House debates

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Constituency Statements

Moncrieff Electorate: Criminal Motorcycle Gangs

10:17 am

Photo of Steven CioboSteven Ciobo (Moncrieff, Liberal Party, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to talk about the very serious issue which now confronts the Gold Coast following the very myopic decision of the Queensland state Labor government to, in many respects, water down—almost to the point of being ineffectual—the very strong anti-bikie laws that the former LNP Newman government implemented. The simple fact is that those laws absolutely changed Australia's perception of the Gold Coast, after having endured for too many years issues such as shootings at the Robina Town Centre, the ballroom blitz at the Royal Pines Hotel and of course—the genesis of the Newman government's antibikie laws—the Broadbeach brawl.

I am incredibly disappointed that the Gold Coast community is now threatened with the potential of the criminal motorcycle gangs coming back into the Gold Coast. The fact is that the Gold Coast's lifeblood is the Australia's tourism industry. We rely on international and domestic tourists to provide employment to thousands of Gold Coasters. There was not a single bigger issue for the Gold Coast than the fact that the city's reputation was utterly smeared and destroyed by the lawlessness of criminal motorcycle gangs. Stepping up to the challenge through powerful and effective laws, the former LNP government changed the composition and the reputation of the city so that tourists felt safe visiting the Gold Coast. The question needs to be asked: why on earth is the Palaszczuk Labor government making this change? There is not a problem now; there is a solution. Unfortunately, we see the same approach from Queensland Labor as we see from federal Labor. When we had no problems with our borders it was, of course, the federal Labor government that created a problem by changing our border laws.

Now we see the exact same thing in Queensland. We had a situation where we had no problems with bikies, and now the Queensland Labor government is watering down the laws so that the drug-peddling criminal organisations of the criminal motorcycle gangs are once again having the red carpet rolled out for them in the Gold Coast. The simple fact is that I will always stand up for my residents, I will stand up to bikies and I will stand up to the watering down of tough laws which help to change the perception of our city, help to make sure that Gold Coasters are secure in their employment and tourism and help to make sure that our city's reputation is not held to ransom by organised motorcycle gangs. I can only hope that in the passage of time the state Labor government sees the folly of its ways.

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