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IT’S the secret tax the major parties don’t want to talk about – a system for draining money out of every citizen that can be easily supercharged to raise a trillion dollars at the flick of a switch. Both the LNP and Labor plan to introduce a Road Tax, run by a third party private consortium with management rights over the country’s road network. The trials are already well advanced and well documented but no one is saying anything about it because the major parties need something like this road tax to pay for their spending and the debt they have racked up.

Every car, truck, and bus will be fitted with a smart meter, telling the government everywhere you go and when you go there. The privacy implications alone are staggering but just as concerning is the potential for the resulting tax to be set at any level. Like the GST, this tax will be felt by everyone in the country. And just as we were told the GST would replace other taxes, we will be told the road tax will replace fuel excise and registration. Where it differs is the rate of tax can be raised to any level with just a few keystrokes and without having to get approval from the states. We might as well hand our bank account passwords to the government so they can help themselves to whatever they want.

The major parties are committed to the Road Tax because it will solve a number of problems for the government. Electric cars don’t use fuel so the government will miss out on billions of dollars in fuel excise as the government forces petrol cars off the road. Fitting them with smart meters, like e-Tags, will capture those dollars by another means and both the major parties are planning for electric cars to become the only means of transport.

The “proof of concept” trials are finished, telemetric devices have been procured, and a private ‘road-managing’ corporation engaged to run the Federal Government’s on-road Road Charging Trial throughout 2020, ending in January next year. Government bureaucrats hope to forestall any public resistance with a ‘staged’ introduction, starting with trucks and heavy vehicles, which will then be gradually expanded until every vehicle on the road is covered by the new policy.

The road tax is particularly dangerous for regional drivers, who sometimes have to drive many kilometres on State roads just to get to their neighbour’s house. The government’s new Road Tax system would force people to have a “smart meter” device or e-Tag installed in their cars. The device would send monthly readings to a private consortium, like Transurban, with rights to charge drivers for their usage of State roads. The third party “service provider” would charge drivers based on how many kilometres they had driven, which roads they had driven on, and what time of day or night it was when they did.

A road tax or ‘road-user pricing system’ has been sold to Labor and LNP as the perfect green measure with huge behaviour change advantages in reducing car usage and allowing governments to further many other broader policy objectives. It’s all part of the major parties’ plan to phase out fossil-fuelled cars completely by 2040, or even 2035 and forcing higher taxes onto fossil-fuel cars is a key mechanism being used in Norway to force people into EVs. They want everybody in electric vehicles as soon as possible, despite the fact that EVs have a much shorter driving range, require a lot more servicing and take forever to recharge. So long, in fact, that they have been known to cause grid failures and blackouts in areas where more than three or four are trying to recharge at the same time, although no-one in the media or government will tell you about that.

Background information

Both the major parties are likely to claim the Secret Road Tax is fake news so here’s some of the background information where you can confirm for yourself that this is very real and coming to a set of wheels near you:

The Inaugural Road Pricing Forum – Open Discussion surrounding the movement towards road pricing reform in major Australian Cities – to be held in 2021

https://www.informa.com.au/event/conference/road-pricing-forum/?utm_source=Google-Conferences-AAA&utm_medium=cpc-aaa&utm_campaign=AAA-road-pricing-forum-Nov-2020&gclid=CjwKCAjw0On8BRAgEiwAincsHBYLplJO7YItLQqbE8Z9tIT7Em-19uBnB4HiNs5uQDpYJCtCpw6YShoCl_YQAvD_BwE

GOVERNMENT POLICY DOCUMENTS

Federal Government Heavy Vehicle Trial Program 2020-21 – to be run in two staged trials with second one ending in January 2021

Program Flyer states: “Government has co-designed the trials with industry to inform and shape future policy” explaining that the “National Pilot will report road use data and receive mock invoices comparing their current heavy vehicle registration and fuel charges against alternative charging scenarios”.

https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/heavy/charging-trials/files/large-scale-trial-flyer.pdf

Flyer for Second Stage also gives goals as collecting “distance, mass (weight) and location data from vehicles’ telematics (distance recording) devices” and generate mock invoices.

https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/heavy/charging-trials/files/national-pilot-fact-sheet.pdf

Government website for the program

https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/heavy/charging-trials/index.aspx

Federal Government’s 2019 Infrastructure Audit – Report from Infrastructure Australia

Report states that “the transport sector risks becoming financially and environmentally unsustainable” (5.1 p. 266) and that ”the problem of cost recovery has been exacerbated by a growing disparity between increasing traffic and the decreasing return of funds to governments from fuel excise due to improved vehicle efficiency” .

It also notes that road use has increased, “while excise revenue has decreased by 20%.” (5.1 p. 266).

The Report refers to “strong support for user pays mechanisms for infrastructure” (p266) and discusses potential mechanisms for ‘behaviour change’ saying that “ We also need to look at the potential for emerging third-party revenue streams” and use of  “Telematics and vehicle tracking (to) help with scheduling and improved data collection and planning”.

Section 5.2 looks at how “Costs of road congestion and public transport crowding are forecasted to double from 2016 to 2031” and that current model is unsustainable.

https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-10/Audit%202019_Full%20pdf_Updates%20September%202020.pdf

Infrastructure Australia (Federal Government Agency under  – 2018 – Government Policy Document on Infrastructure Pricing Reform

Whole document is about “road reform” and includes a recommendation for “road user charges” to be introduced, for which IA says “there is broad agreement on the need for road infrastructure reform to drive productivity

https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-06/making-reform-happen-full-report-low-res.pdf

Parliamentary Inquiry into Road User charges – 2017-2018

Policy Position papers of all stakeholders are unanimously in favour of road user chargers, even ag bodies – see whole list at link below

https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/heavy/independent-price-regulation.aspx

Selected Policy papers on road pricing from Stakeholder groups

Australian Automobile Association Policy Position Paper supports road user pricing

https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/heavy/files/Attachment_A_AAA_Policy_Position.pdf

Business Council of Australia Policy Position paper on road user charges – August 2017

The framework for the independent price regulation for heavy vehicle charges should be designed so that it can eventually be expanded to all vehicles on Australian roads

https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/heavy/files/Business_Council_of_Australia_IPR_submission.pdf

Grain Growers Policy Position Paper on road user charges

Grain Growers support road use charges on heavy vehicles being expanded to include all road users:

The introduction of independent price regulation for road use by heavy vehicles is an important first step in establishing a full direct road user charging system

https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/heavy/files/Grain_Growers_Limited_IPR_submission.pdf

National Farmers Federation policy on road user charges – Given in Submission letter July 2017

Supports expansion of heavy vehicle user pays saying:

The NFF considers the introduction of independent price regulation for road use by heavy vehicles as an important first step in establishing a direct road user charging system.”

https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/heavy/files/National_Farmers_Federation_IPR_submission.pdf

 

Productivity Commissioner Report

The Case for Infrastructure Pricing Reform – What water can teach roads

https://www.pc.gov.au/news-media/speeches/infrastructure-pricing-reform

(PDF coming – to be uploaded soon)

STATE GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS

Victorian State Government

Policy Document on “How an efficient, fair and sustainable pricing regime can help tackle congestion

https://www.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/The-road-ahead-final-web.pdf

Victorian Government has hundreds of papers on road pricing.  Most recent I could find was a 2020 “Cost Benefit Analysis on Road Pricing

https://www.vtpi.org/tca/tca0506.pdf

NSW State Government – Productivity Commissioner -2020

Continuing the: Productivity Conversation Green Paper

‘Green Paper’ on Road Reform for NSW State Government which arguing for introduction of a pricing model based on Singapore’s Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) scheme

http://productivity.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-08/Productivity_Commission_Green%20Paper_FINAL.pdf

Australian Rail Association

Why Road Pricing is Vital to Australia’s Economic Prosperity

https://ara.net.au/sites/default/files/RoadPricingPaper_Update.pdf

Financial Services Sector -THE BIG FOUR

KPMG – 2019 Research Paper for the South Australian Government recommending Road User Scheme be introduced

https://dpti.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/625951/GlobeLink_Scoping_Study_Report_Business_Case.pdf

Deloittes and Infrastructure Partnerships Australia – Discussion Paper on Road Pricing Mechanisms – prepared with support from:

Australia’s leading motoring clubs, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), the National Roads & Motorists’ Association (NRMA), the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ), and the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV)

Whole document is on various road user charging models which they recommend be introduced.

https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/au/Documents/public-sector/deloitte-au-ps-road-pricing-transport-infrastructure-funding-260914.pdf

Price Waterhouse Coopers Report recommends third party management and road user charging

https://www.pwc.com.au/industry/infrastructure/assets/productivity-commission-infrastructure-projects-apr14.pdf

Technology Journal Article

News Media – “Rise of the Machines” – A Snapshot of the World in 2038

https://www.freightaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/rise_of_machines_2018.pdf

Transurban Research Paper on Road Charges using Melbourne Roads as the model at

https://changedconditionsahead.com/

Contains following blurb “Transurban is a vocal advocate for road-funding reform. We believe that Australia’s current system of opaque fees and charges and rapidly diminishing fuel excise should be replaced with a transparent charging system that is built on the principle that those who benefit, pay, while ensuring fairness across the community”.

International Bodies

OECD Document exploring what the social impacts will be on people when Road Pricing has been introduced

https://www.itf-oecd.org/sites/default/files/docs/social-impacts-road-pricing.pdf

US Government 2019 White Paper on” Lessons Learned for Designing Programs to Charge for Road Use, Congestion, and Emissions”

https://escholarship.org/content/qt9n8571hf/qt9n8571hf.pdf?t=q3jc3z

UN Infrastructure –

http://dev.codatu.org/wp-content/uploads/Public-transport-integration-in-a-privated-market-recent-policy-lessons-from-abroad-Charles-RIVASPLATA.pdf

FOI and RTI Documents  – Documents released under Disclosure Log 2020

https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/About-us/Right-to-Information/Disclosure-log.aspx

Email correspondence and Departmental Reports – Qld Main Roads and Infrastructure Priority – 2019

Vehicle operating cost estimation approach (ref to VLC approach)

RTI-1003 – Released 5 March 2020

RTI-1091 – Released 29 April 2020

RTI-1135 – Released 19 May 2020

Sets of emails and meeting minutes where policy offices discuss various issues to do with road reform between Queensland Main Roads and Federal body, Infrastructure Australia – discussions on driver behaviour, and how to use “taxation policy” to increase EV take-up.

In Doc 5 they worry that the increases in “fuel efficiency” could adversely effect driver behaviour by making people drive more.

Comments in the documents – doc 8 – talks about how the Department has to have long range targets “to give industry time to prepare”.

Download the emissions meeting pdf here.

Emails recommending other opportunities for Australia’s transport ministers to achieve the objectives of our Inter-Governmental Agreement, that is, by identifying reforms to improve land transport productivity, safety, environmental performance and regulatory efficiency

The NTC’s Work Program contains proposals for new reforms, approved reform projects, improvements to land transport laws, activities to monitor, review and evaluate the implementation of previously-approved reforms, and highly analytical work on heavy vehicle road user charges. (p7)

https://www.ntc.gov.au/sites/default/files/assets/files/NTC-Annual-Report-2018-19.pdf

Land transport: future challenges

  1. 21 on Heavy vehicle pricing

Heavy vehicle charges are set to recover the costs that heavy vehicles impose on the road network. These costs include road construction, maintenance and operations. Under the existing pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) system, these costs have been measured using a retrospective approach, based on seven years of historical data. That is, heavy vehicle charges are set to recover the reported historical expenditure of building, maintaining and operating the road network. Other network infrastructure (for example electricity, water, telecommunications) typically uses a ‘life-cycle’ approach based on ‘forward looking costs’ to measure the costs of investments and operations. Under this model, capital costs are recovered over the time in which assets are used and consumed.

 

 

 

HOLD on to your sunnies, radical green bureaucrats, backed by both major parties are planning a major take-down of tourism and recreational fishers in regional communities. And it doesn’t stop there. Both the Federal LNP government and State Labor government were laying the groundwork for restrictive new laws and regulations across a range of new groups, including Queensland’s $4.6 billion tourism industry.

According to the draft review of reef sustainability, regional Queenslanders and industries are in for a period of ‘potentially major and uncertain changes’. First, they came for our farmers and most people said nothing. Then they came for our miners and most people said nothing. Now it looks like anyone living outside the south-east corner is in for a hiding and we’re not hearing anything about it.

The new draft “Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan Review”, released last month, introduces a ‘sector-wide’ program of change that sets out new objectives aimed at  “protecting the Great Barrier Reef”. Any regional Queenslander who wants a job or any kind of lifestyle in the future needs to read the draft review.

According to some of the detail of this document, green bureaucrats are planning a fairly radical transformation of regional towns and communities over the next couple of decades. The main areas of human activity targeted under the new plan include:

  • Recreational fishing
  • Commercial fishing
  • Tourism – both land-based and water-based
  • Indigenous groups
  • Research activities
  • Urban townships
  • Coastal housing and infrastructure
  • Beach uses
  • Agriculture
  • Industrial activities
  • Shipping and ports
  • Recreational users of the reef, including tourists

The new plan, which calls for a further ‘ramping up’ of existing Reef Laws on farmers and commercial fishing, also proposes an extension of restrictions across a whole range of other ‘human-based activities’ – both recreational and commercial. The draft, which is just the first of a series of five-year plans to be released between now and 2050, will have an enormous negative impact on communities and businesses in the region, particularly those that heavily rely on reef tourism, or tourism-related businesses, to earn a living.

Proposals outlined in the draft paper will intensify the drive to lock up more and more areas of bushland in Central and North Queensland. This will greatly reduce people’s access to, and enjoyment of our beautiful natural hinterland. Today, more than 682,772 hectares of land have been given up by private landholders to the State government under its Nature Refuge Agreements Scheme. This land has been re-designated as “protected zones” and closed off permanently from the public.

The draft review calls for stricter laws around coastal infrastructure, planning, development and land use, as well as suggestions for measures that will  ‘induce behaviour change’ within regional communities. Groups singled out in the new Reef Plan, include business, tourism, industry, mining, farmers, Indigenous communities, commercial and recreational fishers, private homeowners, as well as commercial and recreational boat operators.

They are planning to restrict recreational fishing as well as 4-wheel driving on beaches. The plan proposes a new 4-wheel drive permit system, strict speed limits, and restricted beach access points. These bureaucrats are making decisions and laying down edicts that undermine people’s lives and livelihoods. There has been no transparency from either of the major parties around some of these changes.  Some of the changes here are pretty radical, and yet there has been almost no widespread public discussion or debate around the likely costs or consequences to the community of all this.

I’m calling on all Queenslanders to have their say on the Draft Plan before public consultation closes at the end of this month.

TO HAVE YOUR SAY:

read the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan Public Consultation Draft

Submit your feedback by 11.59pm AEST Wednesday 30 September 2020.

https://haveyoursay.awe.gov.au/reef-2050-plan

 

STATE Member for Mirani, Stephen Andrew, is backing a proposal to build a multi-motorsport venue, including a “drift pad” at the Palmyra Dragway to help get illegal hooning off the local streets.

YOU CAN SIGN THE PETITION BELOW

“I think there needs to be a little more carrot and a little less stick,” Mr Andrew said. “The State government is spending a lot of money on policing and cracking down on hoons so I’d like to see some of that funding go towards something more constructive.”

To lend more weight to his push, he is seeking help with a petition, both online and hard-copy version, that people can sign to show their support for the project. “The more support we can demonstrate for this project, the more likely we are of securing the $280,000 funding required through whatever means possible,” Mr Andrew said.

The Palmyra Drag Racing Club wants to upgrade the eastern safety wall at Palmyra Dragway to ensure it meets all safety requirements to continue to hold drag racing events. But another major upgrade for the facility is the sealed area at the southern end, with plans to build 9000 sqm of multi-use bitumen.

Mr Andrew said the project would provide an area for local motorsport clubs to run motorsport events as well as advanced driver training. “This project would give motorsport enthusiasts in the region a safe and controlled place to have competitions or come-and-try days,” he said.

Mr Andrew said one of the great advantages of building a drift pad at the venue would be getting those kinds of activities off the local roads. “I have been contacted many times by families upset by illegal hooning in their suburban street in the middle of the night. No one should have put up with screeching tyres at 2am on a regular basis, especially when you have small children trying to sleep,” he said. “Building a dedicated facility in a safe environment away from the suburbs should help alleviate that problem so I’m hoping to see support from not only those who want to use the facility but locals who want to get more sleep.”

 

While the Queensland Government is busy tilting at windmills and pouring money into “green” energy, it is failing to take advantage of a gold mine in royalties right under its nose. Mount Morgan’s gold mine could pull Queensland and Australia out of debt for a third time as the State looks for a post-COVID economic recovery.

Labor’s Minister for Mines and Energy yesterday found the time to spruik the 15 ongoing jobs to come from a billion dollar wind farm investment, but he couldn’t find the time for a meeting about Mount Morgan. I have been urgently seeking State Government support for fixing the environmental hangover from previous mines while kickstarting a new era for Mount Morgan and Queensland.

Private enterprise is already prepared to stump up $50 million for the first stage of fixing environmental issues caused by past mining practices and we desperately need the State Government to match that commitment. In the process of restarting production of gold in one of the most historic mines in Australia, the current lease-holders can fix a looming environmental disaster. The Government’s approach to handling the toxic waste to date has only served to concentrate it and kick the can down the road. It really is incumbent on the government to finally fix the problem caused by the very mining practices that dragged Queensland out of debt in the past. As yet, the Minister for Mining in Queensland has not agreed to a meeting to discuss the proposal.

Re-opening the mine site for processing gold would create direct and indirect jobs in the town but it would also be a tremendous boost to tourism in the region and across Queensland. There is a big difference between visiting an historic gold mine and visiting an historic gold mine that is still in operation. Mount Morgan has so much to offer tourists already but not many people are aware of the history and the important role the town has played in creating the country we see today. It’s fair to say Mount Morgan could become a key destination for tourism in Queensland but it can’t happen if the State Government doesn’t realise the potential.

The economic benefits for the State could be substantial and that was exactly what is needed in a post-COVID economy. COVID-19 has dealt a devastating blow to our economy and if we are going to get back on track we need to focus on the things that will KickStart Queensland with new and expanding industry and job creation wherever possible. The Queensland Government stands to gain an enormous amount from royalties they will receive from every ounce of gold coming out of the mine and there is a lot of gold left in Mount Morgan.

When Queensland’s sudden border closure locks out miners and puts Queensland mines in danger of having to close, you’ve got to wonder if it simply wasn’t thought through or if it was a deliberate swipe at the mining industry. If key workers can’t go to work (or be replaced at short notice), no one can go to work. We know Labor is planning for the closure of coal mines so it’s a valid question to ask. It’s not like the Labor Party is against NSW FIFO workers coming into Queensland to work. After all, it was Labor that issued the approval for Bowen Basin coal mines to employ a 100% FIFO workforce in the first place.

Closing Queensland’s border to key mineworkers at such short notice could have a devastating impact on the State’s economy. And yet tonight’s closure of Queensland’s border looks set to strand FIFO mine workers from interstate. If so, this would be a massive blow to Queensland’s mining industry, which has been widely touted as Queensland’s best hope for a fast economic recovery Post-COVID.

We need urgent clarity from the Queensland Government on this issue. The mining industry is heavily reliant on FIFO workers and if hundreds of these workers are to be barred from entering Queensland it is going to make it very difficult for some of them to operate. Mining, along with agriculture, is crucial to Queensland’s economy, and the government should be doing everything possible to protect it. Arbitrary actions like this border closure that imposes blanket restrictions with almost no notice, could seriously jeopardise the industry’s viability.

The Australian Minerals Council, who represents the nation’s largest mining enterprises, also criticised the move. According to the AMC, the suddenness of the border closure notice had given Queensland miners no time to work out how they will staff their mines properly without the large number of FIFO workers they normally employ.

The Queensland mining sector had one of the best Covid-19 safety frameworks in the country. Their record for keeping mine workers, their families and local communities safe has been exemplary. That’s why I’m calling on the Premier to immediately issue an exemption for FIFO mine workers or risk doing enormous damage to the sector – a sector that has contributed huge amounts of money in royalties to the Queensland Treasury over recent years.

 

Both major parties, the LNP and the Labor Party, waived through new laws in Queensland Parliament this week that will digitise the personal details, including identification photos and signatures, and make the information available to a variety of government and non-government organisations. And the process will be undertaken by a foreign-owned company.

Most Queenslanders would be very concerned about that, which is probably why the facts were buried in the legislation’s explanatory notes and glossed over by LNP and Labor speakers. It was, however, exposed by State Member for Mirani, Stephen Andrew:

 

Speech on the Transport Legislation (Road Safety, Technology and Other Matters Amendment Bill)

14 July 2020

I want to confine my comments today to another area of the bill, the implementation and operation of a digital licence app in Queensland.

The fact is that I do not think the government is being at all transparent in relation to this new app scheme or its real purpose. The app is described in the explanatory notes as little more than a matter of public utility for the general convenience and welfare of Queenslanders. The notes further reassure us that the current bill’s power to keep and use information will be exercised in limited circumstances only and states on page 21 that information shared under part 5 of the bill will not include a digital photo or digitised signature. A careful reading of the relevant sections of the bill, however, show just the opposite will be the case.

The issue of what information is shared with outside parties will be dealt with by the provisions of the Photo Identification Card Act 2008, which the current bill amends. Under the provisions of the newly amended Photo Identification Card Act, the chief executive will be authorised to retain and release information obtained through the digital licence app.

Moreover, under the amended Photo Identification Card Act’s definition, information is inclusive of a digital photo and digitised signature. The explanatory notes reassurances on this point are highly misleading. This lack of transparency can hardly be accidental since the Commonwealth government recently revealed that the Queensland government has already undertaken to share the new digital licence app’s photos and information.

In answer to a question in senate estimates last month, the Department of Home Affairs confirmed Queensland had fully committed to the uploading of digital licence app data to the National Driver Licence Facial Recognition Solution, NDLFRS. The current driver’s licence system lacks the high-definition facial imaging required for the Commonwealth’s new NDLFRS system.

The new digital licence app, however, solves this problem. This is the real purpose of the new app. The app’s high definition facial imaging data will be shared with the Commonwealth government and the biometric templates created from these images stored indefinitely.

Ultimately the plan is to allow law enforcement, intelligence agencies and even NGOs to share and access Australian citizens’ identity information in real time. I am also concerned with a comment in the explanatory notes that says the new app will initially include digital driver’s licences, photo identification cards and recreational licences.

That word ‘initially’ bothers me a lot. Exactly what other information is the government planning to include under this system? Health information? Tax and Insurance information? DNA data? The list of possibilities is endless and none of them very good.

Another question I have is: Why is the app being designed in partnership with a foreign-owned global military-industrial company with close ties to the US military, NASA and military grade hardware companies like Raytheon?

Thales is a company that not only boasts close ties with the US Army, US Navy, US Pacific Command and NATO, but one which describes itself as a leading provider of combat management systems and electronic warfare. According to its website, the Norwegian owned Thales leads the world in surveillance, detection and intelligence systems. Its motto is ‘Whatever it takes’—as long as it is not taking our privacy. That is not a very comforting resume for a non-state party being given unparalleled access and control to the sensitive biometric data of all Queenslanders.

That brings up the other situation in a digital world of being hacked and the situation of being open to be hacked. We put a lot of effort and time into our digital processes and there is always that situation. This bill relates to a whole area of governance that is rife with known and unknown risks to the citizen and about which there is a distinct lack of transparency or legislated control provisions. In a speech to the UN last year, the British Prime Minister warned about the dangers we face with new technologies of surveillance and control. He concluded his speech by saying that digital authoritarianism has become an emerging reality and unless we ensure that new technology reflects human rights and democratic freedoms, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will mean nothing.

In Queensland we urgently need increased oversight and regulation by independent statutory commissioners, particularly around the areas of consent, retention, sharing and use of people’s biometric information. Until that happens, all bills like this should be rejected.

ALMOST a million Australians are unemployed but the Queensland government can’t rouse itself to fast-track approving the only potential large-scale job creation in Australia: new Queensland mines. Official June figures, released today, show the highest jobless percentage (7.4 per cent) since recorded statistics began In 1998. The 992,000 people now unemployed was an increase of 69,000 on figures for May.

Now is the time to KickStart the Queensland economy by taking advantage of our best performing industries. Any government that refuses to fast-track large-scale jobs, in the worst recession in a century, is just suicidal. By refusing to extend coal-mining in Queensland, the Labor government is effectively throwing extra hundreds of miners onto the dole.

Several Central and North Queensland coal mines are not at peak production.  And still, whenever they have to sign the last authorisation for more coal mines, paralysis sets in. Their hands shake, and they just can’t bring themselves to do it.

The State Department has confirmed there are six coal mine applications, most listed for several years, scheduled to employ as many as 10,000 people. That kind of large scale job creation is exactly what we need and we are very fortunate, in Queensland, to have the means to do it. This is urgent. The government has to authorise these new mines. And it has to do it soon.

The Isaac Regional Council is taking final submissions on its new planning scheme (submissions close on 20 July 2020). As the State Member for Mirani, I am making the below submission and I publish it here so you can see what my feedback on the scheme and, if you wish, you can copy and paste (make any edits you wish) and make a submission yourself. They just need to be emailed to records@isaac.qld.gov.au by 5pm on Monday, 20 July 2020.

Office of the Mayor

Isaac Regional Council

PO Box 94

MORANBAH  QLD  4744

 

Dear Cr Baker,

RE:     SUBMISSION TO THE ISAAC REGIONAL COUNCIL

PROPOSED NEW PLANNING SCHEME  

 

What is being proposed by the Council amounts to little more than a policy of “planned retreat” that will ultimately see the relocation of human habitation out of coastal, rural and forest areas and into sustainable, affordable, communal, urban ‘live where you work’ hubs that virtually every Environmental Minister since 1990 has advocated and legislated for in this State.

No shacks on the beach, no sole occupancy detached dwellings, no family homes, no backyards, no pets and definitely no living in the hills or bush or by a stream in your old age.  Just communal living in low rise unit developments everywhere, with as small a ‘human footprint’ as they can get away with forcing on us.

The proposed changes to Planning contained in the new scheme are part and parcel of an ongoing program of transformative and radical change through the use of stealth and incrementalism.  A program that is being carried out in Australia at a Federal, State and Local level.  It relies on the strategic presumption that small changes brought in gradually will not provoke community protest action or media attention until it is too late.

The introduction of four new hazard zone mapping overlays for coast, fire, dust and flood will have a devastating impact on the Isaac Region’s economy and its capacity for future growth.  For landholders, the adverse impacts will be many, ranging from growing restrictions on access and uses of land in the region, to other issues around insurance and legal liability, increased costs and an overall reduction in property and resale value.

These mapping overlays have been shown to be excessively broad in their zoning designations and through Public consultation meetings at Clairview, Stephen Andrew State Member for Mirani was informed by the presenting Cardno Engineers the mapping overlays were in error by 48% (They were only half right).

The Member also requested information at that meeting, concerning what an increased compliment of renewables/reduction of current emissions would have on the predictive water rises and was afforded no answers..

So renewable implementation has not been taken into consideration, why not?  Greenhous Gas emissions are supposed to be central to Climate Change temperatures and therefore directly related to Sea Level Rise predictions, which suggests these predictions are built on fiction, not hard facts.

Under these overlays, and Government’s propensity for expanding their boundaries, almost every property in the Region will ultimately be at risk of inclusion in the new Hazard zones.  This means every resident of the Isaac Region should be concerned with the direction this scheme is going in.  At this rate, we are going to see a complete lockdown of the bush and coast, with many areas highly regulated and taxed, and others completely restricted and off limits.

The new Scheme is neither proportionate or democratic in response to the various inflated ‘climate change’ risk assessments contained in the mapping overlays.

In fact, the erosion of Farmers’ Property Rights as a result of the State’s Vegetation Management laws will look like ‘child’s play’ compared to what will happen should these draconian changes be passed.

Common law ‘property rights’ as we and our forefathers understood them will be rendered meaningless.  At this rate, owning a property will become so loaded down with restrictions and additional costs that there will be no incentive or reason to own property anymore.

The whole idea of a democracy is that you elect representatives who will follow the public’s lead on what is right for the country and their region, but this isn’t what we’re seeing in Queensland anymore.  In the case of this new Planning Scheme, the people of Isaac Region are no longer telling their public officials what they want or need done, they are being told  what their public officials want done and how.  All to further a collectivist Green Agenda, bent on revolutionising land access, use and management in Queensland, whether Queenslanders like it or not.

I ask that the Council scrap the proposed changes to the Isaac Regional Council Planning laws for the good of the community and the State.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Stephen Andrew

Member for Mirani

 

THE Great Barrier Reef narrative desperately needs a reality check to give taxpayers and tourist workers a fair deal. Dodgy science and fake news on the reef were costing taxpayers and tourism operators billions of dollars for the sake of perpetuating an ideological myth.

The reef has been used as a weapon in the extremists’ war against capitalism, democracy and the Australian way of life. They say truth is the first casualty of war and that certainly seems to be the case as highly dubious evidence has been used to attack farmers, industry, and everything socialists hate. That narrative – that mining and farmers have killed the reef – is translating to fewer visitors from interstate and overseas.

I met with leading reef expert, Dr Peter Ridd, in Mackay to discuss what was needed for the future of the reef and North Queensland. Dr Ridd identified two key things we needed to change regarding the reef.

“We need to get the science evidence checked and we need to start telling the people in the south-east corner (of Queensland) that not everything that you’ve heard about the state of the reef is true,” he said. “We’re spending a whole lot of money supposedly on the basis that the reef is badly damaged when all the evidence would seem to indicate that it’s not. I’m just asking for a little bit of money just to check some of that science and also to get the message out to the people in the south-east that in fact the reef is in really good shape. There’s all these people down there who think it’s completely damaged when it’s not. It’s in way better condition (than that), probably in excellent condition.”

Both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have rejected my call to withdraw the billions of taxpayer dollars being used to fight an ideological war against farmers. Both major parties at both levels of government are throwing money at the reef and in the war against farmers because they think it will win votes in the capital cities. But those billions of dollars won’t make any real difference to the reef. They will just send farmers and regional Queensland broke.

At a time when we need to get our economy going again, the last thing we want to see is taxpayer money being used to kill off our most productive industries in mining and agriculture.