Tuesday, 16 June 2020
I rise today to acknowledge the fact that Queensland Day occurred on 6 June 2020. What a great day Queensland Day is. It's the day that Queen Victoria signed the letters patent which established the new state of Queensland, of course named in honour of Queen Victoria. On the coat of arms of Queensland there's a sheaf of wheat to represent Queensland's agricultural past and future, heads of a bull and a ram to reinforce that fact, two stalks of sugar cane, a column of gold arising from a heap of quartz to signify the importance of mining to my home state of Queensland, and also our state motto—audax at fidelis. I will be impressed if any of my colleagues can do the Latin translation. I'll admit I had to go to the Latin-English dictionary. It means 'bold but faithful'. It's a motto which does reflect my home state of Queensland—bold but faithful, audax at fidelis.
My home state of Queensland needs to be bold and also faithful as it comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to mention in this respect that the state Liberal National Party opposition has a bold plan which is faithful to Queensland's past—bold but faithful. This plan was outlined by the opposition leader, Deb Frecklington, in an article in The Courier Mail on 16 June 2020. I'd like to share some of the highlights from this article with this chamber to reinforce what 'bold but faithful' means.
The LNP's economic plan for Queensland is far reaching and ambitious—bold but faithful. Firstly, there will not be a single new tax under an LNP government and that is faithful to Queensland's past. We used to have a place of honour as Australia's low-tax state. That was the Queensland I remember when I was growing up. We used to have a place of honour as the low-tax state. It is faithful to our past for the LNP opposition to have that as a cornerstone of its policy into the next election—bold but faithful.
Secondly, as well as ruling out new taxes, the LNP will cut red tape, speed up government payments and make sure Queensland firms get their fair share of government contracts. That, again, is faithful to Queensland's past. Perhaps the boldest measure, and it is bold, is that the LNP government is proposing what's being referred to as the new Bradfield Scheme. This drought-busting project is the brainchild of two visionary Queenslanders—Sir Leo Hielscher and Sir Frank Moore. Sir Leo and Sir Frank helped build today's Queensland. They were part and parcel of the Queensland I grew up in.
The state opposition, under Deb Frecklington, conferred with Sir Leo and Sir Frank. There is no-one better to be true to that bold but faithful motto than Sir Leo and Sir Frank. The new Bradfield Scheme would create Queensland's biggest dam and a hydro-electric dam capable of powering 800,000 homes—bold but faithful. It will hold as much water as 28 Sydney Harbours and allow an area larger than Tasmania to be irrigated in outback Queensland. It is a bold scheme that's been put forward by Deb Frecklington and the LNP state opposition that is faithful to Queensland's past—bold but faithful. As Deb Frecklington says, the scheme is bold, it won't be cheap but Queensland will get tens of thousands of jobs in return. That is the bold vision which is faithful to Queensland's past that Queenslanders are looking for.
The LNP will also back a further four new dams, including the Nullinga Dam, Rookward Weir and Urannah Dam as well as raise the Burdekin Falls Dam. It is time for the state of Queensland to build dams. Queensland needs to build dams. The current government, under Premier Palaszczuk, are not building dams. They're in the process of lowering the dam wall at Paradise Dam instead of building dams. The Paradise Dam needs to be repaired, needs to be rectified and needs to continue to provide water security to all the fruit and vegetable growers in the Bundaberg region. But in addition to that, Queensland needs to build dams. It needs to approve projects and build dams. It is a disgrace that the new stage of the Acland coalmine has been in an approvals process for 12 years—12 years!
Thirdly, we need to open the state border. This is a matter which I raised last week. I moved a motion in this place co-sponsored by the other five senators from the Liberal and National parties from Queensland, which was passed in this chamber. There were comments made by the Premier of Queensland in relation to opening the borders but, unfortunately, today in question time in the Queensland parliament we saw Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk backsliding back into this world of timidity and incoherence.
The people of Queensland do not have a firm plan from their Premier as to when the Queensland border is going to open. And don't just believe me. The headline in Brisbane Times this afternoon was: 'Palaszczuk walks back from original border benchmark'. Last week, after national cabinet, I thought Premier Palaszczuk had realised that she needs to open that state border for the good of the tourism industry on the Gold Coast, in Cairns and everywhere else in Queensland. That state border needs to be open. But today in the Queensland parliament, under questioning from opposition leader Deb Frecklington, she appears to have 'walked back from the original border benchmark'. It's not 'bold but faithful'; it's 'timid and incoherent'. But that's not the motto of my home state. The motto of my home state is 'Bold but faithful', not 'timid and incoherent'.
And it isn't just Brisbane Times. The Courier Mail headline this afternoon—and I pay tribute to them for running hard on this issue—is: 'Premier's stunning claim on border closure'. Those are not my words; they are The Courier Mail's words. I quote from the article: 'Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has made a stunning claim about the border closure despite howls of protest from Queensland businesses. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has claimed most Queenslanders fear a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and do not want the borders opened.' I have absolutely no idea on what basis she makes that claim. The Queenslanders I talk to want to see their state go ahead, they want to see that state border opened; they want to see the thousands and thousands of Queenslanders employed in the tourism industry have an opportunity to go back to work. But Premier Palaszczuk seems to be backsliding.
My good friend the Surfers Paradise MP John-Paul Langbroek said the Premier had indicated the border won't open until there is no active transmission at all. What sort of standard is that! And, as he says, is it to be July, September or whenever? Queensland needs to return to its motto: 'Bold but faithful'.