today was a double standard and anti-democratic.
“The Premier needs to open Parliament and let us fix Labor’s youth crime crisis, protect tenants from being evicted and improve the health and safety of the elderly,” Ms Frecklington said
“The LNP is ready to do whatever it takes to ensure the government can continue to sit with appropriate precautions to pass the laws Queensland needs right now.”
The Palaszczuk Labor Government has used the cover of coronavirus to release a damning report showing shocking escalations of crime across almost every category.
LNP Shadow Minister for Police Trevor Watts said the 2018-19 Crime Report, Queensland showed increases in homicides, assaults, robbery, drug offences, unlawful entry, breaches of domestic violence orders and unlawful use of a motor vehicle*.
“These damning statistics don’t lie – Labor has lost control of law and order in Queensland and it started the day Annastacia Palaszczuk became Premier,” Mr Watts said.
“Increasing crime means our communities are becoming less safe to live in and raise a family under Labor.
“Labor is soft on crime and more people are becoming victims of robbery, assault and sexual violence.
“Communities across Queensland are living in fear because criminal activity is seeping into everyday life under Labor.
“The report is a shocking indictment of the Palaszczuk Government and their failure to maintain community safety.”
Mr Watts said the statistics showed robbery, other offences against the person, offences against property, and unlawful use of a motor vehicle fell under the previous LNP Governemnt before increasing since 2014-15.
“Labor can’t fix the crime problem because Labor is the problem,” Mr Watts said.
“Labor have watered down laws and stretched Queensland’s thin blue line to breaking point.
“Our police do incredible work but they are being let down by a Labor Government that is failing to back them up with the laws and resources they need to do their job and keep the community safe.
“The LNP will shut the revolving door of justice by giving our police tough new laws and resources they need to protect Queenslanders and their property.
“The Queensland Parliament should have been sitting this week and fixing Labor’s catch and release youth bail laws, but tackling youth crime clearly isn’t a priority for Labor.
“It’s clear the only way to fix Labor’s crime crisis is to change the government.”
Flaws in the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s COVID-19 package for business must be urgently fixed to allow recently-founded firms to apply for interest-free loans.
Shadow Small Business Minister Fiona Simpson said many firms had been shocked to discover that they can only access the loans if they were founded before July 2017.
“These loans are meant to help businesses facing bankruptcy, but many employers are now discovering the loans are a cruel hoax,” Ms Simpson said.
“One business with 13 employees has been told they don’t qualify because they were established after July 2017.
“The rule is wrong and denies these small businesses the help they say they need.
“Businesses and their employees should not be denied help because of Jackie Trad’s ridiculous rule.
“Jackie Trad’s economic response package was late in being released and is light-on in real help to many businesses.
“The Treasurer could easily fix this blatantly unfair rule but it seems she doesn’t value anyone who started a business after July 2017 or anyone who works for one.”
Ms Simpson said the date should be changed to offer the loans to any Queensland businesses founded before January 31 this year.
“It’s heartbreaking when people who think they have help find out they’re denied on a flawed rule,” Ms Simpson said.
Queenslanders are being ripped off at the bowser by petrol companies and it must end immediately, LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said today.
Ms Frecklington said Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims had reported the price of petrol must fall to below $1.20 a litre as world oil prices fall.
“Petrol giants gouging the public during this health emergency is corporate greed at its worst,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Many Queensland petrol stations are charging more than $1.30 per litre and ripping people off.
“If petrol companies had a shred of decency, they would drop their prices to the level they ought to be.
“Cost of living is a huge issue for Queenslanders right now with and every dollar counts when families are just trying to put food on their table.
“I call on the petrol companies to immediately slash their prices and stop the petrol rip-off.
“If the petrol companies don’t budge and their found to be gouging consumers, then the ACCC should come down on them like a tonne of bricks.”
The March 31 deadline for 8000 Rural Fire Brigade volunteers to apply for a Blue Card or face the sack under the Labor Government’s new rules has arrived.
LNP Shadow Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Lachlan Millar said he was concerned fire brigades across the state could have their numbers depleted and capacity to defend their local communities drastically reduced from tomorrow.
“A mass exodus of thousands of Rural Fire Brigade volunteers over paperwork mustn’t be allowed to happen,” Mr Millar said.
“Community safety must always come first, especially when it comes to children, but the Blue Card requirement process by Labor has been bungled from day one.
“Queensland can’t afford to have thousands of rural firies walk away from the job.”
Mr Millar said that Labor Minister Craig Crawford needed to work with rural firies to ensure they could continue to provide their incredible volunteer service to their communities.
“The LNP don’t want to see yet another extension to the deadline, but this time a workable solution to the crisis facing our rural fire brigades,” he said.
“Labor needs to urgently put in place a better process to ensure the Blue Card requirement is appropriately rolled out.
“It’s time for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister Craig Crawford to fix this mess before it’s too late.”
“The LNP will never unfairly sack our valuable and hardworking rural firefighters.”
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington today said Annastacia Palaszczuk’s request for the Speaker to cancel Queensland parliament is inconsistent with the health advice and a devastating blow to democracy.
“Throughout this crisis, the LNP has tried to be constructive but Labor’s decision to cancel Parliament must be called out,” Ms Frecklington said.
“If it is good enough for Labor to expect people to vote this weekend and send their kids to attend school, it should be good enough for Parliament to sit and lead by example.
“There is no consistency by the Premier and people are getting frustrated.
“Shutting down the Parliament means crucial laws to manage Covid-19, measures to protect jobs and changes to the Youth Justice Act to crackdown on youth crime are still not in place.
Leader of Opposition Business Jarrod Bleijie said the LNP wasn’t consulted and the move by Labor was an afront to democracy.
“The LNP was happy to sit down with the government to make the Parliament workable. Other workplaces are making arrangements to keep working, so should Queensland’s Parliament. If that means significantly reducing numbers, we were happy to do that,” Mr Bleijie said.
“The LNP firmly believes the Queensland Parliament should continue to sit with the appropriate precautions in order to pass legislation required to deal with the coronavirus health emergency and other important business of state.
“We need cool heads in this crisis but the Labor Government’s dysfunction is now on full display and the people of Queensland deserve better.
“Parliament is a fundamental instrument to our democracy and Labor cancelling it sends the wrong message to the community.
“The emergency services aren’t shutting down, but the Palaszczuk Labor Government is.”
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington today called on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to deliver much-needed economic stimulus as the coronavirus health crisis fast becomes a jobs crisis.
Ms Frecklington said thousands of people were losing their jobs today across Queensland while the Labor Government failed to deliver meaningful action on a significant economic stimulus package.
“Queensland had the worst unemployment rate in the nation before the coronavirus outbreak and thousands of jobs are now on the line,” Ms Frecklington said.
“This isn’t just a health crisis, it is a jobs crisis as well and Labor isn’t acting.
“The LNP has been calling for the freezing of car rego, water and electricity prices, fast-tracked funding for road upgrades and immediate payroll tax relief for around 15,000 businesses.
“Every day that passes without more economic stimulus from Jackie Trad and Annastacia Palaszczuk threatens to destroy jobs and businesses.
“From tradies to small business owners and farmers, Queenslanders are in desperate need of an economic booster shot.
“An immediate economic stimulus package must be delivered by Labor to save jobs, improve job security and help businesses keep their doors open.”
As a proportion of this financial year’s general government revenue, Labor is spending just 0.05% on Queensland’s coronavirus stimulus package. The measures announced by Annastacia Palaszczuk amounts to 1 per cent of the $2.3 billion assistant package provided by the New South Wales Government.
At $420 million, the Tasmanian government have committed more than 6.3% of their general government revenue to fighting the virus’ fallout while the South Australian government has committed $350 million - more than 1.6% of their general government revenue.
“Our state is more exposed to the impact of coronavirus than any other because Jackie Trad and Annastacia Palaszczuk can’t manage the economy,” Ms Frecklington said.
“While every other state has powered ahead with significant assistance packages, Queensland is missing out on much-needed stimulus under Labor.
“What the Palaszczuk Labor Government has delivered is five years of higher taxes, more debt and less jobs.
“Now more than ever, Queensland needs an LNP Government to build a stronger economy and secure jobs.”
Using the cover of the coronavirus crisis to close State Parliament for up to six months would be the biggest abuse of political power in Queensland’s history, the LNP said tonight.
Labor tonight voted to hand the Speaker of Parliament ¬– appointed by Labor – the sole power to close down Parliament and prevent democratic scrutiny of the Palaszczuk Government.
No other state or territory government has adopted such a measure and nor has the Federal Government.
The move could prevent regular questioning of the Palaszczuk Labor Government and allow Treasurer Jackie Trad to avoid presenting a Budget before the October 31 state election.
“Labor is paving the way for the suspension of democratic government in Queensland,” Ms Frecklington said.
“No one disputes the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis, but Labor’s plan is an extreme and anti-democratic over-reaction.
“In a crisis like this, it is more important than ever that governments remain transparent and accountable.
“Both sides of politics should co-operate to ensure that a slimmed-down Parliament continues to sit ¬¬– as happened this week.
“Instead, Labor is using this crisis to shutdown Parliament for its own advantage.
“This is a desperate act from a Premier who is desperate to avoid scrutiny.
“This isn’t calm leadership, this is unbridled panic.
“Closing Parliament would help Labor close down discussion of its dire record - including the nation’s worst unemployment, soaring crime, falling education results and longer waiting times for patients – until just weeks before the next election.
“The Parliament must continue to work to ensure the economic response is suitable to keep Queenslanders in work.
“Schools and workplaces are open. Parliament must stay open too,” Ms Frecklington said.