Calls to the Palaszczuk Labor Government to bust congestion in South East Queensland continue to fall on deaf ears.
It follows the release of new data by RACQ, which found motorists are spending around three weeks per year stuck in peak hour traffic.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said the findings are shocking but sadly, not surprising.
“I’ve been very clear about my congestion busting plan to get South East Queensland moving again,” Ms Frecklington said.
“If elected next year, the LNP will build a second M1.
“This is a significant infrastructure project that will have a positive ripple effect for the whole state.
“For too long the Labor Palaszczuk Government has neglected major infrastructure projects.
“The Premier’s priorities are all wrong.
“Road users have had enough of the M1 resembling a carpark seven days a week.
“It’s a nightmare at the best of times, but worse during peak hour, weekends and holidays.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to get her foot off the brake, for the sake of the state.
“Only the LNP has a plan to bust-congestion, improve roads and invest in public transport.
“Motorists in areas including Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich and the Gold Coast have had enough and it’s about time Labor stopped looking in the rear-view mirror and outline a plan.
“We can’t afford to have Brisbane’s traffic resemble Sydney and Melbourne but we’re quickly heading in that direction.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk lacks vision and her Government is taking Queensland on a road to nowhere.”
Unemployment figures released by the ABS today have revealed Queensland’s unemployment rate remains alarmingly high at 6.1%.
LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander has warned the Palaszczuk Labor Government has lost control of the state economy and more Queenslanders are jobless as a result.
“Over 161,000 Queenslanders can’t find a job thanks to the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s economic mismanagement,” Mr Mander said.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk keeps promising to get the unemployment rate below 6% but has failed time and time again.
“While Australia’s unemployment rate has plummeted to 5 per cent, Queenslanders looking for work are doing it extremely tough under Labor.
“We should be leading the other states in job creation and job security, but under Annastacia Palaszczuk we are falling behind.”
Mr Mander said the Palaszczuk Labor Government has no economic plan to boost job growth and lower the unemployment rate.
“While NSW is celebrating record low unemployment, Queensland's unemployment is out of control at 2 per cent higher under this Labor Government,” Mr Mander said.
“Queenslanders have been slugged five new taxes, confidence is dwindling and a lack of investment by Annastacia Palaszczuk is having a negative effect for our economy.
“Only an LNP Government will create jobs across Queensland and deliver the vital infrastructure projects the state needs.”
The biggest new tax of the second term of the Palaszczuk Labor Government has been rammed through Parliament with nearly two dozen MPs gagged from speaking.
The devastating waste tax, which remained secret until after the State election, will rip $1.3 billion from the pockets of Queensland families.
LNP Environment Spokesman David Crisafulli said the guillotining of debate prevented scrutiny of what is a tax grab under the veil of environmental reform.
“This waste tax was a con job from the start and now Labor have gagged MPs, who were unable to speak about the hammer blow it will have on their communities and councils,” Mr Crisafulli said.
“Barely 10 per cent of the money raised from this tax will go towards environmental programs for Queenslanders. The rest will go to government, including into Treasury coffers.
“These laws will tax Queenslanders from Cairns to Currumbin just so Labor’s reckless spending spree can continue.”
Mr Crisafulli said the waste tax was on top of four new taxes inflicted on Queenslanders in Labor’s Budget.
“Labor’s new tax will slug Queenslanders $75 per tonne of waste,” Mr Crisafulli said.
“For a waste tax to have any environmental benefit, clearly more funds have to go to environmental initiatives and not to line the State Government’s pockets.
“This is not a waste solution based on good consultation – it’s simply a blatant $1.3 billion tax grab from Labor.
"Regional Queensland families are going to bare the brunt of a tax that was sold to us as being a way of stopping interstate waste going to a handful of facilities in Ipswich."
“An LNP Government led by Deb Frecklington will not introduce any new taxes.”
As devastated communities across Queensland’s north-west continue to clean up from the recent floods, the LNP is calling for extra help from the Labor Palaszczuk Government.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington is pushing for a dedicated disaster recovery coordinator to oversee the unique challenges the region will face, in the short and long term.
Ms Frecklington and Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar toured devastated communities in Cloncurry and Julia Creek today.
“This will be a long road to recovery for so many people in remote communities,” Ms Frecklington said.
“The pain and devastation will take years to repair.
“After losing half a million head of stock, the shattered cattle industry will require specific expertise to bounce back.
“I have no doubt we will continue to see the fantastic work of State Disaster Recovery Coordinator Major-General Stuart Smith AO DSC (ret.)
“But given that Townsville is also going through a major clean-up, I believe the workload should be split, so each region gets their own coordinator.
“Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk must put politics aside and make this a priority for regional Queenslanders who’ve been torn apart.
“I’d like to see Major-General Smith to continue in his role in assisting the affected Queenslanders in North Queensland and for a separate appointment be made for the North West recovery”.
Mr Millar echoed Deb Frecklington’s calls for a dedicated North West Queensland Disaster recovery Coordinator.
“These communities have been devastating and they deserve a dedicated disaster recovery co-ordinate to help them get back on their feet,” Mr Miller said.
Queensland will remain more vulnerable to devastating bushfires after the Palaszczuk Labor Government blocked a crucial Parliamentary Inquiry into last year’s disaster.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said a Parliamentary Inquiry was vital because the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s review would fail to investigate key concerns surrounding what fueled the 2018 bushfire disaster.
“The impact these fires had on our communities, the environment and our farmers was significant,” Ms Frecklington said.
“A Parliamentary Inquiry was an important opportunity to get to the bottom of what contributed to the severity of the bushfires and what could have been done better.
“We believe mismanagement and bureaucracy worsened those fires.
“I share the concerns many Queenslanders hold about land management practices to control fuel loads, how our national parks are managed, and what landholders want to do to protect their property and livestock.
“We called for bipartisan support for a Parliamentary Inquiry to learn lessons from this tragedy, but Annastacia Palaszczuk played politics instead of working toward better bushfire prevention.
“More than a million hectares were destroyed in a fortnight of fires and it was clear a Parliamentary Inquiry was needed to get our bushfire management policies right.”
LNP Shadow Minister for Fire, Emergency Services and Volunteers Lachlan Millar said landholders and communities in regional Queensland deserved to be heard.
“Our firefighters and volunteers did an outstanding job responding to the fires,” Mr Millar said.
“The Parliamentary Inquiry is about getting bushfire prevention and management right to save lives and save communities.
“Ineffective bushfire management in our national parks and a dramatic drop in the number of burns by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services are key concerns*.
“Improving our preparedness and prevention activities will also save native vegetation from being destroyed by bushfires and protect wildlife and livestock.”
*QON on fuel load management: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/questionsAnswers/2018/1460-2018.pdf
Motion moved Gregory LNP MP Lachlan Millar:
1. That the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee inquire into and report to the Legislative Assembly by 6 May 2019 on the effectiveness of the Queensland Government's bushfire prevention and preparedness activities leading to the 2018 Queensland fires.
2. In undertaking this inquiry, the committee should consider:
A. Analysis of fire reduction practices conducted on State owned land and national parks including the maintenance of strategic fire breaks and fire access trails and the reduction of fuel loads;
B. Examination of the appropriateness of funding provided by Government to implement fire reduction practices on State owned land and national parks and provide for overtime for QPWS officers when they are needed to assist with the response to a fire in a national park;
C. The effectiveness of the Government's native vegetation and land management laws and practices in managing fire in the Queensland context;
D. The reduction in the QFES Hazard Reduction Burns in 2017 and 2018 compared to previous years;
E. The effectiveness and timeliness of government issued fire reduction permits needed by landholders to conduct fire preparedness activities;
F. The failure to implement any of the Auditor-General's recommendations from 'Bushfire prevention and preparedness (Report 10:2014-15)';
G. Consideration of the appropriateness of penalties for those deliberately starting fires; and
H. Analysis of communication practices undertaken to provide information to affected communities before, during and after bushfire events.
The Palaszczuk Labor Government is ignoring warnings that its botched rollout of the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) is harming Queensland’s commercial fishers.
The LNP has been overwhelmed with cases and complaints of faulty responders, allegations of dodgy government-certified VMS suppliers, and vessel safety issues as a result of Labor’s rollout.
The Palaszczuk Labor Government used its numbers in Parliament to shut down a disallowance motion on the rollout, which would have seen the regulations halted while concerns were addressed.
LNP Shadow Minister for Fisheries Tony Perrett slammed the Palaszczuk Labor Government and Fisheries Minster Mark Furner for allowing the poor regulation to stay in place.
“There has been a litany of issues plaguing the rollout since day one,” Mr Perrett said.
“Responder devices have been recording incorrect polling times and are subject to software failures, which stopped them from working.
“Allegations of dodgy practices from the government-certified supplier of one of the endorsed responders has marred the rollout and created frustrations among hundreds of commercial fishers.
“It’s crippling small businesses along the coast when you consider that commercial fishers are not permitted to go out and fish to earn a living while their VMS is broken or not operating.
“Family-run commercial fishing businesses are being put to the wall just because this Labor Government cannot undertake its own due diligence and roll out this VMS regulation.
“Commercial fishers are quite rightly questing government due diligence when there was no Regulatory Impact Statement completed.
“It’s clear that we need to put a hold on this regulation and conduct a full review to find out what went wrong and why the VMS rollout has been such a disaster.
“The LNP backs our Queensland commercial fishing industry and will continue to fight on its behalf.”
The Fisheries (Vessel Tracking) Amendment Regulation 2018 passed parliament at the end of 2018 required all crab, line, net fishers, commercial fishing boats and licensed charter operators to have vessel tracking technology installed and operational from 1 January 2019.
Queensland has recorded the largest fall in new home loans of any state, the ABS revealed today*.
The value of approved lending for owner-occupied properties – excluding refinancing – slumped by 9.94 per cent. Nationally, lending fell 5.9 per cent.
LNP Deputy Leader and Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander said the steep fall in December was a concern.
“This large fall in lending is another disturbing sign of Queensland’s slowing economy,” Mr Mander said.
“We have seen approvals for new buildings fall every month for a year and now home-lending is sliding faster than in any other state.
“Report after report has shown business has no confidence in Annastacia Palaszczuk.
“Now it seems home buyers are losing confidence too.
“Labor is smashing home builders and home buyers with new property taxes and a waste tax which will add an extra $2000 to the cost of a new home.
“Labor has no economic plan for Queensland – apart from even more taxes.
“With unemployment at 6.2 per cent, Queensland can’t afford to lose more jobs in the construction sector.”
Vulnerable Queenslanders continue to be the most in need of homelessness services according to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report released today.
The 2017-18 report into specialist homelessness services showed 1 in 120 people in Queensland received homelessness services.
LNP Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Stephen Bennett said the latest report highlighted the damaging impacts of domestic and family violence.
"It's distressing to see 42 per cent of people that needed homelessness services in 2017-18 had experienced domestic and family violence," Mr Bennett said.
"As a father and grandfather, I find it shocking and saddening that for every 2 in 5 young people who accessed homeless services, domestic and family violence was a contributing factor.
"No one should have to choose between living in a violent domestic home or becoming homeless.
"It's clear more needs to be done by the Palaszczuk Labor Government to increase public awareness and protect the growing number of victims.
"On top of the hurt and pain that domestic and family violence inflicts, it has a cost of $22 billion to the national economy and we can't afford to stand still."
LNP Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Dr Christian Rowan said the report revealed more needed to be done to close the gap on indigenous disadvantage.
"Indigenous Queenslanders were receiving 36 per cent of homelessness services compared to 25 per cent nationally," Dr Rowan said.
"22 per cent of clients that received homeless services were indigenous children under 10 years old.
"No one should have to experience homelessness, especially our children.
"More clearly needs to be done to prevent domestic and family violence, and more needs to be done to keep our young people off the street."
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Report can be accessed at this link:
The LNP has today introduced a Bill which would guarantee all convicted child killers spend at least 15 to 25 years behind bars.
In stark contrast with Labor’s weak legislation, the LNP’s Mason Jett Lee laws would deliver the toughest sentences in Australia for those who kill children through violence or neglect.
The LNP Bill was drafted following the death of Caboolture toddler Mason Jett Lee, who died in agony over several days after being savagely beaten by his step-father.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said only mandatory minimum sentences would prevent killers from seeking plea bargains and reduced prison time.
“Labor’s legislation will just tinker at the edges of a system that is tipped too heavily in favour of offenders,” Ms Frecklington said.
“There is no crime more despicable than killing a child. The LNP’s Mason Jett Lee laws would deliver real justice for child victims and their devastated families.”
The Bill moved by Shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki would introduce a new offence of child homicide, with a mandatory 15-year jail penalty.
The Bill would also increase the minimum non-parole period for the murder of a child under 18 from 20 to 25 years.
Mr Janetzki said the proposed child homicide offence would target those who kill through violence, sexual assault or neglect.
Accidental deaths, such as drownings, would not be captured under the offence – despite Labor’s false claims otherwise.
“Labor’s legislation is a tricky legal fix that will fail child victims,” Mr Janetzki said.
“Relying on a ‘reckless indifference’ clause has not worked in New South Wales, where many evil child killers have still received soft sentences.
“Only the LNP will guarantee that child killers receive a minimum of 15 years imprisonment.”
Shadow Minister for Women and patron of child justice campaign group Act for Mason Ros Bates said the LNP’s legislation had been drafted after listening to the grieving families of lost children.
“The system is failing to protect our precious kids and failing to properly punish child killers,” Ms Bates said.
“Kids can’t fight back – that’s why the LNP is determined to protect them.
“Labor won’t deliver the stronger sentences that justice demands – but the LNP will.”
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington today called on insurance companies to do the right thing and honour their policies in the wake of the natural disaster across North Queensland.
Ms Frecklington said up to 20 ‘mum and dad’ small businesses at one shopping centre in Townsville have been told their claims will likely be rejected because of a fine print definition about storm water verses flood water.
“Insurance companies must ditch these tricky tactics and pay out on their policies,” Ms Frecklington said.
“These family businesses paid their premiums and have been devasted by this disaster.
“I am calling on the Premier to work with me and stand up for these businesses.
“It is clear that many of these businesses were affected by stormwater after days and days of heavy rain.
“Townsville can’t afford to lose any more jobs. These businesses need to reopen fast and that means insurance companies paying out.”
LNP Shadow Minister for Disability Services Dr Christian Rowan has raised concerns about a lack of funding for blindness and visual impairment services among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
This month, the Indigenous Diabetes Eyes and Screening (IDEAS) Van has partnered with Queensland Health to provide desperately-needed health services to remote and regional Indigenous communities in Queensland after the Palaszczuk Labor Government slashed funding.
"This important partnership will allow the IDEAS Van to continue providing much-needed optical treatments to the locals of Emerald and Gladstone," Dr Rowan said.
"Despite repeated calls for funding and the proven success of the IDEAS Van, Annastacia Palaszczuk has shown no interest in keeping it afloat.
"Thankfully, the Federal Government stepped up and provided funding to keep the IDEAS Van running for another year."
Dr Rowan said 94 per cent of the vision loss in Indigenous Australians is associated with eye diseases that are preventable and treatable.
"The LNP established the IDEAS Van in 2013 with an initial funding of $5 million to address the health gap between Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous residents," Dr Rowan said.
"The Palaszczuk Labor Government's decision to cut funding to vital initiatives such as the IDEAS Van shows dangerous disregard for Indigenous health.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk is clueless when it comes to addressing the health needs of Queensland's remote and regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
"If elected, an LNP Government would prioritise Indigenous health and continue funding for vital initiatives which help diagnose and treat health problems."