Thursday, 16 August 2007
Questions without Notice
I will not express a view on whether I think individual amalgamations are good or bad, but I do express the view that it would be desirable for the Queensland Premier to abandon his jackboot tactics towards the councils of that state. This is the same Premier who rails against any attempt by the Commonwealth government to fill a gap left by a state service in the state of Queensland. In case anybody thinks that the Commonwealth government has no role, business or concern in relation to these matters, I tell the House that this financial year the Commonwealth will provide $403.5 million in general purpose and road funding to the councils of Queensland. That is more than 50 per cent of the amount the Queensland government claims that it will provide to local government in the state of Queensland. Any idea that we have no role, interest or concern in relation to local government in Queensland, that local government is entirely the responsibility of the Queensland government or that this is some kind of gratuitous intervention by the Commonwealth government is completely false.
I want to place on record that I first raised this matter on the day of the last budget. On the day the budget was brought down, I spoke very strongly on behalf of many people who had been to Barcaldine and attended a great rally, ironically enough, near the Tree of Knowledge. Ironically enough, that is the birthplace of a political party that we are all very familiar with. I spoke very strongly in favour of the people of Queensland being able to speak on this issue. I also record that the very next day after I made my statement somebody who was in the electorate of Kennedy, accompanying the member for Kennedy to some meetings, put his hand up in a fairly tentative way and said that it would be a nice idea for the people of Queensland to be consulted about this issue. That person was none other than the Leader of the Opposition.