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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13281


Mr CHRISTENSEN (Dawson) (11:25): I am very surprised that this motion has even been raised in this place, because what we have here is a Labor government criticising a state government for cleaning up Labor's mess in Queensland. The colossal amount of Labor wastes in the resource-rich state of Queensland managed to send the state broke in the middle of the biggest mining boom that the state has ever seen. Such was Labor's track record for economic stupidity, so sick were taxpayers of seeing their tax dollars wasted, they delivered the most crushing electoral defeat on record for Labor. The reality for us Queenslanders is this: every day that we collectively get out of our beds we have to find $12 million just to pay the interest on the debt legacy that Labor left Queensland. That is $12 million a day, $84 million a week, over $360 million a month and over $1 billion a quarter, just in interest on Labor's debt. To put it in simple terms, in a bit over three days in Queensland the money we spend on interest alone—not paying off debt, just the interest on Labor's debt—could have been used to build a new school, maybe in Gracemere near the Capricornia electorate, or certainly in the member for Flynn's electorate.

Every five weeks we spend enough money on interest for Labor's debt to build a new state-of-the-art regional hospital—perhaps it could have been used to build a new Rockhampton regional hospital. In six weeks the money spent on paying interest on Labor's debt could have paid for a complete upgrade of the Peak Downs Highway in the Capricornia electorate. If you wonder why spending on non-essential needs should be cut, then you have to look no further than the Australian Labor Party.

Here we have this Labor government, having posted the four biggest budget deficits in history, lecturing the Queensland government about how to spend money. What is worse is that Labor would have us believe through this motion that they are somehow the fisherman's friend. What a joke! It is like Wile E. Coyote asking the Road Runner out for a date. They have the hide to come in here and pretend to be the friend of the fishermen and try to shift the focus from their own ineptitude. The sheer hypocrisy of it coming from the same government that cut funding to RecFish, the peak body representing recreational fishers in this nation, on the ground that the organisation might disagree with them. And Labor are criticising the Queensland government for doing exactly the same thing. What debt did Labor have to pay off to cut the funding to RecFish, the national recreational fishing body? This Labor government is now wasting $100 million of taxpayer funds to shut down commercial fishing and give zero compensation to recreational fishing throughout all of the marine park closures around Australia.

This Labor government encouraged a super trawler to come to Australia, and then when the political heat came on it rewrote the law to give the environment minister the power to ban it, Then the government also gave him the power to shut down any new fishing activity in Commonwealth waters. These are all purely political motivations that are stopping criticism from key stakeholders and pandering to the Greens. Why is it that the Greens, who have but one representative in this House, are driving all the policy decisions? Is it because the Labor Party has no idea what to do? When your only skill is to waste money you need direction from somewhere, I suppose, but instead of talking with stakeholders the Labor Party takes its directions from a fringe party whose aim is to shut down every industry in Australia and set civilisation back 1,000 years.

Labor and the Greens are not the fisherman's friend. Labor and the Greens have no understanding about recreational fishing. Firmly wedged in their inner-city, latte-sipping suburbs, they think that seafood comes from restaurant kitchens and, maybe, the supermarket. They would not know a potato cod from a potato. For the benefit of those members opposite, I seek leave to table documents on the potato cod and the potato that show the difference.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Is leave granted?

A government member: No.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Leave is not granted.

Mr CHRISTENSEN: They do not even want to know the difference. Information about the potato cod tabled or not, we know that these guys are prepared to mash the recreational and commercial fishing industry. They do not know fish, they do not know fishing, they do not know boats—unless they are full of illegals! We have the environment minister out there trying to sell the Coral Sea lockout, saying, 'Mums and dads are not going to take their tinny 300 kilometres out to sea.' Most of them do not take tinnies anywhere. If the environment minister took the time to go and look in the Mackay marina, for instance, he would not find tinnies docked there but very sophisticated and expensive craft that are capable of going out on five-day fishing trips, out beyond 300 kilometres. In North Queensland we have charter fishing companies that every day take people out to iconic and remote fishing locations for days at a time—places like Marion Reef, which Labor is going to shut down under these marine parks. If the environment minister consulted with the fishing industry he would know that, but instead he is too busy sending away to the Acme Company for the latest contraption to catch the latest roadrunner that the Greens are telling him to catch. Just like Wile E. Coyote, everything Labor has touched ends in disaster.