A Tim Nicholls-led LNP Government will establish a dedicated $10 million Emergency Volunteers Fund to support the Queenslanders that support us in times of emergency.
Mr Nicholls said our hardworking volunteer organisations received some government assistance, but relied heavily on community support and generosity to provide vital emergency services for our state.
“The LNP values the critical role volunteers play in helping Queenslanders cope with emergencies,” Mr Nicholls said.
“These dedicated grants will help provide greater funding certainty to our hardworking emergency service organisations.
“When a cyclone’s ripped the roof off your house, fire’s threatening your backyard or you’re caught in a rip at the beach – Queensland’s hard-working volunteers are just a yell or a phone call away in life-threatening emergencies.
“Organisations like the State Emergency Service, Volunteer Marine Rescue, Rural Fire Service Queensland, Surf Life Saving Queensland, Australian Volunteer Coast Guard and St John Ambulance Queensland rely on donations and local fundraising to purchase new equipment and upgrade local facilities.
“Thousands of emergency service volunteers give up time with family and friends to help Queenslanders and the least we can do is ensure their lives and ours are protected by investing in the best possible equipment.”
LNP Shadow Emergency Services Minister Tim Mander said an LNP Government would establish a dedicated $10 million Emergency Volunteers Fund, where organisations could apply for and receive assistance to improve local community resilience and maintain or increase capacity.
“Each year Queensland experiences extreme weather events and it’s important we provide our volunteer organisations with the equipment and facilities they need to deliver emergency services,” Mr Mander said.
“These funding grants for vital equipment and supplies would provide a more secure financial footing for volunteer organisations.
“Only the LNP has a plan to provide safe and liveable communities and ensure our hard-working emergency volunteers have the funds they need to keep Queenslanders safe.”
The LNP fund will be rolled out over three years and consists of two key elements:
Equipment Upgrade and Replacement ($6.8 million over three years)
Build Capacity and Improve Resilience ($3.2 million over three years)
A Tim Nicholls-led Liberal National Government will provide improved services, more opportunities and stronger representation for our retired servicemen and servicewomen as part of our plan to build a better Queensland.
In a Queensland first, Mr Nicholls today launched the comprehensive plan to assist ex-ADF personnel transitioning back into civilian life.
“Queensland is home to around 50,000 veterans (more than any other state) and I believe they deserve a state-based policy that provides better services and more opportunities for them,” Mr Nicholls said.
“If an LNP Government is elected at the next state election, Queensland will lead Australia in the recognition of and assistance we provide former ADF Members.”
Mr Nicholls said the LNP’s comprehensive plan would build better services and better communities by helping veterans in five key ways.
“We will appoint a Minister for Veterans responsible for leading strategies aimed at ensuring that State Government services are better targeted to this group. This could include initiatives such as delivering a veterans’ homelessness strategy,” he said.
“We will commit to a public service veterans target to increase the number of ex-ADF personnel working in the public service and provide proper recognition of their military training and how that fits into roles within the Queensland Government.
“This will see more veterans working in the Queensland public service, with their extensive skills, training and experience ensuring we deliver better government.
“We will appoint a senior representative in the public service as the Veterans’ Champion to mentor and establish a network of veterans in the public service. We will also make sure Queensland Government job websites are updated to provide more information to ex-ADF personnel about the jobs that best link to their skill set.
“We will create a $2 million Veterans Transition Grants Program, for ex-service and defence welfare organisations to access and fund programs that help veterans to transition back into civilian life and another career after leaving the Defence Force.
“We will also make the Queensland Veterans’ Advisory Council a permanent fixture of a future LNP Government.”
Mr Nicholls was joined by veterans at today’s launch as well as four LNP candidates for the upcoming state election who have all served in the ADF.
LNP Candidate for Southern Downs James Lister, who was in the RAAF for 17 years, said veterans had a unique skill-set to make them ideal employees.
“Veterans work well in a team, have a sense of duty, they’re organised and disciplined, adaptable, problem solvers and have a strong work ethic and that is why it is great the LNP has developed this policy to help veterans transition from military to civilian life,” he said.
“There is no question the transition from military to civilian life can be challenging especially when it comes to employment.”
LNP Candidate for Ferny Grove Nick Elston served in the Australian Army for 10 years and is proud of helping Queenslanders recover from Cyclones Larry and Yasi and the 2011 floods.
“A state-based policy is important as Queensland is home to 27 per cent of serving Australian Defence Force personnel,” Mr Elston said.
“Queensland also has some of Australia’s largest military bases, including the nation’s largest army base in Townsville, the ADF’s largest base, Amberley’s Royal Australian Air Force Base and two of Australia’s three army Beersheba Brigades (3rd in Townsville and 7th at Enoggera).”
LNP Candidate for Cooper Rob Shearman served for 23 years including operations in the Middle East.
“I’m still in the Army Reserves and work for a large family-owned manufacturing business. Some of our soldiers need extra assistance when they return from duty and it’s something I’m passionate about,” Mr Shearman said.
LNP Candidate for Buderim Brent Mickelberg was a former Army Captain who served in Afghanistan and helped in Grantham after the devastating floods of 2011.
“I still volunteer with the RSL and Legacy and ex-serving men and women deserve a policy that reflects the important sacrifice and contribution they have made to our state,” he said.
The Palaszczuk Labor Government was peddling false hope for smaller builders with its media blitz on a government housing and schools building bonanza.
LNP Housing and Public Works Shadow Minister Stephen Bennett said a sea of media releases from Labor’s Mick de Brenni would have people believe there’d be work for all when the truth was something very different.
“The housing and school building projects he’s been spruiking can only be undertaken by large, pre-qualified (PQC) building companies,” Mr Bennett said.
“The reality is very few companies will be able to tender for these projects under Labor.
“Even before they can register, builders need to gain pre-qualified contractor status, which can take up to twelve months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Mr Bennett said there’d be no bonanza for smaller building contractors under Labor.
“Labor likes to keep it all with the bigger companies where most of the sites are ruled by union thugs from the CFMEU,” he said.
“Only the LNP has a plan to spread government construction work more fairly to ensure smaller, regional builders get a go without the need for costly government compliance and red tape.
“Under the LNP local builders will be given the genuine opportunity to compete for government building work.
“Only the LNP will build the schools, the roads and bridges to create jobs across Queensland.”
The latest AgTrends report highlighted strong growth in the value of state primary production, in stark contrast to Labor’s cuts to Departmental and regional infrastructure investment in the Budget.
LNP Shadow Minister Dale Last said the strong increase in the value of primary production to nearly $20 billion for 2016-17 was to be applauded.
“Agriculture’s bringing home the bacon for Queensland, but that hasn’t Labor from shafting rural and regional Queensland in its Budget,” Mr Last said.
“Primary industries right across Queensland are more than pulling their weight in generating economic benefit and jobs for tens of thousands of Queenslanders.
“Labor and Ag Minister Bill Byrne are quick to take credit for all of this, but they’re not so quick to highlight the cuts to the Agriculture budget and infrastructure spending in the regions.”
Mr Last said for all Labor’s build-up and hype about a “jobs bonanza”, last week’s Budget was a slap in the face for regional Queensland.
“The Budget underlines Labor’s failure to understand and deliver what Queenslanders outside the south east corner really need,” he said.
“Nowhere was there any relief for spiralling electricity and water charges - in fact electricity prices have spiked again, this time by over 5 per cent.
“Nowhere is there any relief from the nation’s highest vehicle rego charges, and nowhere is there any vision or new initiatives to help sustain and grow our vital agricultural industries.”
Mr Last said Western Queensland continued to suffer disastrously high rates of youth unemployment, and with no money in the budget for the LNP’s successful Royalties for the Regions program, these stubbornly high rates of joblessness would continue.
“While Bill Byrne likes to bask in the success of farm productivity, there was no genuine support for the sector in last week’s budget,” he said.
“In fact, funding for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has been cut from $438.954 million in 2016-17 to $424.742m in 2017-18 (down $14.212m); while funding for the department’s agricultural services has been slashed by 9 per cent, from $216.252m in 2016-17 to $197.63m.
“This demonstrates Labor and Minister Bill Byrne have no interest in cotton, grains, sugar cane, horticulture, beef, dairy research and development and services.”
Mr Last said when it came to regional infrastructure spending the story was equally grim.
“Regional Queensland simply isn’t getting the funding it deserves to build the roads, bridges and dams that are needed,” Mr Last said.
“A Tim Nicholls-led LNP government would re-introduce a ramped up $500 million Royalties for the Regions Fund, would create jobs across Queensland and better manage the state’s finances.
“We’ll deliver better government, not more government.”
Labor has been caught out over-estimating demand for rail services to prop up Cross River Rail.
Labor’s secret business case assumes six per cent year-on-year growth in passengers but the reality is, there have been 9.8 million fewer passengers on our trains over the last eight years.
In 2008, Queensland trains carried an estimated 60 million people; by 2015 this number had dropped to 51.1 million.
Labor’s claimed six per cent year-on-year growth can’t be believed.
Like all of Labor’s numbers about Cross River Rail, they just don’t add up.
The true cost of Cross River Rail is $14.5 billion, not the $5.4 billion claimed by Labor.
Labor’s cost estimate doesn’t include trains, works to integrate Cross River Rail with the existing network or running costs.
It would be like building a hospital but not having any money for beds and nurses.
Independent economists have called out the Cross River Rail business case as weak.
Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to release the secret business case in full, given every Queenslander will be paying the $14.5 billion price tag for this project.
Labor knows its numbers are dodgy. The capacity constraint on the Merivale Bridge won’t occur until 2026 at the earliest, so we have the time to get this right.
Labor has a record of wasting Queenslanders’ money on projects that aren’t needed, including the cancelled Traveston Dam ($500 million), the $380 million Wyaralong Dam that isn’t even connected to the water grid and the $2.6 billion Western Corridor Recycled Water Corridor.
A Nicholls-led Liberal National Party will introduce new laws to Parliament which will stop dodgy tow truck companies from ripping off motorists.
LNP Leader Tim Nicholls said the Private Member’s Bill would seek to stop motorists from being exploited by tow truck drivers when towed from private property, like car parks.
“There are currently no laws to stop motorists from being charged exorbitant towing rates when towed from private car parks,” Mr Nicholls said.
“Our new laws will introduce a cap on fees that can be charged, restrict how far away your car can be towed without your consent and ensure signage is clear and visible to motorists.
“If elected, the LNP will put a 20km distance cap on towing and cap towing charges at $337.15, ensuring there is no discrepancy between being towed from private or public property.
“But if our laws are passed, there will be nothing stopping the Palaszczuk Government from getting on and adopting our policy sooner.
“Our laws will also allow complaints against a person or company to be considered when granting a tow truck licence to weed out dodgy characters and make sure there is a proper and transparent complaints management process.
“Anyone who breaches our new framework will be hit with a $4,876 fine – this will be a big economic disincentive for dodgy practices and the use of immoral tactics like spotters.”
Mr Nicholls said a future LNP Government would seek to re-introduce measures to prevent criminal gang members from being granted a tow truck licence.
“Our strong criminal gang laws specifically targeted the tow truck industry to prevent criminal gang members from working in the industry,” Mr Nicholls said.
“The Government wound back these laws, with no real alternative – if we win government we will bring them back.”
Mr Nicholls said the former LNP Government acted to weed out rogue operators in the tow truck industry.
“The do-nothing Labor Government has had three years to act on this and all we have seen from them is inaction,” Mr Nicholls said.
“The problems are clear – we need to stamp out the rogues and the intimidation in the industry and these laws are the first step in this process.
“No Queenslander should be ripped off by a dodgy tow truck operator and this is why the LNP has listened to concerned motorists, planned and acted.”
Tow Truck (Towing from Private Property) Amendment Bill 2017
LNP Private Members’ Bill
What this bill does:
A breach of the LNP’s new laws will see tow truck operators hit with a $4,876 fine (40 penalty units)
Today’s independent ABS labour force data shows Queensland continues to have the second-worst unemployment rate in the country.
Shadow Treasurer Scott Emerson said the statistics showed Labor’s jobs “bonanza” budget was nothing more than a budget con.
“Sadly we’re still fighting South Australia for last place when it comes to unemployment,” Mr Emerson said.
“Queensland’s unemployment rate is 0.6 percentage points above the national average and 1.5 per cent higher than New South Wales.
“Labor’s own budget papers show unemployment in Queensland won’t drop below six per cent for the next four years.
“Over the next three years 80,000 fewer jobs will be created in Queensland because employment growth forecasts have fallen so substantially.”
Mr Emerson said he was particularly concerned by the continued transition to part time employment, the rise in underemployment and the loss of youth jobs.
“Seasonally adjusted full-time employment fell by 11,200 jobs last month,” he said.
“The number of underemployed Queenslander’s also grew by almost 10,000. That’s 10,000 people who would like to have more work, but can’t get it.
“We saw another 5,000 youth jobs disappear from Queensland in May – another sad indictment on the Palaszczuk Labor Government.
“Labor’s so-called jobs budget is a con and will do nothing to drive down unemployment in Queensland.
“Queenslanders, particularly Queensland jobseekers, can’t afford another three years of this do-nothing government.
“Only the LNP can build a better Queensland.”
Funding allocations for two key programs within the Department of Natural Resources and Mines have been slashed in the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s third budget.
Shadow Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said investment in the programs for natural resource management (NRM) and resources exploration had been dramatically cut, exposing Anthony Lynham as a hypocrite.
“This is a bitterly disappointing result for two programs that are the backbone of Queensland’s natural resource management and resources exploration effort,” Mr Cripps said.
“In Labor’s own words the NRM program, ‘implements on-ground activities that protect, improve and restore waterways and rangelands by addressing weeds and pests. They also improve soil, vegetation and water quality at a river catchment or other landscape level’ – and yet they’ve seen fit to slash their funding.*
“Labor’s cuts are all the more extraordinary given the hollow rhetoric we hear from the Palaszczuk Government about how concerned it is about protecting Queensland’s environment.
“In the 2013-14 State Budget, the former LNP Government invested a record $80 million over five years into the Queensland Natural Resource Management Program.
“Labor has cut that funding to just $42.3 million over four years.
“This means natural resource management funding has been effectively slashed by one-third, threatening the long-term future of Queensland’s well-respected NRM groups - an appalling outcome.”
Mr Cripps said the other short-sighted cut to the Natural Resources and Mines portfolio was the lack of funding allocated to the Strategic Resources Exploration Program – a program designed to provide vital geological data to encourage new discoveries of gas and minerals in North West Queensland.
“Labor has announced $20 million over four years, after trading on the former LNP Government’s 2013-14 Future Resources Program investment for two years, without any additional funding,” he said.
“The Palaszczuk Government has effectively bludged off the $30 million allocated by the LNP in 2013-14 and the last two years’ exploration results are the direct result of that investment.
“Once again, when it has come time to renew investment in this critical program that supports resources exploration, Labor has come up short and it doesn’t bode well for future Queensland resource projects.”
Mr Cripps said the savage program cuts under the Palaszczuk Government revealed a sad story about what was happening inside the once proud Department of Natural Resources and Mines.