Thursday, 9 March 2023
Phillip Thompson (Herbert, Liberal National Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence) Share this | Link to this | Hansard source
Townsville has been invaded by politicians over the last couple of weeks. First it was the state opposition and its shadow cabinet meeting with community members at the end of last week, talking about crime, housing, cost of living, all the issues that regularly fill my inbox and are raised with me when I'm out and about. Then—surprise, surprise—there was a snap visit from the Queensland state Labor government's cabinet on Monday. Premier Palaszczuk said she had brought her ministers to listen to locals. Maybe that's because her three local Labor MPs don't take local issues down to Brisbane. Maybe she didn't want to be shown up by the state opposition. Either way, if they came to listen, they left their ears down south, and politics, not people, was the winner. As usual, the Premier spent her time in Townsville telling the people what they were getting instead of asking what they needed and bought favour with her allies in the process.
State Labor has now taken control of the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, with fast-tracked approvals and plenty of taxpayer funding, just in time for Jenny Hill's recent burst of energy as she tries to keep Labor in the mayor's office. CopperString 2.0 is fully funded, but the costs have blown out a little bit, and we're asking why. These are both projects that we supported when we were in government. In 2020 we committed $12 million to CopperString to do the work to get to the point where a final investment decision could be made. We secured another $12 million for Lansdown through the Townsville City Deal.
People tell me they're sick of Townsville being treated as a political plaything for Labor. Here's a perfect example. Instead of letting their constituents know about their great CopperString announcement on social media, the local Labor MPs made it all about the state opposition and how they somehow had refused to back it in. Who cares that they'd called for it in the media the day before! Facts don't need to get in the way of a good story. Meanwhile, the alternative government spoke with people struggling to pay their bills; they heard from victims of crime, and kept pushing for the tougher penalties we've so desperately needed for years.
To add insult to injury, this morning the Premier announced she is opening an office in Townsville. Why? No details have been released on how much this office will cost—an office that is likely to be unoccupied for 99 per cent of the time. It's pretty disgraceful and completely tone deaf. This state Labor government doesn't listen.
But my promise to the community is: I will always listen. Thank you to the many people who continue to contact me about what's important to them. Together, our voice can and must be heard.