How Labor’s own goal will help LNP in NQ at the next election
LABOR'S woes in Queensland headlined by Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad's Cross River Rail house at Woolloongabba will go a long way to helping hand the keys to government to the LNP on a silver platter at next year's state election.
The LNP might not win government as much as it is handed it courtesy of Ms Trad. It's not just the Queensland Treasurer's $700,000 doer-upperer that will play a huge role in the outcome of next year's election; there are the other sideshows as well.
One being the fact that a law firm where Ms Trad's husband works has been the recipient of State Government work.
And there is the peculiar matter of a $267,000 grant to a company part-owned by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's chief of staff, David Barbagallo.
This grant was for the development of a phone app that would help cruise ship passengers disseminate selfies and photos of sunsets, cocktails and food, yes, on yet more silver platters, to their social media followers.
This app is not exactly a cure for cancer and it won't stop childhood asthma, but it will be a handy tool for those rolling around the ocean on a floating feedlot.
The Government is insisting there is nothing to see here as the grant was above board, or should we say, above the water line.
Jackie Trad is the real sticking point when it comes to the Premier Palaszczuk holding on to government. Ms Trad is the smart one.
The tough nut who swears like a truckie bogged to the axles in Kajabbi mud. She was the premier in waiting. Now, her political future hangs in the balance.
Rooster one day … And let's not forget Adani.
Ms Trad was desperate to stop the Adani mine going ahead in order to appease left-leaning, anti-coal voters who will be holding her to account when she contests her inner-city seat of South Brisbane next year.
She was determined to stop the mine even though the arguments about it damaging the Reef and contributing to global warming were, and remain, beat-ups worthy of a gold-plated Oscar. And did anyone care about Labor voters who would be left on the unemployment scrap heap if the mine didn't go ahead? No.
Did anyone care about the young school leavers pinning their hopes on getting an apprenticeship at the mine? No.
Did anyone care about the opportunities for indigenous people Adani would be employing at the mine? No.
The crowd, supposedly alert to injustice at every level, was busy pushing the case of the black-throated finches.
It came down to the black-throated finch. Will anyone ever forget the black-throated finch? Ms Trad's government let the finch hold sway.
The little bird, oblivious to the kerfuffle it was causing as it flittered from grass stem to grass stem, happily munching away on seeds, would have stopped the mine proceeding if not for the shock May 18 election when Queensland voters let the ALP know it saw through its anti-mine, anti-regional development agenda.
Labor lost the unlosable election. When the blame game started, Ms Trad and her colleagues received a tap on the shoulder from the Labor bosses. Whoa. The Queensland Labor push had only itself to blame.
And now we learn that the State Government sat by and did nothing while remnant koala habitat was destroyed for housing development at Ipswich. Ipswich. Say no more. Don't even mention Paul Pisasale.
If Ned Kelly, Jesse James and Billy the Kid were ever going to ride again, they'd probably base themselves at Ipswich. The point is, the Federal Government allowed the housing development to go ahead even though koalas - threatened with extinction - would inevitably die in the process. Ms Trad and her government were using the black-throated finch to signal their environmental virtue while at the same time ignoring what was happening to koalas in their own back yard. Hypocrisy? Say no more.
SEAT DILEMMA FOR COX
WILL any of this impact negatively on Townsville's three Labor reps next year? In all likelihood, no.
Ms Trad's Cross River Rail house will probably have less an impact in Townsville than her government's failure to support Adani and to bolster the regions.
The Townsville ALP triumvirate toed the state party line and did nothing. In doing so they contributed in their own way to Bill Shorten's ignominious defeat in May. Labor's sitting Member in the seat of Herbert, Cathy O'Toole, lost to pro-coal new chum LNP candidate Phillip Thompson.
The key to the LNP gaining a foothold in Townsville will be the quality and profile of its candidates. If the LNP could swallow its pride and welcome Sam Cox back into the fold, he could win a Townsville seat.
Mr Cox would have a much better chance of winning a state seat for the LNP than he has of beating Jenny Hill in the mayoral race at the next local government election.
Whoever is telling him he can beat Jenny Hill needs their head read.
Ms Hill will go into the election with the water pipeline Stages 1 and 2 under her belt as well as her solid demeanour during the Townsville flood crisis and subsequent recovery.
And the stadium, despite controversies and cost overruns, is on its way to completion. They all mean a lot to Townsville.
The LNP needs Sam Cox and even if he doesn't know it, Sam Cox needs the LNP.
REEF BILL DOOMS CENTRES
AND while the Queensland Government tries to reassure regional Queenslanders it has their interests at heart, it is hellbent on turning towns and cities like Bundaberg, Sarina, Proserpine, Home Hill, Ayr, Ingham, Tully, Innisfail, Gordonvale and Mossman into ghost towns.
The State Government's anti-farming Reef Bill, aka the Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and other Legislation Amendment Bill, will turn this state's sugar coast into an economic wasteland.
In case you don't know, this Bill has the authority to turn every cane farmer, fruit and vegetable grower and beef producer whose farms and properties lie in the Great Barrier Reef catchment, into criminals.
Their chemical use and farming practices will be monitored by Big Brother. Suppliers and agents could be forced to inform on their clients.
It's anti-Queensland in the way it will cripple farming and it is anti-Australian in the way it could compel fertiliser and chemical suppliers to become government informants. That's not how we do things in this country.
Keep in mind as well that beef and farming properties in the Reef catchment aren't just along the coast, but extend as far west as Pentland, where Burdekin feeder streams, the Campaspe and Cape rivers, have their headwaters.
Cattle stations and farms up to Greenvale, Mt Garnet and the Atherton Tableland, down to Alpha and the Belyando and out to Mt Coolon west of Mackay, will all be caught in the State Government's Reef legislation net.
Basically, every farm and property east of the Great Dividing Range - because all rivers and creeks that flow into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon are on the eastern side of the range - will become subject to these unprecedented and draconian laws.
And remember, this is a government that is supposed to have learned a lesson from the May 18 election and is now getting behind regional Queensland.
Instead they are insisting on going ahead with legislation that is an assault on regional Queensland.
If the sugar industry shuts down as a result, sugar mills close and then businesses close as commerce grinds to a halt.
There are four mills in the Burdekin and two at Ingham.
Goodbye Ayr, Home Hill and Ingham. With friends like this in government looking after regional Queensland, who needs enemies?
BMP TAKE-UP LAGGING
THE sugarcane farming industry has made massive strides during the last 20 years in reducing farm run-off. Sediment and water catchment ponds on farms are commonplace.
The banks of creeks and streams that might have been cleared 100 years ago by great-grand pappy have in most cases been revegetated. But, despite these giant steps forward, there is one area where the sugarcane farming industry can improve: Best Management Practice, or "BMP", as it is known.
This is the industry's exposed Achille's heel and until more sugarcane growers become BMP-accredited, proving that they are responsible and doing the right thing by the environment (read, the Great Barrier Reef) they will stand accused of not being good corporate citizens.
This is not to stay that most farmers are not already doing the right thing but until they have that signed piece of paper, they stand exposed and accused.
At present only 425 growers of 1819 in the state are BMP-accredited. Others are in the pipeline and moving towards accreditation, but clearly the urgency of the situation is not appreciated by a lot of growers.
Until BMP accreditation reaches saturation point across the growing sector, the State Government will continue to wield a big stick.
If the sugarcane industry can convince the Government it is moving towards 100 per cent BMP take-up, the Government in turn should cut it some slack and water down this un-Australian reef Bill.
The Bill as it stands is anti-farming and anti-region and deserves to be opposed every step of the way.
RODEO HOPE SPARKS UP
Talented Charters Towers steer wrestling electrician Ben Terry, 23, has just returned from doing a rodeo circuit in Canada.
He'd just got home when he found he'd made the finals and is now saddling up to go back over and do it all again. He's made the finals cut for the Lakeland Rodeo Association in Alberta. The finals run from August 29 to September 1.
He's in fourth place and is hoping to bring home the winner's buckle.
DUCK POND WRECKS FEARS
TOWNSVILLE yachties want to know what is happening with the four wrecks in the Duck Pond on the seaward side of the The Ville.
One old salt who phoned me this week reckoned something needs to be sorted out before someone unfamiliar with the Duck Pond sails smack bang into one and wrecks their own boat. He reckoned it's something that needs to be sorted out by either the Port Authority or the Department of Harbours and Marine.