Doorstop – Gladstone – Thursday, 17 May 2018




SUBJECTS: Turnbull and the LNP failing Central Queensland, NAIF

JASON CLARE: Well it’s great to be back in Gladstone with Labor’s candidate for Flynn, the fantastic Zac Beers. It’s good to see you again mate.

Gladstone and Rockhampton were dudded in last week’s budget. The people of Central Queensland have been let down again by Malcolm Turnbull and the LNP.

In last week’s budget there was a $17 billion tax cut for the big four banks but there was bugger all for Central Queensland. There was nothing to expand the Port Access Road here in Gladstone, there was nothing for the Rookwood Weir. There wasn’t even any money for the flood levee that needs to be built in Rockhampton.

Worse than that there were cuts. There was about $30 million ripped out of local schools, over $6 million ripped out of local hospitals and about $38 million ripped out of Central Queensland University. All to pay for a $17 billion tax cut for the big banks.

I’ve been talking to people around town today. I haven’t met one person here in Central Queensland today who thinks that we should be giving a $17 billion tax cut to the big banks. It just shows how out of touch Malcolm Turnbull is and how ineffective the local LNP politicians are here.

They’re about as useless as a glass hammer. They haven’t got anything in this budget for the people of Central Queensland. In fact all they’ve done is see local hospitals and local schools get their funding cut.

What we need here in Central Queensland is Zac Beers in Parliament fighting for the people of Central Queensland. Someone who is effective. Someone who will get money back into schools, back into hospitals. Reverse Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to our schools and hospitals and build the infrastructure we need to create more jobs. Like the extension of the Port Access Road, like the Rookwood Weir, as well as the flood levee in Rockhampton.

We can do those things, we can give the people of Central Queensland a bigger better tax cut, we can properly fund our schools and hospitals and we can build the infrastructure we need here in Central Queensland because Labor’s not going to give the big four banks a $17 billion tax cut.

I’ll make a quick comment about the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund and then I’ll hand over to Zac.

Three years ago Malcolm Turnbull’s Government announced the Northern Australia Fund $5 billion to build infrastructure and create jobs here in Northern Australia, and three years later they are only now starting to fund projects in Northern Australia. And they still haven’t funded anything here in Central Queensland. It is the most constipated organisation that Malcolm Turnbull has ever set up. They haven’t delivered anything for Central Queensland. My message today is pull your finger out and start funding good projects here in Central Queensland that are going to create jobs for the people of Queensland.

I’ll hand over to Zac and then happy to take questions.

ZAC BEERS: Thanks Jason. It’s great to be here with Jason Clare today to have a chat about what the Federal Budget means for the people of Central Queensland. As has been outlined, we have been let down yet again by this LNP and Malcolm Turnbull.

What we have seen for Central Queensland in our time of need, when people of the region are doing it tough, is nothing other than cuts. Cuts to education, cuts to hospitals, no funding for infrastructure. The people of Central Queensland have been ignored again by our poor representation here in Ken O’Dowd and Michelle Landry, with a Prime Minister that doesn’t know Central Queensland. We are doing it tough we need jobs, we need investment, we need infrastructure. All we have got is cuts from the Federal Government.     

JOURNALIST: What about the funds that were promised this morning in Queensland and then the other community [inaudible] is that not enough?

BEERS: It’s always great to see funding but the people of Central Queensland, right now, we need jobs. There are families out there doing it tough. We have been through a very significant downturn and what we have seen in this budget, when the Labor Party and Opposition has committed significant funding for projects like the Port Access Road and the Rookwood Weir, we have seen nothing to create jobs for the people of Central Queensland.

JOURNALIST: Jason obviously the Treasurer was in Rocky yesterday, would you say he’s got some nerve coming up here to promote his budget, despite Central Queensland not getting anything.

CLARE: Well I think it’s fair to say that the further you live away from Malcolm Turnbull’s mansion on Sydney Harbour the less you got in this budget.

I couldn’t believe there was no new infrastructure for anything north of the Tropic of Capricorn, nothing. It’s unbelievable. It’s almost like Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals don’t think Central and North Queensland exist.

Over the last few months Bill Shorten and I, and Anthony Albanese have been announcing project after project that we would build from here in Gladstone all the way north to Cairns. Everything from the Port Access Road here, to Rookwood Weir, to the flood levee in Rockhampton, to the widening of the channel up in Townsville and extension to the Bruce Highway in Cairns. I thought that at least some of those things the LNP would fund and support in this Budget. Nothing. That’s why I said the people of Central and North Queensland got bugger all out of the LNP.

They either don’t care about this area or they’re just ineffective. They haven’t been able to get in Malcolm Turnbull’s door and tell him that the community needs infrastructure to create jobs. Remember the unemployment rate here is about 6.9 per cent. The unemployment rate here is about double what it is in Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate. But the people of Central Queensland didn’t get anything in the Budget. Unbelievable.

JOURNALIST: Michelle Landry the Federal Member for Capricornia says obviously we’re expecting an election in the next year or so. She says she’ll start pushing for those big projects when that eventually rolls around.

CLARE: She’s been in Parliament now for a couple of years. What the hell has she been doing? She should have been pushing for this years ago. Last April when Rocky flooded, I said we need a flood levee and Bill Shorten promised $20 million to build that flood levee. That flood levee could be been built today if Michelle Landry pulled her finger out and told Malcolm Turnbull to build it.

JOURNALIST: She sort of said though it wasn’t what the community wanted. She ran a few studies.

CLARE: Well why has she changed her mind now? Now suddenly because there’s an election on her doorstep she’s back-flipped. Good politicians don’t hang around and wait for an election – they promise to build things when the community needs it.

Rocky could have flooded this year and we wouldn’t have had the flood levee. Why the prevarication? Why the delay? A good member of parliament would have listened to the community and build the flood levee. You had the local Mayor last year arguing for the flood levee. The State Government promised $20 million. The missing money here was $20 million from the Feds. We said we’d do it. We asked Malcolm Turnbull to do it. Barnaby Joyce wrote a letter, when he was the Leader of the Nats in Opposition saying he’d do it. But nothing happened. Now suddenly because we’re months away from an election, Michelle Landry is scared she’s going to lose and so she’s back-flipped.


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