Thursday, 31 January 2013

Davis Blunders On Flood Recovery Centre

Media Release.
Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin says a blunder in Gladstone shows the Newman Government must put the interests of flood-affected locals ahead of its craving for self-promotion.
Mr Mulherin said Minister for Communities Tracy Davis had misled Gladstone locals about a “new” community recovery centre to help flood-affected locals.
“Ms Davis issued a news release around midday today (Thursday) saying the Boyne Island community recovery centre was up and running to help flood-affected residents,” he said.
“I was in Gladstone to see flood recovery works so I visited the centre once the statement was issued only to find no-one there.
“In fact I was told the community recovery workers packed up yesterday and had moved on.
"This shows how out of touch the minister is with the recovery efforts which are happening on the ground.
"It is another piece of misinformation issued by an LNP government struggling to keep up with the demands of flood recovery works after sacking 14,000 government workers.
"It appears that the Gladstone region no longer has the government workers needed to run the community recovery centre.
"I was told by locals that numerous people had arrived at the recovery centre seeking assistance after hearing it was open for business.
“But they were then told to ring a toll-free number, 1800 173 349, which referred them back to the non-existent recovery centre on Boyne Island.
"Ms Davis should apologise to Gladstone residents and immediately sort out what is a mess of her own government’s making.
"Flood-hit locals have suffered enough and are the last people who should be stuffed around by the LNP government’s incompetence,” Mr Mulherin said.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Is Flood Response Short-Staffed?

Media Release.

Opposition frontbencher and Member for Bundamba, Jo-Ann Miller, says the Premier must explain a lack of response to people applying for disaster support in the wake of floods and blackouts caused by cyclonic weather.
“In my area people have complained to me about the brick wall set up by the state government when they have tried to access immediate hardship payments for their loss of electricity supply,” Mrs Miller said.
“The Department of Communities is insisting on the completion of a seven-page application and there has been no effort as far as I can see from the state government to let people know what immediate support is available to them.
“I have also heard reports of the department using a ticket system to serve some people but turn others away and ask them to come back tomorrow.
“Is all this happening because of the mass sackings undertaken by the Newman Government in frontline agencies such as the Department of Communities where the Premier cut 385 full-time equivalent jobs last year?
“I know the staff on the ground are doing a tough job and working as hard as they can.
“But in previous events the government could rely on turning out people from other jobs in the department to hit the frontline and support the delivery of recovery services and support.
“This time there does not appear to be as many Department of Communities staff available to respond to local concerns, and they are telling applicants to head to Centrelink.
“I have heard reports of people striking this problem in Ipswich as well as Logan. This situation is just distressing for people who need help.
“No doubt other flood affected communities across Queensland will be given the same treatment.”
Mrs Miller said an example of state government insensitivity was the ridiculous and thoughtless suggestion of the Premier for flood-hit householders to prove they have been without electricity by obtaining a letter from Energex.
“People who have been genuinely affected by flooding do not need that sort of red tape imposed on them,” she said.
“Energex maintains information on suburbs and streets that have lost power and the government should be able to use that data to receive, verify and process or check claims.
“For people needing assistance the last thing they want is to be tied up in red tape when they are trying to put their lives back together.”

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Opposition Leader Urges Support For Flood Appeal

Media release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has congratulated emergency services workers and volunteers for their ongoing efforts to help others in the wake of flooding in numerous centres and regions in the state.
“Frontline emergency services workers have been tireless in their efforts to evacuate those at risk of flooding and to support the numerous local communities hit hard by the floods and severe weather,” Ms Palaszczuk said during a visit to several flood-affected communities in South East Queensland today.
“Once again we have seen all three levels of government working together to address the many problems such events deliver.
“Local mayors and their councils always play crucial roles in the response and recovery phases, as does the state government and its agencies and personnel.
“The federal government has also been quick to release disaster recovery funding and provide military support for evacuations.
“We still face significant challenges in coming days and the patience shown so far by those affected by service disruptions such as public transport shutdowns will no doubt be called upon again.
“Tragically we should not forget that lives have been lost in the past few days and we all need to remember the risks that accompany such severe weather events,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said Queenslanders not affected by floods could support those who were by donating to the Queensland Flood Appeal 2013 by calling 1800 811 700 or visiting

“The Flood Appeal is a fast and direct way others can help those who will need support to rebuild their lives and homes,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said another direct way to help was to lend a hand in cleaning up after the floods.
Anyone keen to do that should make enquiries through Volunteering Queensland which has established a special emergency volunteering website where people can register their availability.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

950 miles on horseback.

Brisbane April 21, 1894

Charlie M'Donald, Labour member for Flinders, has been having rather a rough time of it while on tour through his electorate. Muddy roads and flooded creeks so delayed him that on one occasion in order to keep an appointment with his constituents, he was compelled to ride 125 miles in 30 hours. Up to March 23rd he had travelled 500 miles, and by the time he arrives home again he will have covered 950 miles on horseback. The position of Labour in Cloncurry is very secure, as the diggers are “real hummers.”

The injustice and inequity of Elections Act.

Brisbane April 14, 1894


I was in hopes that when Mrs. Leontine Cooper resigned from the Woman's Equal Franchise League we had heard the last of the lady, but it now appears she has managed to organise the plural vote ladies in a new society, with the object of obtaining the franchise for women on the same basis as that now granted to men. Perhaps it would not prove uninteresting to your readers if I quote an illustration used by George Ryland, one of the Gympie Labour candidates at the last general election, to demonstrate the injustice and inequity of that clause in our present Elections Act which rules that a man must be a bona fide resident in an electorate for the term of six months before he can have a valid claim to the privilege to vote. “ Why gentlemen,” said George, “according to such an act, William Shakespeare would have been denied a vote because he was a strolling player! John Bunyan would have been denied a vote because he was a travelling tinker!”

Exactly so, And if one desirous of pointing out the incongruity and injustice of an Act which permits to some one man whose fortune or otherwise it is to possess property the right to exercise ten or twenty votes, when perhaps his neighbour, who may be greatly his superior in learning, intellectual ability, patriotism, and moral conduct, is only permitted to have one vote, he might say, to continue the illustration employed by Ryland, that according to such an Act such a man as Dr. Johnson, or Ralph Waldo Emerson, or Edmund Burke, would have been permitted one vote only where as a profligate lord or some rich debauchee, whose only qualifications were his vices, and whose only title his inanimate property, would be permitted ten or perhaps a dozen votes.

Finally it may be said that where such a heroine as Grace Darling or Florence Nightingale would be permitted only one vote so vicious a creature as a dissolute and extravagant woman of rank and property might be allowed to exercise a score of votes! Thus it can be seen that under the plural vote conditions, and under the residence qualification, our present electoral law does not regard intellectual ability or patriotic and moral worth, but more vulgar inanimate property possession.

Frank Tell, Gympie.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Springborg, What Happened to Free Public Hospitals in Queensland?

Media Release.
Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller says Minister for Health Cuts and Closures Lawrence Springborg needs to explain to the people of Queensland his plans to privatise hospital services across the state jeopardising Queenslanders free universal access to hospital treatment.
Mrs Miller said Blackwater and Springsure Hospitals in Central Queensland have been flagged for privatisation, Moura in-patient services are being outsourced and the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital will be run by a private provider.
“This is only the beginning of the Americanisation of the Queensland health system under this ruthless LNP Government,” Mrs Miller said.
“Queensland prides itself on its history of being able to provide free hospital services to all regardless of income or background, this is now being threatened by Mr Springborg and the LNP Government.
“Last week Mr Springborg admitted that he instructs the health boards across Queensland to make savage cuts and now he must explain to Queenslanders what his plans are for the privatisation of a number of hospitals and health services across the state.
“It is disgraceful that in a thriving mining region such as Blackwater and the Gemfields the LNP Government is transitioning to privatised health services.
“We do not want to find ourselves in a situation like the US where only the wealthy can access health services in Queensland,” she said.
Mrs Miller said Mr Springborg also needs to be upfront with the people of the Sunshine Coast and outline which private provider will run clinical services at the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
“The previous Labor Government intended the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital to be a public hospital, but now it seems the LNP Government are outsourcing clinical services to a private provider,” she said.
“We fear this is only the beginning under this LNP Government, with more and more hospitals across Queensland being privatised, limiting access to health services to the rich.”

Springborg Shamefully Widens The Gap In Indigenous Health

Media Release. 
Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller says Minister for Health Cuts and Closures Lawrence Springborg is widening the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait health outcomes by slashing 35 frontline health positions in the Torres Strait.
Mrs Miller said last week Mr Springborg admitted that he instructs the health boards to make savage cuts and now he must take responsibility for slashing frontline health services for the most disadvantaged Queenslanders on remote island communities.
“Because of cuts in funding by Mr Springborg, the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Hospital and Health Service has to axe 35 current health positions, including 13 Aboriginal health worker, 13 nursing and two midwife positions,” Mrs Miller said.
“In last year’s budget Mr Springborg cut $2.4 million from the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula board, which has resulted in these cuts to the smallest and most remote health region in the state which covers the Thursday Island and Bamaga hospitals.
“The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population already suffer a disproportionate burden of illness, by slashing health services the LNP Government is only going to further disadvantage this community.
“The board was responsible for providing a range of primary and community health services including chronic disease management, maternal and child health services men’s and women’s health services, oral health, post-acute rehabilitation aged care general home and community care services and family support for 11,000 people.
“With these savage cuts Mr Springborg and the LNP Government is widening the gap in Indigenous health and pushing Queensland backwards,” she said.
Mrs Miller said one of the key local positions to be cut is the Clinical Nurse Consultant for Rheumatic Heart Disease.
“This is outrageous as remote Indigenous communities are among the highest suffers of rheumatic heart disease in the world,” Mrs Miller said.
“These latest health cuts by Mr Springborg are an international disgrace and a shameful example of how this LNP Government treats Queenslanders in remote communities.”

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Maryborough Women's Franchise Association.

Brisbane March 24, 1894


Our Motto: “Socialism in our time.”

The Maryborough women are ahead of their Brisbane sisters, for they have settled the question of the basis of the franchise in the following introduction to the rules and regulations of the Maryborough Woman's Franchise Association:
The association is meant to include all women who have the welfare of themselves and their sister women at heart. It is proposed to obtain through it the extension of the franchise to women on a one women one vote basis, and to promote the well being of women generally.
Now in my opinion the Maryborough women's association is going to be a huge success, for the above simple reason that there has been no trimming or temporising in endeavouring to effect some real change in the political and social status of women. The women of Maryborough have made a bold and courageous statement of their claim, and they will be respected and sympathised with by all who are in earnest in their professions of a desire for equal rights for all. The sleek and fat and thin and wiry old tabbies who consider themselves of a finer mould than their poorer sisters will see nothing but revolution in a proposal to give votes to the servants whom it is the privilege of said old tabbies to vilify and malign at afternoon teas, but they are not numerous. They are principally composed of the few ex-servants or ex-shop assistants who manage to marry well, and would convey by high-handed and lofty tyranny that they are “born leddies,” accustomed to be waited upon from childhood. Sensible women and sensible men will congratulate the Maryborough women, and men especially will feel more than grateful to them for their more than generous proposal in rule 3 - “ to assist our brothers in attaining white adult suffrage on a one adult one vote, and one vote only, basis on all governing bodies as soon as possible.”

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Maryborough Women's Franchise



This association is meant to include all the women who have the welfare of themselves and their sister women at heart. It is proposed to obtain through it the extension of the franchise to women on a one-women-one-vote basis, and to promote the well-being of women generally.

  1. These rules shall govern the Maryborough Women's franchise Association for one year from 1st March, 1894, subject to amendment by the association if found necessary within two months.
  1. Maryborough Women's Franchise Association.
  1. To secure the extension of the parliament franchise to women, and to assist our brothers in attaining white adult suffrage on a one adult one vote, and one vote only, basis, on all governing bodies as soon as possible.
  2. To advances the social well-being of the members of the association by meetings for discussion, and for social purposes.
  1. All members must pledge themselves to abide by these rules, and to work strenuously for, and be in entire sympathy with the objects of the association.
  1. Subscriptions shall be payable yearly in advance at the rate of one shilling per year.
  2. Men may become honorary members on payment of usual subscription.

Property vote for Women?

Brisbane March 17, 1894


In case the women of Queensland who have now determined to battle for their political rights do not know how strong the Hon. Dr. Taylor is on the property vote before aught else it is as well that they be reminded that whilst the “exalted” Chamber was in committees on the 26th July 1892, Dr. Taylor said he had a new clause to propose after clause 17. It read as follows:
Every women of the age of twenty-one years, being a natural born or naturalised subject of her Majesty, whose name is entered on the rate book of any municipality, shall be entitled to be entered on the roll of electors for the electoral district within which the property in respect of which her name is to entered is situated.
Hon. gentlemen would see (he said) that the clause was merely an extension of the admitted principle that property should be represented. At present certain property was unrepresented because of the sex of the owner. Property was only partly represented at present; because it belonged to a female it was unrepresented. It was beyond the province of the motion to enter into the question of female suffrage, but the motion did not introduce any new element into the Elections Bill; it simply permitted its principles to be applied to all property. It was extending the franchise in quantity, but not in quality; and he moved that the new clause be inserted”
Mrs. Leontine Cooper, ex-president of the Women's Franchise Association and editress of the Star further shows how the cat was intended to jump in a leading article in her paper. She says; “ Mrs. Cooper was aware that a number of members of the Legislature were prepared to grant some concessions to women who would not dream of entertaining the “one women one vote.” But the Labour women present at the late meeting saw the game clearly, and, believing in humanity before property, determined to fight for the equality of women at the ballot box, and they won, too, for the organisation is now named the Woman's Equal Franchise Association.            C. S.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Health Board Blows Springborg’s Cover

Media Release.

Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller says the Central Queensland Health and Hospital Board has exposed Lawrence Springborg’s direct responsibility for health cuts and closures across the state.
“Mr Springborg has been ducking for cover behind regional health boards and saying the cuts and closures are their doing not his,” Mrs Miller said.
“But at the public meeting last night on the future of the Moura Hospital, board representatives said they would ask Mr Springborg to approve Moura as a model site for the future delivery of rural and regional health services.
“Finally we have a public admission that Mr Springborg is directly responsible for board decisions and the cuts and closures in our health system.
“The board’s actions prove once and for all that regional health board decisions are LNP government decisions.
“Mr Springborg can no longer use the excuse that boards are totally responsible for cuts and closures. The CQ board’s decision proves that he has never been telling the truth about his responsibilities.”
Mrs Miller said Mr Springborg was now also directly involving himself in decisions on cuts to services at Eidsvold Hospital.
“This is further proof that Mr Springborg has always been directly responsible for regional health board decisions, he just never admitted to it,” she said.
Opposition frontbencher and Member for Rockhampton, Bill Byrne, who also attend the Moura meeting said the future of the town’s hospital was no clearer today than it was before the meeting.
“While the regional board outlined options, its clear preference is to effectively hand over health care in Moura to private providers,” Mr Byrne said.
“This is the first step in the Americanisation of our state health system where profit not people, is the top priority.
“Together with statements by the local MP and Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney advocating the hospital’s closure, the prospects for retaining Moura Hospital in its present form are remote.
“I was appalled that Mr Seeney snubbed Thursday night’s meeting in Moura. He simply doesn’t care about the town or its residents.
“Similarly, Mr Springborg refused to attend and while the Premier found time on his current tour to visit Emerald and Rockhampton, he couldn’t be bothered making a slight detour to Moura.
“It all goes to show how little the LNP cares about regional Queenslanders,” Mr Byrne said.

Nicholls Contradicts Newman On Asset Sales

Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the LNP government needs to get its story straight on the future of publicly owned power industry assets.
“Newspaper reports today have Treasurer Tim Nicholls indicating his support for selling the state’s power generators which directly contradicts statements by the Premier,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Mr Nicholls wants a public debate on power assets sales, while the Premier has been saying there will be no sale or privatisation.
“Queenslanders need to know who is speaking for the government on this issue is it the Premier or the Treasurer?”
Ms Palaszczuk said just this week the Premier said: "I believe the electricity assets that we own as a state of Queensland should be owned by the people. I don't support privatisation, nor do I support deregulation..."
(Cairns Post 16 January 2013)
In addition late last year Mr Newman said: "My vision for the electricity sector is that we have a government-owned, world's best practice, efficient operation owned by the people of Queensland. That is what I would like to see."
(The Australian 9 November 2012)
“But in today’s Australian Financial Review Mr Nicholls is very clear about his position supporting power asset sales,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“He calls for a public debate on asset sales and also says ‘government ownership [of power assets] did not always provide the best result for consumers’.
“These are clear statements supporting privatisation of the state’s power industry assets which is why Mr Newman needs to declare his government’s position,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Premier Goes Backwards On Jobs

Media Release.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the latest jobless figures shows the Newman Government is going backwards when it comes to keeping its promise to deliver 4% unemployment.
The 4% jobless commitment the Premier made to Queenslanders at last year’s election means he must create jobs at the rate of 200 a day, or 420,000 new jobs over six years,” Ms Palaszczuk said during a visit to centres in South West Queensland.
Today’s ABS figures for December 2012 show 153,600 Queenslanders out of work, with 16,800 of them joining the unemployment queue since the last election in March 2012,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
The latest figures mean the Premier is now behind his job-creation target and if he is to reach the 4% mark his new target needs to be the creation of 230 jobs a day.”
Today’s unemployment figures released by the ABS showed:
  • Queensland’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 6.2% in December, up from 6.1% in November.
  • Between November and December 2012 almost 22,900 jobs were lost in Queensland with nearly half being full-time jobs.
  • Queensland had the highest jobless rate in mainland Australia.
  • The national jobless rate was 5.4% compared with 5.3% in November.
All the Premier is doing to address the state’s GFC-style jobless rate is to indulge in a cargo-cult approach such as his announcement in Mount Isa that he is banking on uranium mining to stimulate the North West Queensland economy,” she said.
At the same time his own government has delivered nothing to the North West under its bogus ‘Royalties for the Regions’ scheme despite the region being one of the most productive mining regions in the world.
In fact, North West Queensland delivers well over $200 million a year or close to 10% of state mining royalties yet receives nothing in return from the LNP.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the Newman Government’s mass sackings and constant negativity about the state economy and finances had contributed to its poor performance on job creation.
It seems the Newman Government has simply given up on its jobs pledge,” she said.
In December in his Budget Mid-Year Review the Treasurer Tim Nicholls said the average jobless rate for 2012-13 was now expected to be 6.25% — not the 6% he forecast in his State Budget last September,” she said.
Mr Nicholls is also expecting unemployment to stay high in 2013-14 — averaging 6% and not the 5.75% he previously forecast.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the need to create jobs was one of the major concerns of locals she had met and spoken with on her current visit to South West Queensland centres.
The feeling of many locals is that they are being ignored by the LNP government with the Premier’s focus on Brisbane,” she said.
It doesn’t help to have a government intent on sacking its own employees in rural and regional centres, especially at local hospitals or in other agencies and departments.
When government jobs go the affected families often leave town and take their children out of local schools.
That means a downward spiral for the local economy as fewer pay packets are spent locally, the local school population declines so teachers are withdrawn from the local community.
The LNP’s mass sackings have terrible ripple effects and hit hard at local business operators and the fabric of local communities.
It is no wonder people feel like that when they see no employment initiatives in their area, yet no expense is spared when it comes to building a new and unnecessary Executive Building in the Brisbane CBD for the Premier and his Ministers,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

No Hospital Is Safe From Springborg’s $3 Billion Cuts

Media Release.

Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller says the closure of Eidsvold Hospital and eviction of elderly residents from a Wynnum nursing home by this June show no hospital, frontline service, or job in the state’s health system is safe from the $3 billion in cuts the LNP is imposing on regional health boards.
Speaking from Moura where the hospital is also to be shut by the LNP government Mrs Miller said the LNP had sold out the rural and regional communities it pledged before the election to serve.
“Just like Moura, the Eidsvold Hospital is in the electorate of the Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney who clearly has no interest in serving the people in either centre,” Mrs Miller said.
“Before the election the Premier promised to deliver better frontline health services but ever since then all we have seen are cuts and closures.
“Today we find that not only is Eidsvold Hospital to shut to, but the LNP government is insisting elderly and frail nursing home residents of the Moreton Bay Aged Care Unit at Wynnum are to be forced out by June.
“In addition the Minister for Health Cuts and Closures, Lawrence Springborg continues to mislead Queenslanders into thinking a 21% or $600 million rise in federal health funding to our state over the next four years is a ‘cut’.
“Federal health funding to Queensland will rise from $3.1 billion this year to $3.7 billion in 2015-16, yet Mr Springborg claims that is a ‘cut’.
“The fact is the hospital closures and eviction of elderly Queenslanders from nursing homes is due to the $3 billion in budget cuts Mr Springborg has imposed on the state’s health and hospital boards over the next four years.
“The closures and job losses we are seeing at present are only the first round. There are three more years of Springborg cuts to go.
“Mr Springborg should today detail the next three years of cuts he is imposing on the state’s Hospital and Health Boards.”
Mrs Miller said the Springborg cuts over four years included:
  •  $944 million from regional hospital and health board budgets
  •  a further $1.7 billion in wages by slashing almost 2,800 jobs in hospitals and health services across the state
  •  a $120 million cutback in health grants to community and illness prevention organisations, and
  •  $283 million in other cuts to Queensland Health spending.
“Instead of misleading people about federal funding that is increasing, Mr Springborg might like to start earning his $6,000 a week pay packet by explain what other hospitals will close and what other services will shut in the next three years,” she said.

LNP Government Must Face Moura Residents

Media Release.

Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller says the Premier Campbell Newman, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg and local member Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney must face residents of Moura at tonight’s public meeting on the future of their hospital.
“It’s disgraceful that the LNP leadership team is hiding behind regional health boards and do not have the guts to face the people of Moura themselves to tell them why they are slashing their health care services,” Mrs Miller said.
“In addition, I do not know why Mr Springborg continues to draw a pay cheque of $6,000 a week when he scurries from scrutiny by passing the buck — or 6,000 bucks — to the health boards and refuses to do the hard work expected of a Health Minister.
“Moura is a growing mining region, with growing health care needs, it makes no sense for this callous LNP Government to completely remove hospital services from this town,” Mrs Miller said.
“This LNP Government has continually shown they will stop at nothing to cut health services and jobs from regional communities, while cowering behind the health and hospital boards as an excuse.
“Unfortunately, we fear that Moura Hospital is just the beginning and many more regional hospitals will be closed by this Brisbane-centric LNP Government,” she said.
Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne said the Moura town meeting protesting the closure of the hospital followed revelations in recent days that the LNP Government was cutting jobs and services from the Central Queensland and Wide Bay Burnett Health Service Boards.
“The Premier and Health Minister’s continued failure to answer questions about their slashing of health services and jobs is becoming a joke in regional Queensland,” Mr Byrne said.
“No-one swallows their rubbish about these being decisions of the health and hospital boards. When the boards make a decision it is a decision of the LNP government pure and simple, and the Premier and Health Minister are responsible for it.
“In addition it was Mr Springborg who imposed cuts of $13 million on the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Board with more cuts to come in the next three years.
“The people of Central Queensland want to hear why health services are being scrapped and jobs slashed from their elected representatives.
“If the Premier, Deputy Premier and Health Minister fail to show-up to the community meeting in Moura they are nothing more than cowards, who don’t have to guts to justify their own callous decisions,” he said.
Mrs Miller said LNP MPs also should explain why their party organisation should make money out of job cuts and service reductions in regional hospital and health services.
“When job cuts are being announced at hospitals across regional Queensland, LNP MPs should explain why the LNP is turning their government’s mass sackings and savage cuts to frontline services into a cash cow,” Mrs Miller said. (See attached PDF)
“The LNP is arranging an event on February 5 at a five-star hotel in Brisbane to brag about its job cuts and service cuts and to detail plans for outsourcing and privatising more jobs and services.
“While the Premier and the Minister for Health Cuts and Closures, Lawrence Springborg, are cutting health services, they endorse the LNP’s plan to profit from their decisions by selling tickets to their party policy launch at $200 a head and close to $2,000 for tables of 10.
“I am sure this will not impress the people of Central Queensland and the many other communities across the state that are losing frontline health workers, having hospital and health services closed or scaled down, or losing nursing home beds.
“The LNP money-making event is an insult to those who have lost or will lose their jobs in hospitals and health services.
“It is an insult to local communities losing frontline health services, an insult to elderly Queenslanders losing their government nursing homes, and an insult to their families,” she said.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Newman And Nicholls Must Detail Deal

Media Release.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin says the LNP government must explain the secrecy surrounding a deal to have the Queensland Investment Corporation and Queensland Motorways relieve the Brisbane City Council of the massive debt burden Campbell Newman left behind as Lord Mayor.
“The Premier must explain the circumstances that have led to this bailout and what if any discussions or communications he or Treasurer Tim Nicholls have had with the QIC and Queensland Motorways,” Mr Mulherin said.
“The debt of the Brisbane City Council rose by 454% in Mr Newman’s last and incomplete term as Lord Mayor when he and the LNP had control of the council.
“Mr Nicholls cannot escape blame for that because he was the Lord Mayor’s financial spokesperson and served on the BCC’s finance committee for much of that term.
“Queensland Treasury Corporation figures show BCC debt rose from around $398.2 million in 2008-09 to hit a projected $2.155 billion in 2012-13.
“Having the QIC and Queensland Motorways take over tolling for the Legacy Way Tunnel and the Go Between Bridge in Brisbane is a way to bail out the BCC from the debt Mr Newman and Mr Nicholls left behind at City Hall.
“These two projects were promised by then Lord Mayor Newman along with the Clem 7 tunnel, the Kingsford Smith Drive duplication and an east-west distributor.
“He said they could all be afforded and would be paid for by $2 tolls.
“Now we find he misled Brisbane ratepayers and is now relying on taxpayers not just in Brisbane but in regional and rural areas as well to bail out his mistakes.
“We need to know exactly what the details of the deal with QIC are. There is also the question of secrecy.
“When the QIC entered negotiations to purchase the Queensland Motorways Ltd business from the former government in November 2010 the proposed transaction was well publicised as it should be when it comes to dealing in public assets.
“At that time both the QIC and the former government made public statements advising of the negotiations and the intended purchase. That does not appear to have happened in this case.
“This is another example of regional Queenslanders and Brisbane ratepayers carrying the can for disastrous financial decisions made by Mr Newman as Lord Mayor of Brisbane,” Mr Mulherin said.

Springborg’s $3 Billion Health Cuts Hit Jobs

Media Release.

Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller says Lawrence Springborg should today detail the next three years of cuts he is imposing on the Townsville Hospital and Health region’s budget as part of $3 billion in cuts over four years he is demanding on the statewide health system.
“This year as Minister for Health Cuts and Closures, Mr Springborg is chopping $21 million from the Townsville HHS’s budget which is why the Townsville Hospital is losing nurses, other frontline staff and frontline services,” Mrs Miller said.
“That $21 million is just the first round of cuts Mr Springborg is making to the Townsville region health budget as part of total cuts to all regional health boards totalling $944 million over four years.
“In addition, Mr Springborg is cutting a further $1.7 billion in wages by slashing almost 2,800 jobs in hospitals and health services across the state.
“Mr Springborg will cut a total of $120 million in health grants to community and illness prevention organisations, and make $283 million in other cuts to Health Department spending.
“It’s good to see Mr Springborg finally earning the $6,000 a week he has been paid as Health Minister by attending a meeting with Townsville nurses.
“So far all he has done is to hide behind regional health boards and claim their decisions have nothing to do with him when in fact they are implementing LNP policies.
“I hope Mr Springborg will not try his usual tired old trick of claiming a 21% or $600 million rise in federal health funding to Queensland over four years is a ‘cut’. He needs to talk about the cuts he is imposing.
“Federal health funding to our state will rise from $3.1 billion this year to $3.7 billion in 2015-16, yet Mr Springborg claims that is a ‘cut’. It just shows yet again how you just can’t trust the LNP,” Mrs Miller said.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Laming Should Do Something Positive

Media Release. 

Shadow Community Services Minister and Member for Woodridge, Desley Scott, says federal LNP MP Andrew Laming should direct his efforts into having his state government colleagues restore jobs programs to the Logan region.
“Instead of broadcasting derogatory Twitter messages for which he has been rightly criticised, Mr Laming might care to ask the Premier to resurrect the Skilling Queenslanders for Work employment programs scrapped in the LNP’s first State Budget in September,” Mrs Scott said.
“Despite its success in training people and steering them into jobs, the SQW scheme fell victim to the LNP’s program of mass sackings and savage cuts to frontline services.
“It has never made any sense to scrap the jobs of people who help others gain work.
“Skilling Queenslanders for Work was a popular and well-used program in our local area and its loss has been felt very heavily.
“If Mr Laming wants to do something positive and is interested in employment issues in the Logan area, he could start by pressing his state colleagues to reinstate the programs they have cut for no good reason,” she said.

Newman Out Of Ideas In Less Than A Year

Media Release.

Shadow Minister for Health Jo-Ann Miller says Premier Campbell Newman is floundering and has run out of ideas less than a year into the job.
Mrs Miller said the Premier’s plan to hold town-hall style meetings across Queensland to garner ideas shows he has no ideas of his own.
“Neither, it seems, do his Ministers or huge backbench have any bright ideas,” Mrs Miller said.
“This comes a day after the Premier launched a Six Month Action plan which contained no new ideas and rehashed initiatives of the previous Labor Government.
“Mr Newman’s town-hall meetings are also a rehash of the previous Labor Government which held extensive consultation throughout Queensland on regional economic and social infrastructure needs as part of the development of three visionary long-term planning documents aimed at strengthening regional Queensland.
“Following extensive regional consultation the previous State Government released the Queensland Regionalisation Strategy (QRS), the Queensland Infrastructure Plan (QIP), and the Bruce Highway Upgrade Strategy (BHUS).
“Following six months of consultation at 13 forums across the state, which more than 500 people attended, 35 recommendations were adopted to create stronger regions in Queensland.
“If the Premier had not fired all the senior public servants with all their corporate knowledge he would be aware that this data is already available to him.
“I suspect as the Premier travels through the state holding his town-hall meetings he will be reminded by local residents that they have already provided their ideas and input to Government.
“This attitude again shows Mr Newman’s Brisbane-centric attitude, as he obviously has no understanding of the infrastructure needs of regional Queensland.
“If Premier Newman had shown the same eagerness for public consultation prior to embarking on his program of mass sackings and slashing of services he may not be presiding over a fractured party with a disgruntled backbench,” she said.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Newman’s Ambulance Sham

Media Release.

Shadow Emergency Services Minister Bill Byrne says the Premier’s six-month plan released today revealed more inaction than action on emergency services.
“His commitment to deliver 130 new ambulances is nothing but a re-announcement of what appeared in September’s State Budget, so has nothing happened in the intervening six months to deliver much-needed new vehicles to frontline Queensland Ambulance Service staff?” Mr Byrne said.
“In addition funding for the ‘new’ ambulance stations promised by the Premier for Emerald and Tara were first announced in the Labor Government’s 2011-12 State Budget.
“The Premier is attempting to pass off the standard delivery of ambulance vehicles and previous Government commitments as his own work.
“It is pathetic that the best the Premier can come up with for his Six Month Action plan is a rehash of last year’s ambulance announcement,” Mr Byrne said.
The budget papers from September contain the very same commitment as the Premier outlined today:
“the appointment of 60 additional ambulance officers to meet increasing demand for ambulance services… $18.4 million to commission 130 new and replacement ambulance vehicles.”
The Premier is also trying to claim this is an exceptional commitment despite the previous Labor Government committing more funding and vehicles in the previous two budgets.
In the 2011-12 Budget the previous Labor Government announced:
• allocate $20.4 million to commission 140 new and replacement ambulance vehicles
• recruit 50 additional ambulance officers to meet the increasing demand for service
In the 2010-11 State Budget a similar commitment was also made:
• allocate $18.5 million to commission 165 new and replacement ambulance vehicles
• recruit 75 additional ambulance officers to meet the increasing demand for service
“The Newman Government has obviously run out of ideas less than a year after being elected.
“It is a joke that the Premier has spent the last year fiercely criticising the previous Government and now the only announcement he can make replicates, but falls short of what the previous Government committed.”

McVeigh Must Clarify the Number Of Fire Ant Staff Sacked

Media Release.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin says the Agriculture Minister John McVeigh has some explaining to do after it has been revealed that his statement in State Parliament about the number of sacked fire ants workers does not match up with statements from a senior departmental officer.
Mr Mulherin said respected former Biosecurity Queensland managing director Kareena Arthy warned 69 BQ staff would be sacked and a further 104 would have to be redeployed from the fire ants program.
“During Budget Estimates hearing last year Mr McVeigh said only 45 staff in the fire ants program were sacked,” Mr Mulherin said.
“However, Ms Arthy warned the Minister prior to the estimates hearing that 69 staff would be sacked and 104 redeployed.
“Mr McVeigh has some explaining to do, as he has either deliberately misled the Parliament when he provided his answer that 45 fire ants staff being sacked, or he was not across his portfolio responsibilities.
“Either way, this is a very serious error from the Agriculture Minister, the fire ant eradication program is one of the most important in the Minister’s portfolio responsibilities and he should be well aware of how many staff he was sacking from the program,” he said.
Mr Mulherin said Ms Arthy’s statements also reveal the LNP Government has slashed so much funding from the fire ant eradication program it is no longer capable of responding to infestations.
“Last year Mr McVeigh also revealed he failed to commit the $6 million needed to meet his obligations as part of the National Fire Ant Eradication Program and only committed $2.5 million,” he said.
“By slashing this funding the LNP are putting the entire fire ant program at risk and are letting fire ants march all over Queensland and across the border into other states.
“The slashing of jobs and services in this biosecurity program by the LNP Government also breaks their election commitment to boost biosecurity in Queensland.

“It has been proven that populations of fire ants can be eliminated with ongoing control programs, however, now this will not be possible as the LNP have slashed staff and funding for the eradication program.”

Minister for Agriculture John McVeigh’s statement during Budget Estimates Hearings 12th October 2012
“We will see 126.1 FTEs employed under the fire ant program in 2012-13. That is as a result of some 45 staff having been retrenched.”

Callous nature of Newman Government revealed

Media Release.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin says the callous way the Newman Government has been axing government jobs has been revealed by the expose of departmental emails in news reports today.
"The emails show the pressure the LNP leadership team of the Premier, Deputy Premier and Treasurer placed on their own employees after double crossing them by saying they had nothing to fear from an LNP government," Mr Mulherin said.
"They also show how the Treasurer was a major driver of the mass sackings with his department demanding more and more jobs to be cut.
"It is no wonder the troika at the head of the LNP has managed to alienate government employees and their own MPs by their callous, ideological demands to gut a key and heavily regionalised department while hypocritically shouting themselves a new Executive Building in the Brisbane CBD."
Mr Mulherin said as this LNP Government continues to axe jobs and services across the state today's reports disclose how cold-heartedly Premier Campbell Newman has always thought of peoples jobs as merely numbers.
“As this callous LNP Government continues to slash and burn jobs and frontline services they have no regard for the effect they are having on people’s lives across Queensland,” Mr Mulherin said.
“The myth that frontline jobs are secure with the Newman Government is also debunked by revelations that the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Director-General was requesting regular updates on figures of frontline staff through the retrenchment process.
“It is disgraceful the way this tyrannical LNP Government has terrified the public service throughout this slash and burn process in a way that has left senior departmental officers concerned about their employees welfare.
“Queenslanders will be shocked at the fear this Newman Government is creating in workplaces, where nobody knows if their job is the next on the line.
“The Premier has already admitted he is only half way through wielding his axe on government jobs, indicating there is much pain to go for employees around Queensland,” he said.
Mr Mulherin said the LNP Government made numerous election commitments to grow the agriculture sector and create career paths in agriculture across Queensland.
“Instead we see the Agriculture Minister John McVeigh on a “warpath” to slash his own department to the “bare bones”,” he said.
“Agriculture is supposed to be one of the Newman Government's four pillars of their economy, yet the Minister is more concerned about firing his own employees than growing the sector.
“How can the agriculture sector in Queensland grow when the government is hell bent on slashing the regional jobs and services which support the sector.
"Biosecurity Queensland used to be a national leader in preventing the spread of disease and pests, now it is the laughing stock of Australia.
"This is reflected through the industries disappointment in the Minister and the Director-General.
“Unfortunately, this is only the beginning from the Newman Government, we are set for much more pain in the future.”

LNP Cashes In On Health Closures And Sackings

Media Release.
Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller says cancelling an event designed to let the LNP organisation cash in on Newman Government health cuts should be the first decision the Premier takes in 2013 if he is serious about running an honest and credible government.
“The Premier’s first decision for 2013 should be to cancel the February 5 event where the LNP wants to charge $200 a head for people to hear how his government plans to gut our public health system, and sell bits off to the private sector,” Mrs Miller said.
“It is extraordinary that the LNP has found a way to turn the government’s mass sackings and savage cuts to frontline services into a cash cow. 
“The Premier’s blueprint for the first half of 2013 contains nothing new and is just a cut and paste of previous promises.
“Most significantly it makes no mention of outsourcing or privatising hospital and health facilities which will be the subject of the LNP event on February 5.
“While the Premier and the Minister for Health Cuts and Closures, Lawrence Springborg, are cutting health services, they are allowing the LNP to profit from their callous decisions by selling tables of 10 at next month’s policy launch at close to $2,000.
“I am sure this will not impress communities that are losing frontline health workers having their hospital and health services closed or scaled down, and losing nursing home beds.
“I am sure people in Moura will be interested to know the LNP sees a chance to make money by selling tickets to hear about a policy that means the loss of the community’s hospital services.
“The same goes for Wynnum and the rest of Brisbane’s southern bayside suburbs that are losing their hospital and nursing home, as well as those on the northside who will see the Eventide Home close.
“If the Premier won’t cancel the LNP fundraiser, then he should at least offer free admission to the nurses and other frontline staff he is sacking in our health system.
“It is an insult to those who have lost or will lose their jobs in hospitals and health services across the state to see the LNP make money out of their misery.
“It is an insult to local communities losing frontline health services,” she said.
Mrs Miller said the refusal of the Newman Government to release the secret second instalment of the Costello Audit’s report indicated 2013 would see the LNP move to sell off as many state assets as possible, with the health system a prime candidate.
“There is no doubt the February 5 event will focus on outsourcing or privatising hospital and health services,” she said.
“That’s why Queenslanders must see the secret second report of the Costello Audit which no doubt recommends the sale of as many state assets as possible.
“If there is nothing to hide in the report why keep it under lock and key.
“Mr Springborg has already refused to rule out outsourcing or privatising all or part of the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
“He needs to be upfront and tell Queenslanders what hospital and health services he intends to sell off. Taxpayers should not have to hand over $200 to the LNP to find out,” she said.
Mrs Miller said the Premier’s blueprint for the first half of 2013 recycled LNP commitments and claimed Labor Government initiatives including:
· the two ‘new’ ambulance stations at Emerald and Tara were started under the former government.
· the 130 new ambulance vehicles is part of a routine replacement program but is much less than the former government delivered in each of its last three years
· the six-month plan promises to ‘implement the ban on ambulance bypass’ at public hospitals which had already shown to be a farce and a failure
· confirmation that half of the state’s TAFE campuses would be sold
· the previous six-month “action” plan also contained a promise to start construction on 1 William Street
· claimed a review of rural fire services as an initiative when it was a repair job for Minister Jack Dempsey’s bungling.
“The latest ‘action plan’ also repeats numerous ‘initiatives’ listed in the last six-month plan covering July to December 2012,” Mrs Miller said.