Appropriation (Parliament) Bill; Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill

Posted On: 29 Jun 2017

Mrs STUCKEY (Currumbin—LNP) (3.31 pm): Listening to the oohs and aahs of those opposite during Tuesday’s budget speech by the Treasurer, you would think they were watching a rare sighting of Halley’s comet or, closer to home, Cowboys legend JT scoring a try. Right on cue they cheered and nodded in unison but, just like a shabby excuse for a rent-a-crowd beholden to their union gods, they were praising a disgraceful con designed to deceive and fool the decent people of this great state. Labor’s 2017-18 budget is nothing but a sham. This is a true Labor budget alright! Our state’s debt will pass $80 billion—

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms Farmer): Order! I ask the member for Lockyer, and I think it is the member for Pine Rivers, to cease your conversations across the chamber. It may be someone else. Whoever it is, could you please cease so that we can hear the member for Currumbin.

Mrs STUCKEY: Our state’s debt will pass $80 billion for the first time in history, despite the $10 billion in raids and rip-offs that were a hallmark of last year’s budget. Every man, woman and child in Queensland will owe $15,795 each. What is even worse is that Labor do not care. Members opposite should hang their heads in shame for supporting reckless spending and fooling the public with false hopes. Labor only care about their union mates. The honourable member for Southern Downs told it like it was. Former treasurer Andrew Fraser had a forecast debt of $84 billion or thereabouts even though they had sold off Queensland’s assets. On the other hand, the Leader of the opposition, the honourable member for Clayfield, outlined a clear and achievable plan, an inspiring vision, when he said—

Our resolute focus will be to provide Queensland with a Government that creates more jobs, lowers crime rates, contains cost of living pressures, enhances environmental protections, provides a strong and stable business environment and provides better Government, not more Government.

In addition, he completely ruled out asset sales and guaranteed no forced redundancies in the Public Service under an LNP government. Under Labor economic growth is slower than under the LNP. Unemployment will remain above six per cent and employment growth is being revised down. Our already high debt is increasing by $8.2 billion, which means it will climb to over $81 billion. For the first time in Queensland’s history it is over $80 billion. I bet that those on the government benches are proud of that record! In 2020 the debt imposed upon every man, woman and child will be the massive $15,795 that I mentioned.

Labor have failed to deliver the $1.7 billion of infrastructure they promised in 2016-17, but as usual they are trying to spin their way out of it. Profits from electricity generators have nearly doubled under Labor, wholesale electricity prices have increased by 70 per cent and Labor’s bungled water grid has seen bulk water price increases of 350 per cent. The shadow Treasurer, the honourable member for Indooroopilly, said that Queenslanders were being treated disrespectfully like cash cows, as basic cost-of-living items such as car rego, water and electricity continue to increase. The LNP will freeze family car registration for three years.

Despite Labor’s previous ‘jobs’ budgets, Queensland has the unenviable title of having the second-highest unemployment rate in Australia. Whichever way a rational person looks at this budget, it is a dud. It is destined to bring hardship and grief to everyday hardworking Queenslanders. Most of them will not receive any concessions, but their electricity bills are still going up under this union-worshipping Labor government.

On Wednesday this week the front page of the Courier-Mail was very telling. It summed up Labor’s 2017-18 budget as follows, ‘Spin it to win it—Palaszczuk’s “jobs bonanza” is really about one job: Hers’. Queensland’s major newspaper has realised this Labor budget is nothing more than a pork-barrelling exercise in the north of the state and which will do nothing to cut the unemployment rate.

Honourable members, having been here for a few budgets since 2004, I have to rate this as one of the most cunning. In the past I have spoken of opportunities squandered as rivers of gold flowed through Queensland and successive Labor governments spent like drunken sailors and borrowed as if there were no tomorrow. I have drawn parallels to the movie The Truman Show, where a poor soul is deluded into believing he lives in a real world when all around him is fake—much like the scenario before us. I have listened to ‘hand-on-heart’ Premier Bligh say, ‘Trust me, there will be no asset sales,’ before doing exactly that and selling them in a fire sale. The honourable member for Ashgrove was here then; she sold off our forests. The now Premier, the honourable member for Inala, was in the government then and supported the sale of Queensland Rail. So was the honourable member for Woodridge, but he was the member for Greenslopes back then.

Courier-Mail senior political reporter Steven Wardill noted that the Treasurer spoke about jobs 45 times yet rarely mentioned unemployment, and he spoke about infrastructure 21 times. The article states—

But he couldn’t mention cuts, which is what actually will happen, given the state’s capital buy has fallen $1.5 billion short of what was previously promised in 2017-18.

On the same day the Courier-Mail editorial commented—

... Queensland has surrendered its status as the “powerhouse of the Australian economy” and we should not expect to reclaim that title anytime soon.

Not a single day passes that I do not give thanks to the people of Currumbin for giving me the privilege of representing them and our stunningly beautiful electorate. It is truly an honour to be the local state member, and I hope that residents will vote me back in at the forthcoming state election—whenever that may be—so that we can finally get the M1 widened to the border. As a local resident for 30 years, having moved to the electorate with my husband and family from South Australia, I know how precious our lifestyle is and how important it is to protect our exquisite natural landscape. We value living in a safe and connected community, and we are prepared to fight to keep it that way. I note that Labor have finally just this week announced their candidate for Currumbin: a young woman who does not live in the electorate and who ran unsuccessfully in Mudgeeraba at the last election. It looks like Labor have overlooked poor Michael Riordan again and recently did him over most unceremoniously in his bid for preselection in Gaven.

Without doubt, the issue that matters most to the good folk of Currumbin is funding to widen the M1. I am pleased to say that as a result of our petition, which contained 10,353 signatures, Labor were dragged kicking and screaming to fund a business case for the section of M1 that goes from Varsity Lakes to the New South Wales border.

Mr Brown interjected.

Mrs STUCKEY: The member for Capalaba has gone up in the world: he is calling out from the ministerial leather over there. Watch out!

I commend those who signed my petition. I am very glad to see $5 million to progress the planning and business case development for six-laning the Pacific Motorway between Varsity Lakes and Tugun which is listed in this budget. Like many people in Currumbin, I am sick and tired of the finger-pointing and hollow promises when it comes to widening the M1. I was reminded by the Gold Coast Bulletin of 7 June of behaviour that incenses taxpayers when former premier Peter Beattie said that it was never meant to be this long before the M1 bottlenecks were upgraded. He paid tribute to Annastacia and the Prime Minister for getting an agreement to do it within 18 months, stating that it really should have been done a long time ago. Who is he trying to kid? ‘A long time ago’, he says. He was premier for a long time, followed by Anna Bligh. Sixteen of the last 19 years have seen Labor governments, yet he expected the LNP to fix it in less than three years and left us a huge debt—a debt that has now passed the $80 billion mark. At least we got the ball rolling and handed the federal government a business case to consider in 2012.

Who can forget the Tugun bypass? It saw a massive cost blowout, from early estimates of $55 million to a whopping $543 million, with 80 per cent of costs borne by the state government because of their sheer incompetence. When government members bang on about funding for roads over the border I remind them of the Tugun bypass saga, a fifty-fifty federal-state government split totally mucked up by Labor under Beattie and Bligh.

An article in the Gold Coast Bulletin of Wednesday, 14 June titled ‘Countdown to Gridlock’ does not tell half the story. We are already gridlocked on the southern Gold Coast. We face bedlam during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The article states—

Excitement is building. For commuters, so is a feeling of dread.

That dread is felt by none more than the people in the Currumbin electorate who face gridlock on a daily basis and have been left out of consultation. Now we hear that buses are being forced into left lanes. This is madness when there are only two lanes each way. It is a recipe for disaster. On Thursday morning the Premier spoke of this working in the United States. Well, they have a lot more lanes than we do.

Another recent comment from Peter Beattie in the Gold Coast Bulletin highlights the total lack of care or understanding of the impact of road closures and disruptions to hundreds of small businesses that the games will create. He said—

There will be varying levels of short-term inconvenience experienced by residents, businesses and visitors. Goldoc is working closely with Gold Coast City Council, QPS and DTMR to ensure information is provided well in advance of GC2018.

Just what does he mean by ‘well in advance’ and what are ‘short-term inconveniences’? Will they have to close? People plan holidays well in advance, especially at Christmas as many businesses close. The opportunity has been missed to allow for meaningful discussions about staff holidays, to consider shortening the Christmas break and reallocating leave during the games. What of the several childcare centres along the route? Will they be able to operate? There is no excuse for this oversight. I have not yet spoken to one local business on Currumbin Creek Road that has been consulted.

The Gold Coast Trades College, located just behind Currumbin Creek Road, has not been consulted, yet they have 35 staff and 1,500 students. How can they plan next year’s courses when they do not know what restrictions will be placed upon them? I applaud their dedication to training and educating our young people in trades at a time when we are facing a tradies crisis. They should not be penalised. I am asking a lot of questions and demanding to be briefed regularly so that I can inform my concerned residents of what lies ahead. Neighbourhood Watches have also been kept in the dark.

The member for Burleigh and I have just come from a productive meeting with key Commonwealth Games, government and Gold Coast City Council representatives—a meeting requested by us as we have been totally kept out of the loop. I am genuinely hopeful that better communication pathways will result so that we can all embrace the games.

Meanwhile, law and order issues continue to worry Currumbin residents, with spikes in crime pushing our hardworking police to the limit. Then there are the Auditor-General’s reports about crime figures being fudged to hide the real numbers. Officer morale is down and bikies are coming back. Crime increases on the Gold Coast are alarming. In December 2016, overall crime was up 28.5 per cent, assaults were up 66 per cent, car theft was up 79 per cent and robberies were up 22 per cent. These statistics are disgraceful but unsurprising when you have a Labor government that is perceived as being soft on crime.

At last month’s Coolangatta liquor accord meeting, at which representatives from some 20 venues were present, it was made patently clear that bikies are flexing their muscle again and trying to get into local licensed premises. We were advised that it started to happen the minute Labor watered down the LNPs tough VLAD bikie laws. Mandatory scanning from 1 July will see unruly patrons banned and we do not want them to head south, prompting accord members to request the zone be declared a safe-night precinct.

Our two high schools have applied for a school based police officer to offer another layer of counsel and engagement for our youth who are experiencing pressures far greater than any other generation. We are keen to advance this position and would like to know when one can be appointed. I once again place on record my support for our local police, who encounter more dangerous situations than ever. To our officers at Palm Beach, Coolangatta and Elanora Police Beat: thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep our neighbourhoods safe.

Over the past 12 months we have seen several road improvements along Currumbin Creek Road and resurfacing—or, should I say, light spraying—on Galleon Way, which connects Currumbin Creek Road and Guineas Creek Road. I hope the entire race section of Currumbin Creek Road will be properly resurfaced as it is the route for the Commonwealth Games cycling race, which will be beamed around the world. The way it looks at the moment is an embarrassment.

I was pleased to see Palm Beach-Currumbin State High School receive half a million dollars to refurbish the digital technology block a few months ago. Construction is well underway at Coplick sports park, with funds of $825,000 allocated. It will be a magnificent complex when completed. Also in the budget are ongoing Energex upgrades to Palm Beach substation. There is $2.9 million in 2017-18 out of $13.5 million in total. Both of these projects were ongoing and not new so, apart from $1.1 million for the Boyd-Kitchener drain renewal, Currumbin got virtually nothing. Instead we are paying for Labor’s poor judgement and reckless spending, which is imposing financial hardship on all Queenslanders.

Labor’s ill-fated water grid, featuring the $1.2 billion ‘more episodes than Days of our Lives’ Tugun desalination plant, is going to cost us dearly for many years. To add insult to injury, with many residents carrying raw memories of the noise, dust, disruption and damage caused by construction of this facility, now they face paying more to help meet the repayments for Labor’s $9 billion water grid.

What is the government doing regarding escalating bus attacks and fare evasion? It said that it would have a safety summit, but a talkfest does not translate into a reduction in the prevalence of these behaviours. Our drivers, passengers and taxpayers deserve better than this. Proper investment in network guards is overdue and will be even more critical during games time, when we have hundreds of thousands of visitors here.

We have countless dedicated community groups in Currumbin. There are too many to mention here; however, I place on record my sincere appreciation and gratitude for the amazing service they provide. I also acknowledge our wonderful school communities and their teachers. They play such a key role in delivering education in a positive and harmonious environment. Palm Beach Neighbourhood Centre provides many programs and services on the southern Gold Coast. It is a pity it was closed for most of last year due to poor assessment of the time required to carry out refurbishments to their offices, delaying their programs.

I turn now to one of my favourite topics: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Hospital. I commend head vet Dr Michael Pyne and his team of health professionals and volunteers. The hospital relies heavily on public donations through the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation Trust. I urge honourable members to consider donating to this worthy cause.

In closing, I remind Queenslanders that they have over 80 billion reasons to get rid of this incompetent and deceitful Labor government at the next state election. You have to ask yourselves: can we really afford another three years of Labor? I do not think so.

Welcome from Jann

As the State Member for Currumbin since 2004 we have achieved much together to make the place we call home an even better and safer community.

It truly is an honour to serve the caring and connected residents of Currumbin.

Your thoughts and concerns matter to me and I look forward to continuing to be a strong voice on your behalf.

My electorate office staff and I are here to help you with state government issues.

Kind regards

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