The LNP has urged the Koala Advisory Council to use its first meeting today to call on the Palaszczuk Government to reverse funding cuts to koala rescue, research and rehabilitation services.
Shadow Environment Minister David Crisafulli said the LNP had used Estimates to highlight the State Government’s lack of action on koala preservation, but today’s revelations of funding cuts weren’t just apathy but malice in stopping programs started by the last LNP Government.
“I’m appalled that Labor is still talking about conservation after being frozen in action for four years and all while secretly cutting koala funding,” Mr Crisafulli said.
“All we ever get from the Palaszczuk Government on conservation is reviews, reports and talkfests.
“Many of our koala populations are in serious danger but Labor is failing to protect our native wildlife.”
The last LNP Government set aside $800,000 in grant funding for koala rescue and rehabilitation services but these programs have slowly been phased out, with Labor failing to top up the fund.
This year the Department of Environment and Science only allocated $13,981 under the scheme.
The last LNP Government also allocated $3.2 million towards koala research grants. This year the fund will only allocate $125,905 in grants.
“Labor established the Queensland Koala Expert Panel in July 2016 and it took almost two years for it to recommend urgent policy changes,” Mr Crisafulli said.
“It’s taken another six months for the first meeting of the new Koala Advisory Council.
“Our koala populations are dwindling while this Government is dawdling.
“Labor has never seen an LNP program it didn’t want to cut – koalas are just collateral damage.”
Source: Department of Environment and Science program funding 2018/19 - https://data.qld.gov.au/dataset/des-queensland-government-investment-portal-qgip/resource/d28fa412-29a2-4df5-b881-941e3297597f
Media Statement from Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander:
‘It’s alarming that that our debt is increasing despite record royalties.
‘It’s astonishing that employee expenses have blown out by almost $1billion since the Budget just five months ago.
‘Queensland has the highest unemployment rate in the nation and there’s no good news in this update for people looking for a job.
‘I feel sorry for the 165,000 Queenslanders who will be out of work this Christmas.’
Liberal National Party Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perrett has commended the Federal Government for its decision to uphold its 2017 Sugar Code of Conduct.
“The decision is good news for Queensland cane growers as it provides a safety net against Labor’s impending moves to unwind state protections,” Mr Perrett said.
“The Federal Code alongside the State’s 2015 protections have helped to address the imbalance of power that exists between growers and milling companies.
“Unfortunately, the Palaszczuk Labor Government has refused to guarantee not changing the LNP’s 2015 sugar marketing laws that protect growers.
“LNP’s sugar marketing laws don’t impose any onerous or difficult conduct and Annastacia Palaszczuk is betraying farmers by not showing her support.
“Queensland’s $2.5 billion cane industry is one of the state’s biggest agricultural exports. The code simply gives farmers a fair go and underpins grower confidence.”
Mr Perrett said Labor’s lack of support could not be at a worse time for an industry that is struggling with low commodity prices caused by illegal sugar dumping from India.
“It’s unacceptable that Annastacia Palaszczuk in her role as Trade Minister refuses to take up the issue with the Indian Government,” he said.
“Australia is the third largest sugar exporter in the world. We can only remain strong by maintaining our sugar marketing laws.
“I can assure cane growing families, mill workers and regional communities that the Liberal National Party will always put their interests first”.
The future of more than nine major Queensland Government construction contracts is in doubt following the collapse of the JM Kelly construction group, the LNP revealed today.
Four of the building projects were still underway when the Rockhampton company went into receivership, and a further five completed projects remain inside the defect notification period.
Shadow Minister for Housing and Public Works Michael Hart said communities and workers in Rockhampton, Mackay, Stanthorpe, Bowen and Biloela were crying out for answers.
“People’s jobs and community projects are on the line, but the Palaszczuk Government has gone to ground,” Mr Hart said.
“We have no certainty around what projects will be saved and who will be responsible for fixing defects on JM Kelly buildings if they emerge.
“With Christmas around the corner, workers, subbies and suppliers have no idea if they will ever receive a dollar for their work or services.
“Labor Ministers want to ignore this scandal, but it is hurting ordinary Queenslanders.
“I promise workers and customers that the LNP will keep digging for answers.”
Liquidators have provided a list of the State Government contracts the company was working on, as well as those completed projects which were still under a defect notice period.
Completed projects under defect period
“The questions keep piling up for the Palaszczuk Government,” Mr Hart said.
“We don’t know how much money the Palaszczuk Government has been paying JM Kelly and we don’t know what is going to happen to these nine contracts.
“We don’t know why the Palaszczuk Government kept working with JM Kelly, despite the fact that serious concerns were being raised about the company in 2016 and 2017.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk promised open and transparent government when she became Premier.
“It’s time for Annastacia Palaszczuk and Housing Minister Mick de Brenni to stop dodging questions and tell Queenslanders the full story behind the JM Kelly scandal.”
The LNP is getting behind the Queensland seafood industry with a new labelling policy that will promote local jobs and give consumers greater choice.
Leader Deb Frecklington has today revealed, if elected in 2020, the LNP would change legislation in Queensland so that any business selling seafood for immediate consumption had to identify where the product originated.
Ms Frecklington said the LNP want Queensland consumers to know where their seafood comes from – while businesses can use the new labelling laws to promote local produce.
“Seafood is a popular choice for households across the Sunshine State especially in the lead up to Christmas, so what better time to unveil our plan which will deliver so many benefits to the local industry,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Queensland has some of the best seafood in the world, yet the local industry clearly isn’t a priority for the Palaszczuk Labor government.
“The LNP’s plan will generate interest in the local industry and give consumers the opportunity to put Queensland seafood markets, restaurants and cafes first.
“All we would have to do is make an amendment to the Food Act 2006 – so our policy won’t cost taxpayers a cent.”
A similar plan has proved popular in the Northern Territory, while New South Wales is also investigating changes to food labelling.
Around 70 per cent of seafood consumed by Australians is currently imported.
“Local consumers lack easy access to information that would enable them to make informed decisions about what seafood to purchase,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Our policy will boost Queensland’s seafood and fishing industries, and the flow-on effect will be felt by businesses and consumers.
“We don’t want Queenslanders to miss out.
“This is a win for consumers and a win for Queensland jobs.”
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to give struggling Queenslanders a break by slashing their energy bills.
Ms Frecklington has written to the Prime Minister requesting he provides the compensation needed for Queensland to write-down the value of its electricity grid by $7 billion.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reported earlier this year that years of over-investment in Queensland’s poles and wires had needlessly inflated household bills by $240 in Southeast Queensland and $300 in regional areas.
“If the Prime Minister wants to win Queensland at the next election he should support this bill-busting policy,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk hasn’t lifted a finger to help struggling households, but that doesn’t let Canberra off the hook.
“Scott Morrison isn’t to blame for Queensland’s crippling energy bills – but he can help cut them.
“Queensland consumers are being blatantly ripped off and I’ll do all I can to help them.”
The ACCC report followed a previous study by the Grattan Institute that recommended the Queensland Government write down $7 billion from the distribution and transmission businesses of the publicly-owned Powerlink and Energy Queensland corporations – also known as the regulated asset base (RAB).
Shadow Energy Minister Michael Hart said the Queensland LNP’s economic plan, released in June, has already committed the party to major reforms of the state’s energy sector to cut bills for households and business.
These reforms include splitting the Queensland’s electricity generation business from two into three – creating more competition and driving down prices.
The LNP is also calling for private energy retailers to be allowed to compete in regional Queensland – driving down prices further for consumers.
“If Scott Morrison and Annastacia Palaszczuk adopted our plans Queensland households would see their bills fall by as much as $650 a year,” Mr Hart said.
“Households are struggling and Queensland now has the highest unemployment in Australia.
“This state desperately needs bold ideas for boost the economy and the Queensland LNP has them.”
The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s new taxes and cuts to the First Home Owners’ Grant are crushing the Queensland dream of owning a home, LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander has warned.
“The latest ABS figures released today show Queensland’s housing commitments fell 0.4 per cent in just one month, a far greater fall than the national average,” Mr Mander said.
“Housing commitments have plummeted since Labor cut the First Homeowners’ Grant from $20,000 to $15,000 and ramped up land taxes.
“After Labor’s cut of the First Home Owners’ Grant there has been a monthly average drop in applications from 796 to 660.
“The number of housing commitments has now fallen below 10,000 in Queensland for the first time since May 2016.
“It’s only going to get worse when the construction industry is smashed with Labor’s waste tax, which they have jacked up from $70 to $75 a tonne.
“Under Labor, housing and construction are declining, unemployment is rising, and Queenslanders can’t find a foothold on the property ladder.
“The LNP has a proven track record of success and delivered a 20 per cent increase in housing commitments in government.
“Only the LNP, with its commitment to no new taxes and cutting red tape for business, can ensure the future of the Queensland economy.”
Soft sentences for child killers will continue to be handed out under the Palaszczuk Labor Government, LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has warned.
Ms Frecklington said while the LNP had vowed to introduce Australia's toughest punishments for child killers, Labor’s proposed new laws were soft and fail to address the issue.
“Labor’s proposed new laws don’t go far enough to protect Queensland kids because they fail to introduce minimum mandatory sentences for child killers,” Ms Frecklington said.
“There’s been too many soft sentences for child killers and that’s why the LNP’s Mason Jett Lee Laws would bring in minimum mandatory jail terms.
“The story of little Mason exposed huge issues in both the child safety system and the current laws.
“The LNP’s new laws will honour Mason while protecting other Queensland kids from harm.
“What happened to poor little Mason was an absolute tragedy and as a mum of three girls, it breaks my heart.”
Ms Frecklington said a future LNP Government would introduce a new offence of child manslaughter that will ensure similar crimes are punished with a minimum mandatory 15-year jail penalty.
“The LNP will also increase the minimum non-parole period for the murder of a child under 18 from 20 to 25 years,” she said.
“The LNP’s laws will more than double the current penalties being handed out because there is no worse crime than killing a child.
"Children cannot fight back - which is why it's up to us to protect them.
“I am determined to protect Queensland kids and our laws will punish the monsters that harm them.”
Ms Frecklington said the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s proposed new laws fall well short of what’s required to deliver punishments to child killers that meet community expectations.
“The changes Labor have put forward merely tinker at the edges and they are not tough enough,” Ms Frecklington said.
“We will introduce our laws in Parliament next year and if Labor votes them down, I’ll take it to the people of Queensland as an election issue at the 2020 election.”
The state Liberal National Party is calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry following the devastating bushfires across Queensland.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said communities rocked by bushfires deserved answers and a Parliamentary Inquiry was the appropriate forum.
“Concerns have been raised about land management practices to manage fuel loads, how our national parks are managed and what landholders also want to do to protect their property and livestock,” Ms Frecklington said.
“These bushfires have been devastating, but we need to learn lessons about how we can prevent it from happening again.
“Climate change can’t be used as an excuse to do nothing. If anything, climate change means we should be adapting our response more.
“The LNP’s position is there needs to be an inquiry on this issue, and we will be moving to establish a Parliamentary Inquiry in the new year. We would welcome the Labor Government’s support.”
LNP Shadow Minister for Fire, Emergency Services and Volunteers Lachlan Millar said the multi-party inquiry would involve public hearings and the opportunity to talk to affected landholders and communities in regional Queensland.
“This is an issue that should be above politics because it’s vitally important we get the policy settings right,” Mr Millar said.
“We know the number of burns by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has dropped dramatically*.
“Getting bushfire management right can save lives and save communities.
“It will also save native vegetation from being destroyed by bushfires and protect wildlife and livestock.”
What the Inquiry should look at:
State LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has welcomed confirmation that the Federal Government’s legislation to prohibit misconduct in the energy sector will not allow Queensland’s electricity assets to be sold.
“We welcome efforts to stamp out misconduct and ensure the lowest possible price for consumers,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Queenslanders want lower power prices but they don’t want asset sales.
“We believe our electricity assets should be kept in public hands, so the government can control the prices.
“Unfortunately, the Palaszczuk Government has been using electricity as a secret tax for years. Labor is drunk on the revenue this secret tax generates and, according to its own budget, will rip off more than $8.5 billion from Queensland’s electricity customers over 5 years*.
“Labor’s consolidation of generators in 2011 from 3 entities to 2 has dramatically reduced competition and increased wholesale electricity prices to record high levels in Queensland.
“In the summer of 2016/17, Stanwell gouged Queenslanders as they sweltered through summer driving wholesale electricity prices to record high levels at more than $100 a megawatt hour.
“Instead of lowering prices, the Palaszczuk Labor Government is solely focused on profit maximization and has allowed government owned generators to abuse their market power and price gouge.
“The State LNP will split the government owned generators from 2 to 3, increasing competition and lowering prices.
“Labor’s own Queensland Productivity Commission found this would decrease wholesale electricity prices by over 8%.
“Bill Shorten’s reckless 45% emission reduction target will, according to Queensland Labor’s own expert panel on renewable energy, will cause the early closures of Queensland coal fired power stations.
“These coal fired power stations provide some of the cheapest electricity in Australia and employee hundreds of workers in regional Queensland.
“If Labor is serious about lowering electricity prices and protecting jobs, they should scrap this reckless 45% emission reduction target.
“Queensland has the highest unemployment rate at the nation, we can’t afford to lose any more jobs because of bad Labor policies”.
Queenslanders are ‘downing tool’s and walking off the job at a rapid rate, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today.
Since Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was elected in 2015, Queensland has the highest number of working days lost to industrial disputes.
A staggering 145,000 working days have been wasted because of strike action.
Shadow Industrial Minister Jarrod Bleijie said The ABS report found Queensland was the second worst state in the September quarter, but are leading the way since Labor took office.
“It’s no wonder business confidence has flatlined and we have the highest unemployment rate in the nation.
“Since 2015, Queensland has accounted for more than a third of the national working days lost to strike action, an increase of almost 10 per cent under Labor.
“This is a record we don’t want, and it continues to put the jobs of Queenslanders at risk.
“You wouldn’t expect anything else considering the Palaszczuk Labor Government is owned lock, stock and barrel by the trade union bosses.
“At the same time, it’s costing jobs, harming economic productivity and putting future business investment at risk.”
TAFE Queensland has splurged more than $100,000 on 'brand research' while Queensland training rates continue to plummet*.
New data released yesterday by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research also revealed training cancellations were up, completions were down and fewer Queenslanders were in training compared to last year**.
LNP Shadow Minister for Skills and Training Fiona Simpson said it was a disgrace that the Palaszczuk Labor Government directed TAFE to spend Queensland taxpayer money on 'brand research' while Queensland training rates dive.
"Queensland has the highest unemployment rate in the nation and instead of focusing on training Queenslanders for employment, Labor is spending big on brand research," Ms Simpson said.
“This is on top of directing TAFE to splurge millions on Commonwealth Games tickets, hospitality expenses, international travel and golden handshakes.
"Apprenticeship and training completion rates have dropped by nearly 40 per cent across four years under Palaszczuk and Labor.
"The Labor Government should be investing in Queensland students, not focus groups for TAFE marketing.
"Desperate intervention is needed to get TAFE Queensland back to basics and stop the training crisis.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk also recently refused $245 million in desperately-needed vocational training funding from the Federal Government under a new national partnership.
“That $245 million of vocational training funds could have been used to help young Queenslanders make a start in their careers.”
*Source: Question on Notice 1521 - $102,300 spent on brand research (including GST)
New figures released by the ABS today show Queensland had the worst-performing economy of any state in the last quarter.
The state’s seasonally adjusted final demand fell by 0.4 per cent in the September quarter, due in large part to a decline in engineering and construction work.
LNP Deputy Leader and Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander said Queensland now had worst-performing economy and highest unemployment of any state in the nation.
“After four years of Labor, Queensland’s economy is going backwards,” Mr Mander said.
“Nationally the economy continues to grow, so the problems we face are down to Annastacia Palaszczuk’s economically incompetent government.
“All Annastacia Palaszczuk has delivered is tax, unemployment, debt and a shrinking economy.
“Queensland used to be Australia’s economic powerhouse, but we’re fast becoming a basketcase.”
Mr Mander said with a massive fall of $422 million in private non-dwelling construction and a fall of $644 million in business investment, it was no wonder Queensland’s economy had collapsed.
“This just goes to show you can’t tax your way to growth,” Mr Mander said.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government has also refused to rule out any new taxes on top of their five new taxes that are already weighing the Queensland economy down.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government is costing Queenslanders their jobs.
“Only the LNP with its commitment to no new taxes and to cutting red tape can ensure that Queensland’s economic future is secure.”
Labor’s embattled Mark Bailey has proven once and for all why is unfit to be a Minister of the Crown after a tricky and sneaky answer to a question from the LNP about children being left behind by school buses in Queensland last year.
Fifteen years after the murder of Daniel Morcombe, new figures obtained by the LNP have revealed that there were around 890 ‘substantiated reported incidents’ of children being left behind on bus services in 2017-18.
The shocking figures were released in answer to an LNP question-on-notice – but Minister Bailey’s sly answer stated that the reports of children left behind reflected just 0.0019 per cent of 47 million trips taken by children in 2017-18.
“Mark Bailey’s answer was tricky and deceitful. This Minister has form and has to go,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Like every other parent in Queensland, I am angered and appalled that figures show vulnerable kids are being left behind at an alarming rate.
“In 2014-15 there were 351 reported complaints, but under Annastacia Palaszczuk the number of ‘substantiated reported incidents’ is now around 890.
“Mark Bailey is ultimately responsible for this scandal and should resign. However, I am certain that he lacks the integrity to do so.
“That’s why I’m calling on Annastacia Palaszczuk to sack Minister Bailey and take immediate action to protect our kids.
“Nothing is more important than our kids and this government is failing them time and again.”
The Queensland Government instituted the ‘no child left behind’ policy for public transport in 2003 after Daniel Morcombe was abducted and murdered after he was left stranded by the side of road by a Sunshine Coast bus.
“Minister Bailey couldn’t even give a straight answer to this vitally important question,” Ms Frecklington said.
“He says this issue is taken ‘very seriously’. His words are hollow and he needs to go.”
The Palaszczuk Labor Government has been caught out ignoring ongoing warnings for months that its digital hospital rollout – the Integrated Electronic Medical Record (IEMR) - system has been completely mismanaged.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has called on Labor’s embattled Health Minister to explain his actions given today’s scathing Auditor-General report.
“Once again Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Health Minister has been caught out on a cover-up and playing politics with patient care,” Ms Frecklington said.
“We called for the rollout to be halted until the technical issues can be resolved and for Dr Ashby to be stood down while under CCC investigation.
“Neither of those things happened and despite these issues, the program was actually fast-tracked.
“This is despite doctors losing confidence, regular system outages and the head of e-Health Queensland being subject to an ongoing CCC investigation for months.”
Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates said the LNP raised concerns about this program in 2017 and on several occasions in the last few months in the media and the Parliament.
“Both the Premier and the Minister knew about these issues and failed to take any action,” Ms Bates said.
“In fact, when asked about the program in September, Health Minister Steven Miles labelled it an ‘incredible success.’
“This is a Minister who clearly has no idea and shouldn’t be in charge of our public health system, he is a proven liar and his priorities are all wrong.
“He would rather waste taxpayers money changing the names of hospitals than improve the care of our sickest kids.
“Today’s damning report is yet another reason why Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to show some leadership and sack this incompetent Minister.
“Speaking as a nurse, this has all the hallmarks of another health payroll debacle, except this time patient care is at risk.”
The LNP is calling on Annastacia Palaszczuk to release her secret NAPLAN review well ahead of a national meeting of Education Ministers this week.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the report was due to be handed to the government in October but over a month later it still hadn’t been released.
“This is once again another sign of the secrecy and cover-ups in the Palaszczuk Labor Government,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Education Minister Grace Grace needs to stop doing the bidding of the union bosses and start focusing on supporting our teachers and improving student results.
“Labor need to start consulting with Queenslanders by having a proper conversation about the future of NAPLAN testing.
“The LNP has a plan to boost education standards and giving our kids the best chance of getting a job and getting ahead in life.
“That includes air-conditioning every public school classroom, supporting teachers through a simplified curriculum and giving local principals, parents and teachers more say on how to run their school.
“We want Queensland kids to be the smartest in the nation.
“We need to test that against other states to measure and improve student performance.”
LNP Shadow Education Minister Jarrod Bleijie said that Education Minister Grace Grace needed to come clean with Queenslanders.
“We have seen this before, with the secret review into Independent Public Schools,” Mr Bleijie said.
“NAPLAN was a reform that was introduced by a Federal Labor Government in 2008, but we know the Queensland Teachers Union want it scrapped.
“Rather than blaming the test, we should be focusing on getting better results.
“Queensland parents deserve to know how their kids are performing.
“We understand that there will be a review of NAPLAN, but that should not be an excuse to scrap it altogether.
“Labor should be looking at what we can do to improve NAPLAN and make it even better,” Mr Bleijie said.
Media release from Labor in September - http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2018/9/4/next-phase-of-queenslands-naplan-evaluation-underway
Queensland’s construction industry has suffered yet another hammer blow, with new figures showing the Labor Palaszczuk government is failing the industry.
The total number of dwelling units approved in Queensland fell by 2.88% to 3106.
It’s the eighth consecutive month that trend building approvals have decreased.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics also revealed Queensland’s monthly fall outstripped the national average of 1.1%, while the total value of building jobs across the state decreased by 2.49%.
LNP Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander has hit out at the Labor Palaszczuk government for their economic mismanagement.
“Yet another independent report has confirmed the Queensland economy continues to suffer under Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.” Mr. Mander said
“The fall in building approvals in October alone cost Queensland’s economy almost $41 million and there has been a huge drop of almost 16.5 per cent in building approvals since February this year.
“If you don’t have building approvals, you don’t have construction. If you don’t have construction, you don’t have jobs – it’s that simple.
“Labor has cut the first homeowners’ grant, slugged Queenslanders with five new taxes and hasn’t improved the state of the construction industry.
“Only the LNP can deliver a strong economy by committing no new taxes, cutting red tape for businesses and increase the number of new dwelling approvals in Queensland.”