(Springborg - opposition.qld.gov.au) August 29 Newsletter

Submitted by Editor on Mon, 29/08/2005 - 15:44

Beattie must let court ultimately decide Nuttall's guilt or innocence
SEQ water crisis caused by Labor inaction
Hervey Bay hospital - inoperable
Farmers treated with contempt with third Minister in a month
'Silent Six' shamed over silence on health
Nationals call for grey water rebates

"Andrew Bibb"
Andrew.Bibb@opposition.qld.gov.au
www.Springborg.com.au

29 Aug 2005

Beattie must let court ultimately decide Nuttall's guilt or innocence

While I haven't got a crystal ball, I predict Peter Beattie will give Gordon Nutall a 'get out of jail free card' by having a Labor-dominated committee determine his fate rather than a court of law.

Gordon Nuttall had no choice but to stand aside over the allegations he deliberately gave false evidence to a Parliamentary Estimates Committee hearing, a breach of the criminal code carrying a jail term of up to seven years.

It's a very serious allegation as the offence is akin to perjury and must be determined in a court if sufficient evidence exists to lay charges.

I referred the matter to police after Minister Nuttall repeatedly told a Parliamentary Estimates Committee hearing he had never been told of concerns about foreign trained doctors, a claim subsequently shown to be wrong by senior bureaucrats who were later sacked.

I referred the matter to Police because that is the appropriate body to investigate a possible criminal code breach.

Independent legal advice, obtained by the CMC, has found the alleged conduct could support a charge under the Criminal Code. If charges do proceed they should be decided by a court of law.

But legal justice may not be applied in this case because Peter Beattie has already indicated his intention to refer the matter to a Parliamentary Committee, dominated by Labor politicians and we all know the likely consequences of that.

Why should Peter Beattie think he and his Ministers are above the law, the same law that every other Queenslander has to abide by?

Beattie has presided over a regime where people have died unnecessarily in our hospitals and on our roads and where vulnerable children are at risk from asbestos in schools as well as through the neglected child safety system.

It is The Nationals strong belief that Peter Beattie is no longer fit to be Premier and Labor is no longer fit to govern Queensland.

SEQ water crisis caused by Labor inaction

South-East Queenslanders face severe, ongoing water restrictions and the region's dams could run out of water by December 2006, Premier Beattie admitted in State Parliament last week.

The water crisis in South-East Queensland is a direct result of Labor's failure to accept the need for more dams and make some commonsense decisions.

The Goss Labor government scrapped the Wolffdene Dam in 1989 and for the past 16 years all Labor has done is talk about the looming water crisis, preparing report after report and plan after plan but refusing to actually build anything.

Now Mr Beattie has admitted South-East Queensland's dams could run out of water some time between December 2006 and September 2008 depending on how long the current drought lasts.

The week before the Premier blamed the health crisis on Queenslanders eating too much and getting old. Last week he blamed the looming water crisis on Queenslanders having long showers.

Given the region's rapid population the need for more water supplies should not have come as a surprise, yet all Queenslanders have had to date from Labor is water infrastructure investigations. It's been all paper and no concrete.

Last week the Premier promised to accelerate water infrastructure developments on the Logan, Albert and Mary Rivers. But again it's 'investigations, land purchases and planning'.

Again and again, the Beattie government has refused to act until services are in meltdown - whether it be the electricity system, child safety, our public hospitals, our roads and now our water supplies.

Water management is important. But if you don't have water in the first place, how on earth can you manage it. When water restrictions bite, families can thank Labor for its failure to build dams in the south-east.

Hervey Bay hospital - inoperable

Don't get sick on the Fraser Coast anytime soon because the Hervey Bay Hospital has lost virtually all specialist medicos making its emergency medical unit inoperable.

The resignation of at least five visiting medical officers meant Hervey Bay Hospital would be unable to provide emergency medical services.

The hospital's specialist medical outpatients clinics are finished ..anyone with heart problems or a serious bone break can not be treated.

Sadly the entire Queensland public health system is in meltdown as a result of Peter Beattie's chronic under-funding of health over many years and the massive cover-ups of the real state of our system by successive Labor health ministers.

The health funding shortfall for the Fraser Coast in the past year was more than $15.2 million - calculated by multiplying the region's population of 84,000 (ABS est) by the $183 per person shortfall the Beattie government spent on health compared with the average for other Australian States - as highlighted on Page 48 of the government's Forster Report.

These aren't my figures. These are the government's own figures in the Forster Report that show the average State health spend per capita in Australia is $895 while Queensland's is only $712 - a shortfall of $183 per person.

The Beattie government has been totally dishonest to the people of the Fraser Coast. The Premier continually puts his hand on his heart and says ....trust me ...when in truth he is shabbily short-changing them by more than $15 million a year in health funding.

Is it any wonder the region's public health system is in meltdown?"

In contrast, The Nationals are committed to getting the basics right in health. On election to government we will immediately enact a 'Charter of Patient Rights' to guarantee patients surgery on-time, or have their surgery paid for in the private system.

Farmers treated with contempt with third Minister in a month

Queensland farmers and fishermen are being treated with contempt by the Beattie Labor Government with the third primary industries Ministerial change in just over a month.

Gordon Nuttall's decision to stand aside while he is investigated by the Crime and Misconduct Commission highlights why he should never have been appointed in the first place.

Mr Nuttall should have been thrown out of Cabinet altogether after lying to a parliamentary committee over his knowledge of the concerns of overseas trained doctors while he was Health Minister.

In his first week of Parliament as Primary Industries Minister, Mr Nuttall provided further evidence he was not up to the job by making a serious blunder when questioned about the future of the sugar industry's single desk marketing system.

The Primary Industries and Fisheries portfolio had become a hot potato for Labor and the changing faces illustrate Labor's neglect for our $10 billion a year agricultural sector.

Under the Beattie government, primary industries just gets the crumbs off the Cabinet table, with the DPI budget slashed from $381 million in 1997-98 when Labor came to power down to just $313 million in 2005-06.

Farmers got the booby prize when Mr Nuttall was sacked as Health Minister and pushed sideways into Primary Industries even though he was under a cloud.

Now Labor has appointed as Acting Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister the accident-prone Chris Cummins, the former Emergency Services Minister best known for trying to avoid paying parking fines and telling Parliament that ambulances have licence plates on the front and back.

'Silent Six' shamed over silence on health

Labor's 'silent six' Gold Coast Members were left red-faced in State Parliament this morning over their total failure to act on the critical issues of health and water.

Labor's 'silent six' - the Members for Albert, Broadwater, Burleigh, Gaven, Mudgeeraba and Southport - have all ignored the critical Gold Coast issues of health, water and roads.

All of them need to seriously question their ability to represent Gold Coast residents and their needs. None of them have any idea on getting the basics right.

The 'silent six' shamelessly joined Labor's charade in Parliament to deflect criticism and questioning on health, asbestos, roads, water and child safety.

When it came to important issues, all we saw from the government was diversions onto issues for which it has no direct responsibility, such as Telstra.

We have a hospital system on the Gold Coast where oncology services are no longer available. We also have the government talking about closing down and selling off the existing Southport Hospital.

But nary a word do we hear from Labor's Gold Coast Members, because we have a government that is not interested in the important State issues.

Nationals call for grey water rebates

Queenslanders should be offered rebates to reduce the cost of installing grey water recycling systems that divert water from showers, bathtubs and washing machines on to gardens and lawns.

State Parliament last week unanimously passed legislation to allow councils to approve the use of grey water on gardens and lawns in areas served by a sewerage system.

The Nationals wholeheartedly supported the new laws, but were disappointed Labor refused to back our calls for grey water rebates.

While introducing laws to allow grey water to be re-used is a good start, the Beattie government should also be offering incentives to encourage householders to install grey water systems, which could cost anywhere between $2000 and $6000.

Queenslanders do care about the water they use and are aware that saving water is essential in our climate. However, everyone has bills to pay and for many the budget won't stretch to an expensive new grey water recycling system.

The Leader of the Opposition
Parliament House,
Alice Street,
Brisbane QLD 4000
Australia

www.springborg.com
Phone: (07) 3406 7997 | Fax: (07) 3221 1496

(c) 2004 authorised by L. Springborg, Parliament House, Alice St, Brisbane QLD 4000

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