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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13287

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (11:50): I rise in support of the member for Capricornia's wonderful motion to oppose the Queensland Liberal National Party government's gutting of Sunfish and funding for major recreational fishing programs. Sadly, it has only been six months, but I am again rising in this place to oppose the Liberal National Party cuts occurring in Queensland, whether it be job cuts, cuts to programs such as the Queensland Literacy Awards, cuts to the TB clinic in Brisbane, cuts to breast screening, cuts to funding for taxi vouchers to people with disability, and I could go on.

I note there is an ongoing theme when I rise to speak about the Liberal National Party, which is always to do with cuts. On this particular occasion, obviously, it is to do with the LNP cuts to the recreational fishing programs. I did not hear the speeches from the member for Herbert or the member for Dawson. I did hear the member for Flynn and the member for Calare, and I note that for all four of those speakers—if I take my advice from the member from Blair—none of them actually said that Campbell Newman's decision to cut the funding for Sunfish was a good policy. None of them said that it is right. So all pressure rests on the member for Wright to stand up and defend this decision to cut jobs up the east coast of Queensland. I look forward to the member Wright, who is a good bloke and will obviously stand up and defend, because there was a damning silence from the member for Flynn when it came to supporting Campbell Newman's decision to cut. The member for Calare just went off on a frolic of his own, which was the same speech he has been giving for the last 20 years. It went straight back to 1996. That is the vision for the future. He goes straight to 1996, yet he is the modern face of the Liberal and National parties on that side of the chamber.

But let us look to the cuts to fishing in Queensland by the Newman government. To date they have: cut $8 million the Fisheries budget; cut 60 jobs from Fisheries Queensland with many of those jobs in Flynn out of the 14,000 jobs that were cut across departments; ceased funding to Sunfish Queensland, which is what this motion is all about; ceased the Fisheries observer program; ceased the industry development program for commercial and recreational fishing—

Honourable members interjecting

Mr PERRETT: So, you are telling the people in Flynn that fishery inspectors do not have real jobs. You are saying to the people in Sunfish Queensland that they do not have real jobs. Well, I hope that is some comfort for them when they go home to their wife, or their husband or their kids and say, 'Mum or Dad doesn't have a job. But it wasn't a real job, so it doesn't matter now. We don't have to pay a real mortgage anymore maybe.' That is a ridiculous statement. I hope you withdraw.

Further cuts include: ceasing the Fishcare volunteer program; ceasing operational activity for waterway barrier works construction; cutting all funding to the national Fisheries Research and Development Corporation; scaling back the freshwater fishing program—which, as someone from St George, I am particularly upset about—to focus on the Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme, freshwater stocking policy, native fish scientific expertise and pest and noxious fish; restructuring of the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol to build capacity and expertise in priority regional locations—which I notice the member for Flynn actually touched on in his speech as being a bad thing. It is amazing to have those counterintuitive arguments in the one speech; not providing funding for the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation—a decision for this year only, with review in future years; the Marine Ecology Group, seagrass monitoring, transitioning across to James Cook University; and the rationalisation of Brisbane based senior management and support services.

The LNP has also cut front line fisheries researchers, as Minister McVeigh has confirmed in writing. So, it is not surprising to hear that the Liberal National Party has failed at the national level, given that the federal coalition failed to act in response to these state cuts. As I said, we did not hear a single voice raised in the parliament by the member for Herbert, the member for Dawson, the member for Flynn or the member for Calare. All hope is resting on the member for Wright about objecting to these cuts. I go back to the comment made by the member for Blair—these were not flagged before the election, they were not in campaign material that I saw in my mailbox. Campbell Newman's actions are just a sign of what would come if, heaven forbid, the member for Warringah became Prime Minister.

This is in stark contrast to the Gillard Labor government's strong commitment to deliver a national network of marine reserves to protect our precious marine environment for future generations. I was horrified when the very first thing that the Deputy Premier said after taking office was, 'We need to cut the size of the Great Barrier Reef.' Remember that? The very first thing that the Newman government said, 'We need to make the Great Barrier Reef area smaller.' The member for Flynn who has close connections to Gladstone should be ashamed of that. (Time expired)