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					 TO BE IN TIME FOR CORRECTION                                                                                                                              PROOF ISSN 1322-0330
 PROOFS MUST BE RETURNED
 BY 12 noon TO THE
 CHIEF HANSARD REPORTER




RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
                                                                             (PROOF)
                                          Hansard Home Page: http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/hansard/
                                                    E-mail: hansard@parliament.qld.gov.au
                                                  Phone: (07) 3406 7314 Fax: (07) 3210 0182

Subject                                                                                                                                                                                    Page
                         FIRST SESSION OF THE FIFTY-THIRD PARLIAMENT

                                         Thursday, 23 April 2009
SPEAKER’S STATEMENT .............................................................................................................................................................. 143
       Anzac Day ............................................................................................................................................................................ 143
PETITIONS ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 143
TABLED PAPERS ............................................................................................................................................................................ 144
MINISTERIAL PAPERS ................................................................................................................................................................... 144
       Service Delivery and Performance Commission, Reports ................................................................................................... 144
                 Tabled paper: Service Delivery and Performance Commission: Report on the review of regulatory reform
                 (Phase 2)—Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000, March 2008.................................................................. 144
                 Tabled paper: Queensland government response to the recommendations of the Service Delivery and
                 Performance Commission: Report on the review of regulatory reform (Phase 2)—Property Agents and
                 Motor Dealers Act 2000............................................................................................................................................ 144
                 Tabled paper: Service Delivery and Performance Commission: Report on the service delivery and performance
                 management review of the Queensland Police Service, June 2008. ....................................................................... 144
                 tabled paper: Queensland government response to the Service Delivery and Performance Commission: Report
                 on the service delivery and performance management review of the Queensland Police Service. ......................... 144
       Reports ................................................................................................................................................................................. 144
                 Tabled paper: Electoral Commission Queensland: Statistical profiles—Queensland state electoral districts,
                 research report 1/2009. ............................................................................................................................................ 144
                 Tabled paper: Office of the Public Advocate: annual report 2007-08....................................................................... 144
                 Tabled paper: Office of the Adult Guardian: annual report 2007-08......................................................................... 144
NOTICE OF MOTION ....................................................................................................................................................................... 145
       Revocation of State Forest Area .......................................................................................................................................... 145
MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS .......................................................................................................................................................... 145
       Altruistic Surrogacy .............................................................................................................................................................. 145
       Overseas Trade Mission ...................................................................................................................................................... 146
       Premier’s Reading Challenge ............................................................................................................................................... 146
       Anzac Day ............................................................................................................................................................................ 147
       Health System, Infrastructure Projects ................................................................................................................................. 147
       International Monetary Fund, Economic Forecast ................................................................................................................ 148
       Altruistic Surrogacy .............................................................................................................................................................. 148
                 Tabled paper: Government response to the report of the Investigation into Altruistic Surrogacy Committee—
                 Investigation into the decriminalisation and regulation of altruistic surrogacy in Queensland. ................................. 148



J R MICKEL                                                                            N J LAURIE                                                                        L J OSMOND
SPEAKER                                                                        CLERK OF THE PARLIAMENT                                                     CHIEF HANSARD REPORTER
                                                               Table of Contents — Thursday, 23 April 2009


      National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy .................................................................................................. 148
      Queensland Police Service, Review ..................................................................................................................................... 149
               Tabled paper: Service delivery and performance review implementation strategy, dated April 2009....................... 149
      Airport Link ............................................................................................................................................................................ 149
      North-West Queensland, Beef Industry ................................................................................................................................ 150
      Queensland War Memorial Register ..................................................................................................................................... 150
      South-East Queensland Water Grid ..................................................................................................................................... 151
      Family Responsibilities Commission ..................................................................................................................................... 152
      Main Roads ........................................................................................................................................................................... 152
      Cairns Transit Network ......................................................................................................................................................... 153
      Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs ..................................................................................................................................................... 153
PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES .................................................................................................................................................. 154
      Orders of Appointment; Membership; Referrals ................................................................................................................... 154
VEGETATION MANAGEMENT (REGROWTH CLEARING MORATORIUM) BILL ....................................................................... 156
      Declared Urgent; Allocation of Time Limit Order .................................................................................................................. 156
               Division: Question put—That the motion be agreed to. ............................................................................................ 157
               Resolved in the affirmative........................................................................................................................................ 157
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE ..................................................................................................................................................... 157
      Job Creation ......................................................................................................................................................................... 157
      Job Creation ......................................................................................................................................................................... 158
      Green Army .......................................................................................................................................................................... 158
      Employment .......................................................................................................................................................................... 159
      Q150 Celebrations ................................................................................................................................................................ 160
      Unemployment ...................................................................................................................................................................... 160
      Unemployment ...................................................................................................................................................................... 161
      Ministerial Adviser, Dismissal for Drink Driving ..................................................................................................................... 161
      ZeroGen ................................................................................................................................................................................ 162
      Electricity Prices ................................................................................................................................................................... 162
      Public Transport .................................................................................................................................................................... 162
      Airport Link ............................................................................................................................................................................ 163
      Tourism Industry ................................................................................................................................................................... 163
      Emissions Trading Scheme .................................................................................................................................................. 164
      World War II, Queensland Sites of Importance ..................................................................................................................... 165
               Tabled paper: Document titled ‘WWII: NQ: A cultural heritage overview of significant places in the defence of
               north Queensland during World War II’..................................................................................................................... 165
      Drivers, Wearing of Glasses ................................................................................................................................................. 165
      Supreme and District Courts Complex .................................................................................................................................. 166
      Australian Agricultural College Corporation .......................................................................................................................... 166
      Disability Services, Adult Accommodation ............................................................................................................................ 167
      Mental Health, Review Recommendations ........................................................................................................................... 167
      Beef Industry ......................................................................................................................................................................... 168
NOTICE OF MOTION ........................................................................................................................................................................ 168
      Revocation of State Forest Areas ......................................................................................................................................... 168
PARLIAMENT OF QUEENSLAND AMENDMENT BILL .................................................................................................................. 168
      First Reading ........................................................................................................................................................................ 168
               Tabled paper: Parliament of Queensland Amendment Bill. ......................................................................................169
               Tabled paper: Parliament of Queensland Amendment Bill, explanatory notes......................................................... 169
      Second Reading ................................................................................................................................................................... 169
SUPERANNUATION (STATE PUBLIC SECTOR) AMENDMENT BILL .......................................................................................... 169
      First Reading ........................................................................................................................................................................ 169
               Tabled paper: Superannuation (State Public Sector) Amendment Bill. .................................................................... 170
               Tabled paper: Superannuation (State Public Sector) Amendment Bill, explanatory notes. ...................................... 170
      Second Reading ................................................................................................................................................................... 170
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AMENDMENT BILL .............................................................................................................................. 170
      First Reading ........................................................................................................................................................................ 170
               Tabled paper: Industrial Relations Amendment Bill. ................................................................................................. 170
               Tabled paper: Industrial Relations Amendment Bill, explanatory notes.................................................................... 170
      Second Reading ................................................................................................................................................................... 170
CORONERS AND OTHER ACTS AMENDMENT BILL ................................................................................................................... 171
      First Reading ........................................................................................................................................................................ 171
               Tabled paper: Coroners and Other Acts Amendment Bill. ........................................................................................ 171
               Tabled paper: Coroners and Other Acts Amendment Bill, explanatory notes........................................................... 171
      Second Reading ................................................................................................................................................................... 171
PROPERTY LAW AND ANOTHER ACT AMENDMENT BILL ........................................................................................................ 172
      First Reading ........................................................................................................................................................................ 172
               Tabled paper: Property Law and Another Act Amendment Bill................................................................................. 172
               Tabled paper: Property Law and Another Act Amendment Bill, explanatory notes. ................................................. 172
      Second Reading ................................................................................................................................................................... 172
                                                        Table of Contents — Thursday, 23 April 2009


CRIME AND MISCONDUCT AND SUMMARY OFFENCES AMENDMENT BILL .......................................................................... 173
      First Reading ........................................................................................................................................................................ 173
               Tabled paper: Crime and Misconduct and Summary Offences Amendment Bill...................................................... 173
               Tabled paper: Crime and Misconduct and Summary Offences Amendment Bill, explanatory notes. ...................... 173
      Second Reading ................................................................................................................................................................... 174
VEGETATION MANAGEMENT (REGROWTH CLEARING MORATORIUM) BILL ........................................................................ 175
      Second Reading ................................................................................................................................................................... 175
HEALTH AND OTHER LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL ........................................................................................................... 182
      First Reading ........................................................................................................................................................................ 182
               Tabled paper: Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill................................................................................... 183
               Tabled paper: Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill explanatory notes. .................................................... 183
      Second Reading ................................................................................................................................................................... 183
VEGETATION MANAGEMENT (REGROWTH CLEARING MORATORIUM) BILL ........................................................................ 185
      Second Reading ................................................................................................................................................................... 185
               Tabled paper: Map showing moratorium regrowth vegetation areas, described as centred on Lot on Plan:
               4 RW626................................................................................................................................................................... 185
               Tabled paper: Map showing moratorium regrowth vegetation areas, described as centred on Lot on Plan:
               143 RN1308. ............................................................................................................................................................ 186
               Tabled paper: Map showing moratorium regrowth vegetation areas, described as centred on Lot on Plan:
               183 BNT56. .............................................................................................................................................................. 186
               Tabled paper: Map showing riparian areas. ............................................................................................................. 186
ORDER OF BUSINESS .................................................................................................................................................................... 210
VEGETATION MANAGEMENT (REGROWTH CLEARING MORATORIUM) BILL ........................................................................ 211
      Second Reading ................................................................................................................................................................... 211
               Tabled paper: Article from the Queensland Country Life, dated 16 April 2009, titled ‘Woolies Tells Rudd:
               Help Australian farmers’. .......................................................................................................................................... 241
               Tabled paper: Report by the Queensland Government, Natural Resources and Water, titled ‘Land cover
               change in Queensland 2006-07: Statewide Landcover and Trees Study Report’.................................................... 244
               Division: Question put—That the bill be now read a second time. ........................................................................... 244
               Resolved in the affirmative. ...................................................................................................................................... 244
      Consideration in Detail ......................................................................................................................................................... 245
               Clause 1—................................................................................................................................................................ 245
               Tabled paper: Ministerial Media Statement, dated 18 February 2009, titled ‘Bligh welcomes new tree
               clearing data’. ........................................................................................................................................................... 246
               Division: Question put—That Mr Seeney’s amendment be agreed to...................................................................... 248
               Resolved in the negative. ......................................................................................................................................... 248
               Non-government amendment (Mr Seeney) negatived. ............................................................................................ 248
               Clause 1, as read, agreed to. .................................................................................................................................. 248
               Clause 2, as read, agreed to. ................................................................................................................................... 248
               Clause 3—................................................................................................................................................................ 248
               Tabled paper: Extract of Mr Langbroek’s speech in Hansard, dated 21 April 2004, in relation to the Vegetation
               Management and Other Legislation Amendment Bill. .............................................................................................. 251
               Tabled paper: Extract of Dr Flegg’s speech in Hansard, dated 20 April 2004, in relation to the Vegetation
               Management and Other Legislation Amendment Bill. .............................................................................................. 251
               Tabled paper: Extract of Mr Quinn’s speech in Hansard, dated 20 April 2004, in relation to the Vegetation
               Management and Other Legislation Amendment Bill. .............................................................................................. 251
               Division: Question put—That Mr Seeney’s amendment be agreed to...................................................................... 251
               Resolved in the negative. ......................................................................................................................................... 252
               Non-government amendment (Mr Seeney) negatived. ............................................................................................ 252
               Clause 3, as read, agreed to. ................................................................................................................................... 252
               Clauses 4 to 17, as read, agreed to. ........................................................................................................................ 252
               Clause 18—.............................................................................................................................................................. 252
               Division: Question put—That the amendment be agreed to..................................................................................... 253
               Resolved in the negative. ......................................................................................................................................... 254
               Non-government amendment (Mr Seeney) negatived. ............................................................................................ 254
               Clauses 18 to 39 and schedules 1 and 2—.............................................................................................................. 254
               Division: Question put—That clauses 18 to 39 and schedules 1 and 2, as read, be agreed to. .............................. 254
               Resolved in the affirmative. ...................................................................................................................................... 254
               Clauses 18 to 39 and schedules 1 and 2, as read, agreed to. ................................................................................. 254
      Third Reading ....................................................................................................................................................................... 254
      Long Title .............................................................................................................................................................................. 254
SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT .............................................................................................................................................................. 254
ADJOURNMENT .............................................................................................................................................................................. 254
      Country Racing ..................................................................................................................................................................... 255
      Bribie Island Orchid Club ...................................................................................................................................................... 255
      Gold Coast, AFL Team ......................................................................................................................................................... 256
      Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve ................................................................................................................................................. 256
               Tabled paper: Flyer, titled ‘Save Steve’s Place’, regarding the proposed mining area on the Steve Irwin
               Wildlife Reserve........................................................................................................................................................ 256
                                                              Table of Contents — Thursday, 23 April 2009


     BrisConnections .................................................................................................................................................................... 257
     Gold Coast Waterways ......................................................................................................................................................... 257
     Southern Freight Rail Corridor .............................................................................................................................................. 258
              Tabled paper: Bundle of documents regarding a complaint referred to the CMC and ASIC in relation to the
              Southern Freight Rail Corridor. ................................................................................................................................. 258
     Barron River Electorate, Election Promises .......................................................................................................................... 258
     Volunteering .......................................................................................................................................................................... 259
     Telford, Mr JR ....................................................................................................................................................................... 259
ATTENDANCE .................................................................................................................................................................................. 260
23 Apr 2009                                        Legislative Assembly                                                      143


                               THURSDAY, 23 APRIL 2009

                                                       Legislative Assembly
     The Legislative Assembly met at 9.30 am.
     Mr Speaker (Hon. John Mickel, Logan) read prayers and took the chair.
     Mr Speaker acknowledged the traditional owners of the land upon which this parliament is
assembled and the custodians of the sacred lands of our state.

                                            SPEAKER’S STATEMENT
                                                         Anzac Day
      Mr SPEAKER: As Anzac Day approaches, I want to acknowledge the sacrifice and bravery of the
men and women of Queensland who have served our nation in our Defence Force in times of war and
peace. We especially remember those who made the supreme sacrifice and their families, for whom
Anzac Day will have special significance. I ask that we also remember the men and women of the
Australian Defence Force who continue to serve overseas, especially in dangerous war zones such as
Afghanistan, and their families. They are serving our nation and our state with great distinction in the
true Anzac tradition. I thank the House.

                                                       PETITIONS
The Clerk presented the following paper petitions, lodged by the honourable members indicated—

                                                      Recycled Sewerage
Mr Stevens, a paper petition from 705 petitioners, and an e-petition from 18,932 petitioners, requesting the House to immediately
prohibit the use of recycled sewerage effluent for storage and release into the drinking system and divert to the sole use by only
industry and agriculture in the State of Queensland.

                                                      Elanora, Police Beat
Mrs Stuckey, from 1,214 petitioners, requesting the House to urgently locate a police beat within the Pines Shopping Centre at
Elanora on the Gold Coast.

                                                      Ingham, Palm Creek
Mr Cripps, from 2,869 petitioners, requesting the House to allocate funding to the Hinchinbrook Shire Council for it to provide
flood free access for vehicles and pedestrians over Palm Creek during a flood event and construct a dedicated Emergency
Accommodation/Evacuation Centre in the township of Ingham.
                                          Herbert River and Hinchinbrook Channel
Mr Cripps, from 286 petitioners, requesting the House to make allowances for the removal of river sand and sediment from the
Herbert River and the Hinchinbrook Channel to alleviate the impact of the flooding problems on local communities in the
Hinchinbrook Shire.

                         Karana Downs, Mount Crosby, Anstead, Karalee and Chuwar, Bus Service
Dr Flegg, from 226, petitioners, requesting the House to subsidise the local bus service through Karana Downs, Mount Crosby,
Anstead, Karalee and Chuwar.

                                                       Palm Island, Riot
Ms Johnstone, from 119 petitioners, requesting the House to immediately pardon all Aboriginal people who were connected of
offences relating to the Palm Island riot.

                                                   Royal Children’s Hospital
Mr McArdle, from 201 petitioners, requesting the House to protect and enhance facilities at the Royal Children’s Hospital and
consider more carefully the decision to close the Hospital.

                                                     Murray Island, School
Mr O’Brien, from 172 petitioners, requesting the House to finalise negotiations with the Traditional Owners about the new site for
a school and to allocate funding for its construction on Murray Island in the Torres strait


The Clerk presented the following e-petitions, sponsored by the honourable members indicated—

                                                        Daylight Saving
Mr Fenlon, from 2,705 petitioners, requesting the House to consider introducing daylight savings into the whole of Queensland
commencing in October 2009.
Petitions received.
144                                                 Ministerial Papers                                      23 Apr 2009

                                                 TABLED PAPERS
MINISTERIAL PAPERS TABLED BY THE CLERK
The following ministerial papers were tabled by the Clerk—
Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (Ms Boyle)—
•      Family Responsibilities Commission: Report to the Family Responsibilities Board and the Premier of Queensland—
       Quarterly Report No. 1 and 2, 2008—July-December 2008
•      Quarterly report on key indicators in Queensland’s discrete Indigenous communities, October-December 2008
Minister for Transport (Ms Nolan)—
•      Response from the Minister for Transport (Ms Nolan) to a paper petition (1073-08) presented by Mr Dickson from 118
       petitioners requesting a bus stop outside Island Point Villas, Kawana Way, Parrearra
Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability (Ms Jones)—
•      National Environment Protection Council: Annual Report 2007-08


                                             MINISTERIAL PAPERS
                      Service Delivery and Performance Commission, Reports
       Hon. AM BLIGH (South Brisbane—ALP) (Premier and Minister for the Arts) (9.35 am): As
members will be aware, the former Service Delivery and Performance Commission last year conducted
reviews of the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 and the Queensland Police Service. I thank
the former commissioners for their consideration of these two areas.
       The Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act regulates real estate agents, resident letting agents,
property developers, auctioneers, motor dealers, debt collectors and sellers of rural based livestock and
property. The review of this act recommended a range of legislative amendments. The government
supports or partially supports 22 of the commission’s 48 recommendations that will simplify the level of
regulation, minimising red tape but still maintaining consumer benefits. I know that not everyone in the
industry will agree with the government’s decision not to support a number of the review
recommendations. However, these tough economic times require tough decisions to ensure that
Queensland consumers are protected.
       The commission also separately reviewed the Queensland Police Service. I am very pleased to
see that the review found many positive aspects of the Police Service’s work. I believe we have a world-
class Police Service here in Queensland and our police officers do a great job of keeping
Queenslanders safe.
       I note that the commission also made some criticisms and identified some areas for improvement,
and the government will take these recommendations on board. The government either fully supports or
supports in principle all 54 of the commission’s recommendations in relation to the Queensland Police
Service. I am keen to get on with the job of implementing these recommendations. The report
recommends that the Police Commissioner develop an implementation plan within three months of the
release. I table copies of both of the commission’s reports and the government’s response to those
reports.
Tabled paper: Service Delivery and Performance Commission: Report on the review of regulatory reform (Phase 2)—Property
Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000, March 2008.
Tabled paper: Queensland government response to the recommendations of the Service Delivery and Performance Commission:
Report on the review of regulatory reform (Phase 2)—Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000.
Tabled paper: Service Delivery and Performance Commission: Report on the service delivery and performance management
review of the Queensland Police Service, June 2008.
tabled paper: Queensland government response to the Service Delivery and Performance Commission: Report on the service
delivery and performance management review of the Queensland Police Service.

                                                         Reports
       Hon. CR DICK (Greenslopes—ALP) (Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations)
(9.37 am): Mr Speaker, I lay upon the table the following reports—
Tabled paper: Electoral Commission Queensland: Statistical profiles—Queensland state electoral districts, research report 1/
2009.
Tabled paper: Office of the Public Advocate: annual report 2007-08.
Tabled paper: Office of the Adult Guardian: annual report 2007-08.
23 Apr 2009                                     Ministerial Statements                                                    145

                                              NOTICE OF MOTION
                                       Revocation of State Forest Area
      Hon. KJ JONES (Ashgrove—ALP) (Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability) (9.37 am): I
give notice that, after the expiration of at least 14 days as provided in the Forestry Act 1959, I shall
move—
1)    That this House requests the Governor in Council to revoke by regulation under section 26 of the Forestry Act 1959 the
      setting apart and declaration as State Forest of the area as set out in the Proposal tabled by me in the House today, viz


                                            Description of area to be revoked

      Mt Stowe State Forest (SF365)           Area described as Lot 1 on plan SP223038 and containing an area of
                                              about 26.6 hectares as illustrated on the attached plan.


2)    That Mr Speaker and the Clerk of the Parliament forward a copy of this resolution to the Minister for Climate Change and
      Sustainability for submission to the Governor in Council.


                                       MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
                                               Altruistic Surrogacy
        Hon. AM BLIGH (South Brisbane—ALP) (Premier and Minister for the Arts) (9.38 am): The joy of
becoming a parent is one of the greatest joys that anyone can experience. As a mother lucky enough to
have two wonderful sons, I know that bearing a child alters the very landscape of life and that rearing
children and equipping them with the lessons for life is the ultimate responsibility and the ultimate
wonder. But, sadly, it is a joy, a responsibility and a wonder that not all of us will share. There are
tragically literally hundreds of couples throughout Queensland who would dearly love to be parents but
for one reason or another are unable to conceive and unable to have their own children.
        Today I am pleased to be able to inform those Queenslanders and the House that my government
will take a major step this year towards helping such couples discover the joys and wonders of
conceiving and raising a child. We will do that by decriminalising a draconian law which prevents people
here in Queensland who want to have a child from using a surrogate mother.
        My government will decriminalise altruistic surrogacy in Queensland—that is, where an
agreement is reached with a woman to bear a child for another person for no financial gain or personal
benefit. This move will offer fresh hope to those hundreds of women and couples who cannot bear
children by giving them the opportunity to become a parent. I have no doubt that this decision will not be
without controversy, but it is a decision that I believe reflects a modern Queensland which is home to a
modern and tolerant multicultural population. It is also a decision that brings Queensland into step with
the rest of the nation.
        Queensland is currently the only state in Australia where couples and women undertaking
altruistic surrogacy could find themselves at the very least paying fines of up to $10,000 or, at the
extreme, in prison for a period of up to three years. The reality is that for some people surrogacy is their
only hope of starting a family. I believe and the government believes it is grossly unfair that their genuine
efforts to do so could land them behind bars.
        This decision follows the unanimous recommendation last year of an all-party parliamentary
committee. That recommendation was that we should change the current Queensland law which makes
all forms of surrogacy illegal. The committee recommended decriminalising the practice of altruistic
surrogacy, and cabinet has approved the committee’s recommendation in this regard.
        I should point out that this move has a range of regulatory implications regarding parentage in
Queensland. My government will move to develop a mechanism that will allow the transfer of legal
parentage from the birth mother in a surrogacy arrangement to a child’s intending parents in that
arrangement. The legal framework to support transfer of legal parentage is an issue that will require
close consideration by government both at state and national levels. It will require dealing with some
very difficult, complex, moral and ethical questions.
        Currently the national Standing Committee of Attorneys-General is set to discuss this issue at its
meeting in August this year following the publication of a discussion paper by that committee. It is
important I think that with any moves we make in this area we attempt to achieve a reasonable level of
cross-jurisdictional consistency to ensure that no child in Australia is disadvantaged by different laws
relating to the regulation of their legal parentage.
        The government will consult on a proposed Queensland framework to support the
decriminalisation of altruistic surrogacy and, importantly, that question of the transfer of legal parentage
146                                        Ministerial Statements                               23 Apr 2009

in the middle of this year. Development of a final framework will then be influenced by the results of that
consultation by the recommendations of the all-party parliamentary committee and the deliberations of
the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General on a national model.
       The committee has also recommended that the government should conduct a review of the legal
status of children being cared for by same-sex parents. I know that this is a complex and sensitive issue,
and there are strong and diverse views in our community. The government supports the
recommendation of the parliamentary committee in this regard and will undertake such a review. But my
government’s ultimate aim is to ensure that all people who want to be parents have the opportunity to do
so and, more importantly, that all children are treated equally and have legal rights involving parentage
arrangements.
       I must stress that any form of commercial surrogacy will remain illegal. There is no excuse and
can be no justification for the practice of people using surrogacy as a means of making money. Anyone
involved in this practice will continue to face fines of up to $10,000 or a maximum of three years
imprisonment. I take the opportunity again to thank the members of the all-party parliamentary
committee on this issue. As I have said before, I think they dealt with some very difficult and very
complex legal, moral and ethical questions in a mature, sensitive and careful way that has provided an
opportunity for the government to move forward on this issue. I anticipate that the legislative changes
required to not only decriminalise altruistic surrogacy but, importantly, to provide for the legal transfer of
parentage will be in place by the end of this year.

                                       Overseas Trade Mission
        Hon. AM BLIGH (South Brisbane—ALP) (Premier and Minister for the Arts) (9.44 am): In the
current tough economic times it is more important than ever that Queensland maintains its ties with our
trading partners around the world. Exporting underpins our economy and supports thousands of
Queensland jobs right across the state. If we are to protect and grow these jobs into the future, we have
to continue to nurture these relationships.
        I inform the House today that I will lead a trade mission to the United Arab Emirates, to Spain and
to Russia from 4 to 17 May. The mission will focus on strengthening old and developing new ties with
these important overseas markets. For example, while in the United Arab Emirates I will sign a
memorandum of understanding with the government of Abu Dhabi to progress opportunities in important
areas such as agriculture, tourism, transport and education services.
        In Russia, another important trading market for us, my focus will be on growing agribusiness
opportunities and promoting Queensland capabilities in education and in the area of prime beef. Russia
is now Queensland’s fourth largest beef market. It was worth $132 million in the last financial year and
clearly is a market that we should be aiming to grow.
        I will also become the first Queensland Premier to lead a mission to Spain, recognising the
growing importance of this trading partner, particularly in the important area of clean energy. In the last
four years, our exports to Spain have grown by more than 2½ times to $673 million, and we have many
opportunities to grow this.
        This trade mission is about continuing to enhance our international relationships and maintaining
growth in Queensland’s trade across a wide range of sectors including new technology as well as our
traditional exports. Here in Queensland we have many exceptional exporters deserving of recognition.
I am very pleased to report to the House today that online applications are now open for the 2009
Premier of Queensland Export Awards. The awards celebrate their 20th anniversary this year in 2009,
and I urge Queensland businesses to nominate in any of the 12 categories. Entries close at the end of
July, and I will host the award ceremony in October as part of Export Week 2009.

                                    Premier’s Reading Challenge
        Hon. AM BLIGH (South Brisbane—ALP) (Premier and Minister for the Arts) (9.45 am):
Penultimately, I think all members would agree that one of the greatest gifts we can give a child is the
love of reading. Reading enriches our education and unlocks our imagination and generally enhances
our lives. That is why I am pleased today to launch the 2009 Premier’s Reading Challenge—an
important state-wide initiative for children from prep to year 7. We know that, if we can encourage a love
of reading from an early age, students will get better results in the classroom. The Premier’s Reading
Challenge aims to boost learning through literacy by increasing the number of books that children read
and encouraging them to read more challenging texts. It also aims to help them to develop a passion for
literature and a love of reading for pleasure. Students who read for pleasure excel in a range of learning,
and that is why encouraging a love of reading in the early years is so important. We want Queensland
kids to have the best possible start, and boosting literacy skills is one of my top priorities.
        The Premier’s Reading Challenge is now in its fourth year. In 2009 I am challenging students
whether in state or non-state schools to read 20 books between Monday, 11 May and Friday, 21 August.
That amounts to about one book every five days and is quite a challenge. Last year more than 60,000
23 Apr 2009                               Ministerial Statements                                        147

students across Queensland took up that challenge and between them they read more than 1.2 million
books. It is an enormous achievement, but it would be great to see us improve on these numbers this
year. All students who complete the challenge will receive certificates recognising their achievement.
       I particularly say to new members on both sides of the House that this is a wonderful way to be
involved in your schools, to participate in any of the reading activities during this challenge. Anything you
can do as a local member to encourage a young reader to take part in this challenge is a very good way
to involve yourself in the education of children in your electorate.

                                               Anzac Day
        Hon. AM BLIGH (South Brisbane—ALP) (Premier and Minister for the Arts) (9.47 am): On
Saturday, 25 April Australians will again pause to reflect on those who gave their lives in the service of
our nation. Anzac Day honours our lost. As we gather to mourn, we also proudly reflect on what those
who have served have gained for us. As a child, it seemed that Anzac Day was a day for our diggers to
gather and share a few beers. Thankfully, that still happens but increasingly added to those diggers are
tens of thousands of children, as is happening this morning in Anzac Square, where we will see students
from schools across the south-east gather with their families to reflect on the sacrifices of their
forebears. Because this event is occurring during question time, I am unable to attend but the Deputy
Premier will be representing me and will therefore not be present in question time.
        Anzac Day crowds are not dwindling. Each year it seems that broadcasters all begin their April
25th bulletins announcing that record crowds have gathered this morning for today’s Anzac Day dawn
service. I urge Queenslanders to take part in Anzac Day events this Saturday and to be part of this
important moment in our nation’s calendar.
        I am very pleased to also advise the House that future Anzac Day services in Canberra will have
a much stronger Queensland flavour. I take the opportunity this morning to congratulate Brisbane based
firm Richard Kirk Architect for winning the national design competition, undertaken by the Prime
Minister, for two new memorials in Canberra to honour service men and women who served in the two
world wars. For those members who know Richard Kirk, I think it is fair to say that Richard Kirk and his
team are some of Queensland’s and Australia’s best and brightest architectural talent. It is great to see
their work being recognised nationally. The winning design was selected from 43 entries. I think it is a
great credit to them.
        Apart from the work of this firm—Kirk Architect—the design is also going to include some brilliant
white Chillagoe marble. All Queensland towns and cities, as with all 2,400 across the nation, will be
listed in the memorial’s ‘storyline mat’. The mat is the stone base for the memorials with each town’s
name, population, number of those who enlisted and number of those who died recorded on it.
        As I said earlier, I think it is important that we take a moment on Saturday to the extent it is
possible for not only members of parliament but all members of the public to reflect on those who made
the ultimate sacrifice in protecting the democratic freedoms that we exercise here in this chamber every
sitting.
        Mr SPEAKER: Order! Please remove that person from the gallery. I call the honourable the
Deputy Premier.
        An incident having occurred in the public gallery—

                              Health System, Infrastructure Projects
         Hon. PT LUCAS (Lytton—ALP) (Deputy Premier and Minister for Health) (9.51 am): The Bligh
government is getting on with the job of building a health system that will deliver the services
Queenslanders need well into the 21st century. We have the biggest health infrastructure program in
Australia—with a $6 billion program to build and rebuild hospitals and other facilities across the state.
This record investment will generate almost 40,000 new jobs over the life of these projects.
         This financial year Queensland has budgeted $1.024 billion for capital works in our health
system. That is more than $2.7 million on building and maintaining our hospitals and other health
facilities every single day. That is $2.7 million a day. Our massive injection of funds into infrastructure
will not only help make Queenslanders healthier; it will help keep them employed. We will be spending
$655 million on major hospital projects in places like Cairns, Rockhampton, Mackay and elsewhere
across the state.
         As well as in our hospitals, we will also be spending $120 million on community health centres,
$56 million on health technology replacement, $12.8 million on mental health facilities and $10 million
on residential aged-care facilities. The program includes five major hospital projects, with a collective
allocation this financial year of $260 million and a total estimated cost of $4.6 billion.
         In addition to the five major hospital projects, the program comprises in excess of 200 initiatives,
from small upgrades to replacement hospitals and significant expansions such as the $287.5 million
148                                              Ministerial Statements                                        23 Apr 2009

Robina Hospital expansion. The 2008-09 program reflects a massive 62 per cent increase on the 2007-
08 budget.
        Queensland is the fastest growing state in Australia. In addition to our growing population,
Queensland is also facing an ageing population, which puts further pressure and demand on our health
system. The Bligh government is up for the challenge and has embarked on a massive building program
to deliver better hospitals and a healthier community. We are delivering a modern health system that is
capable of dealing with changing technology and is capable of incorporating the ever-growing advances
in technology to deliver the best care possible for patients.
        On my listening tour I have seen examples of well-built and well-designed hospitals. But I have
also seen examples of buildings that were not well planned or well designed and are not easily
upgradeable. That has to stop. I am determined to deliver new facilities that not only meet our needs in
five years time but are designed and built so they can be easily expanded in 25 years time if needed
instead of being pulled down and rebuilt.
        Queensland is the Smart State, and we are building hospitals that are designed with the future
firmly in mind. Our doctors and our patients deserve the best—and that is what they will get with the new
hospitals and new health facilities we are building.

                            International Monetary Fund, Economic Forecast
        Hon. AP FRASER (Mount Coot-tha—ALP) (Treasurer and Minister for Employment and
Economic Development) (9.54 am): Overnight we have seen the International Monetary Fund issue
another stark assessment of the prospects for the global economy. Every day we see more data issued
about the depth and breadth of the global financial crisis and its impacts both here and abroad. The
IMF’s latest economic forecasts for the world’s major economies are extremely sobering. Much of this
data undeniably indicates the massive economic challenges ahead of us.
        The IMF figures indicate that the world will be in recession for 2009, with growth forecasts
showing a contraction of 1.3 per cent, a downgrade of 1.8 per cent—the worst figures since World War
II. The IMF has stated that the global outlook is exceptionally uncertain, with risks to its forecasts still on
the downside. Domestically, Australia’s economy is predicted to contract 1.4 per cent this year, with a
return to growth—albeit almost flat growth—of 0.6 per cent next year.
        The news is also grim for our major trading partners such as Japan and Korea. Japan has
received a massive downgrade of minus 3.6 per cent, with the IMF now predicting that the Japanese
economy will shrink by 6.2 per cent this year. Korea is also expected to contract this year by four per
cent. The outlook for the world’s largest economy, the United States, is also bleak. The IMF says it will
contract 2.8 per cent in 2009 and remain flat throughout 2010. The IMF says the contraction will affect
‘all corners of the globe’. Most significantly, the IMF points to the risk that the recovery could be slower
and longer than for previous recessions.
        The IMF’s forecasts follow yesterday’s release of consumer price index data for the March quarter
of 2009. Yesterday’s figures showed that national headline CPI increased by just 0.1 per cent, to be
2.5 per cent higher over the year. This puts inflation—the national economic challenge that we faced in
the first half of 2008—squarely back within the Reserve Bank’s target of two to three per cent. This
figure was below expectations and is the lowest annual inflation rate since the September quarter of
2007, the last time the figure was within the RBA’s target band.
        Queensland data is measured through the Brisbane CPI. Inflation here rose in the quarter by just
0.2 per cent to deliver an annual rate of 3.1 per cent in quarterly and annual terms respectively. This
result contrasts strongly with the 5.6 per cent rate that was prevailing in Queensland in September last
year.
        The last 24 hours have again delivered more evidence quantifying the challenge, both here and
abroad. As we deal with those challenges, our determination as a government to protect jobs and
reinforce demand in the Queensland economy remains absolutely unchanged.

                                                Altruistic Surrogacy
       Hon. AM BLIGH (South Brisbane—ALP) (Premier and Minister for the Arts) (9.57 am): For the
benefit of the House, in my statement about the government’s response to surrogacy I neglected to
table the government’s response to the all-party parliamentary committee’s report. I table it now.
Tabled paper: Government response to the report of the Investigation into Altruistic Surrogacy Committee—Investigation into the
decriminalisation and regulation of altruistic surrogacy in Queensland.

                     National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy
      Hon. GJ WILSON (Ferny Grove—ALP) (Minister for Education and Training) (9.57 am): Next
month Queensland students will be sitting national literacy and numeracy tests. From 12 to 14 May,
students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 throughout Australia will be tested on their skills in reading, writing,
23 Apr 2009                                      Ministerial Statements                              149

grammar and mathematics as part of the National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy.
Queensland’s results in last year’s NAPLAN tests were disappointing. Doing well in literacy and
numeracy is critical to students’ success at school and in life. It is vital to get these basics right.
        We need to do all we can to ensure Queensland students learn what they need to know to
succeed in these important areas. It is clear we need to do more to improve literacy and numeracy, and
the Bligh government is getting on with the job of doing so. We have set an ambitious target of boosting
Queensland’s results up to the level of the top-performing states within three years. This will not be an
easy task, and it will take time for the measures we are putting in place to generate noticeable
improvements. But sharpening the focus on literacy and numeracy skills in Queensland schools is my
top priority as minister.
        The review of Queensland’s education system by Professor Masters from the Australian Council
for Education Research is nearing completion. We have already implemented the recommendations
from Professor Masters’s preliminary report, including mandatory practice testing for students in years
3, 5, 7 and 9. Practice testing was completed by more than 158,000 Queensland students before 20
March. Professor Masters’s final review is due later this month, and I look forward to his
recommendations.
        We are also implementing our election commitments—a $72 million investment in literacy and
numeracy over the next three years. We will provide 10 to 20 hours intensive tuition for primary students
below national benchmarks. We will engage 80 literacy and numeracy coaches to work with teachers to
lift the performance of schools not reaching national standards of literacy and numeracy. We are also
establishing 72 summer schools for students needing extra support, and we will provide teachers with
professional development opportunities at the same time. These initiatives will create jobs for up to 253
teachers. Literacy and numeracy skills are the key to ensuring our students have every opportunity to
succeed in work and in life. Queensland schoolchildren have the potential to perform at the highest level
across the nation, and that is why we have renewed our focus on literacy and numeracy.

                                     Queensland Police Service, Review
        Hon. NS ROBERTS (Nudgee—ALP) (Minister for Police, Corrective Services and Emergency
Services) (10.00 am): Earlier today the Premier tabled the report on the service delivery and
performance management review of the Queensland Police Service. The review was undertaken
between March and June 2008, with around 890 members of the Queensland Police Service and
external stakeholders being consulted. The overwhelming majority of this number were QPS members,
with every region and command represented. The report comprises 15 chapters and makes 54
recommendations.
        From the outset, let me say that the report has identified a number of very positive elements of
Queensland Police Service performance. In fact, it goes as far as to say that aspects of QPS operations
represent national and international best practice. The report concludes that the QPS has a strong
service delivery culture and has, importantly, made significant advances since the Fitzgerald inquiry
some 20 years ago. It identifies that the service has made significant progress in raising professionalism
and ethical practice and has a strong commitment to training and building and maintaining support
systems for the health and wellbeing of its members.
        However, as with any large organisation, the Service Delivery and Performance Commission has
identified a number of areas where the Queensland Police Service could improve its performance, and it
will. In particular, the report recommends that the QPS could improve in areas including demand
management and analysis and strategic planning, human resource issues, ICT management and
planning, and policy analysis and development. The Bligh government and the Queensland Police
Service acknowledge the opportunities for improvement and support all 54 recommendations either
wholly or in principle. I table a copy of the service’s initial implementation strategy.
Tabled paper: Service delivery and performance review implementation strategy, dated April 2009.
       In recognition of the significant work already undertaken by the QPS, a further more detailed
implementation plan will be presented to cabinet within a month, well within the three-month time frame
set by the Service Delivery and Performance Commission. Cabinet will then be updated on the progress
of the implementation every six months. I am confident that the implementation of these
recommendations will further enhance the Queensland Police Service’s position and reputation as one
of the best law enforcement agencies in the country.

                                                      Airport Link
       Hon. SJ HINCHLIFFE (Stafford—ALP) (Minister for Infrastructure and Planning) (10.02 am):
Jobs are the No. 1 priority of this government, and that is why we are so committed to Australia’s largest
infrastructure project—Airport Link, the next stage of the Northern Busway and the airport roundabout
upgrade—which will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. Despite conjecture about the company
delivering the project, BrisConnections, and the numerous corporate manoeuvres, this important
150                                       Ministerial Statements                              23 Apr 2009

infrastructure project is all systems go. One needs to go no further than my own electorate to see that
the work is well underway. Some 1,300 people are hard at work today and tomorrow, and the project is
only just getting started. By mid next year, employment will hit its peak at 2,600 Queenslanders working
on the site.
        The road ahead looks like this: soon work will start on the airport roundabout upgrade. By the end
of the year, the bridge connecting the Royal Brisbane Hospital and the Windsor to Kedron sections of
the Northern Busway will be in place. Then we will bring in the big guns early next year with the first of
the tunnel-boring machines—the TBMs—for Airport Link, much larger than the roadheaders digging
right now. In 2011 two brand-new busway stations will be completed at Lutwyche and Kedron, with
improved pedestrian and cycle access across Lutwyche Road—a great improvement and a great
enhancement to that community.
        Tunnelling will be complete and cars will drive on the airport roundabout flyover. Then in 2012 the
new Airport Link tunnel and the Windsor to Kedron section of the Northern Busway will be open to
traffic. All three projects—Airport Link, the airport roundabout upgrade and the next stage of the
Northern Busway—will be delivered six months ahead of the state government’s original plans. They will
truly be congestion-busters, making a real difference on our roads.
        This is $4.8 billion worth of infrastructure that will cost Queensland taxpayers $1.7 billion. But,
most importantly, it will be putting dinner on the table for thousands of Queensland families, and that is
why this government is making absolutely certain it gets built.

                              North-West Queensland, Beef Industry
       Hon. TS MULHERIN (Mackay—ALP) (Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and
Regional Queensland) (10.05 am): Mr Speaker, congratulations on your appointment as Speaker of the
53rd Parliament.
       Last week I travelled to the north-west for the third time this year on a flood related trip. I am
absolutely committed to protecting jobs in the region’s beef industry, which is valued at $420 million.
During the floods we provided $500,000 to support the successful fodder drop operation. Then to help
the industry get back on its feet, we established the North-West Beef Industry Recovery Task Force. The
task force is putting together a series of workshops in Normanton, Burketown, Croydon and Julia Creek
to help producers accelerate their recovery. There will be special veterinary advice on herd fertility and
production. A pasture scientist will attend and there will be advice on financial assistance available.
Other practical help includes supervising Longreach ag. college students who helped repair hundreds of
kilometres of flood damaged fences.
       We are also assisting producers from 13 properties who are dealing with the aftermaths of 10
mine spills. We have based a senior officer in Mount Isa to help draw up individual property
management plans for all affected properties. Part of this process is to map out how each property was
run pre spill and how they will run post spill. Some grazing areas will have to be fenced off to keep cattle
away until the clean-up is complete, and these maps will greatly assist in planning. Initial blood testing
shows no contamination of cattle, but more testing is being done and will continue into the future.
       Yesterday, in a meeting organised by the member for Mount Isa, I met with other ministers and
agencies to discuss the way forward on the mine spill issue and I passed on the insights gained on my
trip. On this trip I visited six properties affected by either flooding or mine spill issues and met with 22
cattle producers and agribusiness operators. While the worst-hit areas will take time to recover, it is
important to note that many properties are experiencing their best seasons in years, and this will boost
the region’s economy and help protect jobs.

                                Queensland War Memorial Register
       Hon. RE SCHWARTEN (Rockhampton—ALP) (Minister for Public Works and Information and
Communication Technology) (10.07 am): Mr Speaker, following on from your comments this morning, it
is with great pride that I inform the House of the privilege of launching the Queensland War Memorial
Register on Monday. On Remembrance Day last year our government made a commitment to develop
an online war memorial register by Anzac Day this year. It was an ambitious time line given the nature
and the scope of the project. I am pleased to announce that just five months later we have delivered on
our commitment, with the user-friendly website launched ahead of this weekend’s Anzac Day
commemorations—another case of the Department of Public Works delivering on time and on budget.
The online register will further honour Queenslanders who fought for our country, as well as provide an
excellent resource for historians.
       The Department of Public Works’s Queensland Government Accommodation Office has been the
driving force behind this worthwhile community project. I want to thank Mr Geoff Hughes and his team of
excellent people who have worked beyond the call of duty almost, you could say, on this project. Our
aim was to collect information of every war memorial that is the focus of local commemorative services
or valued by a community. This could include cenotaphs, statues, columns, gates and memorial
23 Apr 2009                                 Ministerial Statements                                           151

buildings. A vast array of information and images has been assembled, providing details of locations,
inscriptions and the conflicts commemorated.
        There      are  already      400     war    memorials    registered     on    the     website   at
www.qldwarmemorials.com.au, with many more to be added. We believe there are about 1,000 out
there. I would encourage anyone with an interest in Australian history to log on and have a look. It has
been an enormous task involving a lot of work by local councils with the assistance of the RSL—and,
Mr Speaker, Doug Formby, who you invited to this place the other day, has been a particular champion
of this initiative—which has adjudicated on the inclusion of memorials on this register.
        I would also acknowledge the outstanding contributions of a few individuals whose involvement
has been crucial to the development of this website. Trevor and Shirley McIvor from Toowoomba,
Dennis Stocks, Doug Tanner and Glen Hall have each provided information and images which have
been invaluable. This is just the start and the Department of Public Works will continue to work with RSL
Queensland and local councils to update and expand the register.
        I say to honourable members that if they are aware of any memorials in their electorates that are
not on the register to notify my office and we will make sure that that circumstance is rectified.

                                  South-East Queensland Water Grid
       Hon. S ROBERTSON (Stretton—ALP) (Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and
Minister for Trade) (10.10 am): South-East Queensland’s new water grid is now connected and fully
operational. This grid represents the largest urban water security response in Australia and is the key to
securing South-East Queensland’s water supply now and for the future.
       The grid’s assets include more than 450 kilometres of new bulk transfer pipelines, a desalination
plant, three advanced waste water treatment plants, 18 existing dams, 50 existing water treatment
plants and a large network of existing pipelines. The new water grid now has the capacity to deliver an
additional 168,000 megalitres of water per year to the residents of South-East Queensland.
       As an example of the grid’s success, towards the end of March during a peak transfer period the
grid moved large quantities of water from areas with excess water supply to other areas of South-East
Queensland in need. For example, up to 140 megalitres per day was transferred from the south coast
region into Logan and Brisbane.
       All water requirements for power stations previously supplied from Wivenhoe and Somerset dams
are now supplied by purified recycled water. Up to 50 megalitres per day was transferred from the north
coast region into the Moreton Bay region and northern parts of Brisbane. The South-East Queensland
water grid manager informs me that, due to the operations of the grid, the extraction of water from our
three major dams is up to 50 per cent less now than it was prior to the grid being formed, contributing to
their steady recovery from the historical lows of less than two years ago.
       The strength of the water grid allows infrastructure such as the desalination plant at Tugun to
come offline for commissioning work without compromising the water supply for South-East
Queensland. Not only does the grid deliver water security to South-East Queensland but also it delivers
benefits in water quality management and a greater resilience to the threat of natural and man-made
disasters through diversity of supply options for connected areas.
       The operation of the new South-East Queensland water grid represents the Queensland
government’s commitment to delivering a world-leading model that is designed to ensure a secure water
supply for South-East Queensland’s current and future water needs.
       We have produced a diagram of how our water grid works. The benefit of this diagram is to avoid
the facile debate that occurred over the last weekend by some political leaders who clearly either
deliberately or mistakenly misled their communities about how water is taken from the various parts of
the water grid to supply South-East Queensland residents. For example, allegations or suggestions that
the Hinze Dam was not being used to top up other dams in South-East Queensland were completely
wrong because, as members can see from this simple diagram—and we have made it simple for the
benefit of the opposition—
       Opposition members interjected.
       Mr ROBERTSON: We have made it simple for them all—they will see that the water that is
extracted out of Hinze Dam does not go to Wivenhoe Dam but is used and led off the pipeline that joins
the Gold Coast and Brisbane. So ridiculous contributions to the debate, particularly from the new Leader
of the Opposition, simply misled his own community in terms of what was happening with this water grid.
       I encourage all members of the opposition, including the Leader of the Opposition, to get one of
these diagrams, to put it in their electorate offices, to take it with them, to put it in their wallets and to not
engage in misleading comments such as those that the Leader of the Opposition and his local mayor
engaged in over the weekend. It serves him no good at all.
       Mr SPEAKER: Order! Could I ask the minister—
152                                        Ministerial Statements                               23 Apr 2009

      Mr ROBERTSON: I withdraw.

                               Family Responsibilities Commission
       Hon. D BOYLE (Cairns—ALP) (Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Partnerships) (10.14 am): I have today tabled the first and second quarterly reports of the
Family Responsibilities Commission—a key plank of the Cape York Welfare Reform initiative.
Commencing on 1 July 2008, the commission is up and running in the four communities of Hope Vale,
Aurukun, Coen and Mossman Gorge. To 31 December 2008, the commission received 754 agency
notifications, including 202 school attendance notices, 223 child safety notices, 327 Magistrates Courts
notices and two housing tenancy notices. It held 292 conferences, with outcomes including nearly 200
referrals or orders to support services and 28 notices for income management. There are 24 local
commissioners across the four welfare reform communities and I pay my respects to them in recognition
of both the difficulty and importance of their task.
       I have also tabled today the Bligh government’s fourth quarterly report on key indicators for
Indigenous Queenslanders living in discrete Indigenous communities for the period from October to
December 2008. Importantly, there are early—and I stress early—indications of improvement for some
communities though in other areas there is still a long way to go. The Palm Island community deserves
particular recognition and congratulations, with a decrease in the number of hospital admissions for
assault and the number of reported offences against the person for the December quarter. However,
these numbers are still unacceptably higher than the state averages. School attendance on Palm Island
increased in term 4 to 75.4 per cent—the highest level recorded in this community during 2008—and the
goal, of course, is to continue this trend upwards to meet the state average of 91.1 per cent.
       Over the 12 months to December 2008 compared to 2007, the rate of reported offences against
the person fell in Doomadgee, but it still remains seven times the state rate average. Hospitalisations for
assault fell in Lockhart River. School attendance in Hope Vale remained stable throughout 2008.
Mossman Gorge showed improvement over terms 2 to 4 from 60.9 per cent to 78.7 per cent. Coen
finished the school year in term 4 above the state average, with an attendance of 94.1 per cent, and this
deserves recognition.
       It is likely to take several more quarters of data collection before we see trend outcomes. The
indicators of improvement notwithstanding, it is critical, in assessing this latest report, to note that there
remain major areas of concern. For individuals, communities and governments at all levels, it is
essential that we maintain our focus on closing the gap.

                                               Main Roads
       Hon. CA WALLACE (Thuringowa—ALP) (Minister for Main Roads) (10.17 am): Mr Speaker, on
behalf of the residents of Thuringowa, I extend my congratulations to you on your election to the
honourable post of Speaker. It is indeed an honour to have the responsibility of delivering better roads
for Queensland. I have hit the road—not running but driving—getting on with the job of implementing our
election promises to reduce congestion, to build road infrastructure to meet growth, and to create and
sustain jobs.
       Within days of becoming Minister for Main Roads, my first order of business was to visit the major
road projects that are transforming Brisbane’s western corridor. The projects currently employ more
than 2,100 people and more than 100 trainees and apprentices are actively engaged on these
wonderful projects.
       I was also pleased that one of the first events I was able to undertake as Minister for Main Roads
was to open the $119 million Townsville ring-road to traffic. What a great asset to the residents of
Thuringowa and Townsville.
       Mr Johnson interjected.
       Mr WALLACE: The port access road is getting built at the moment. The member will have to
come up and have a look. I will take him through.
       Mr Johnson interjected.
       Mr WALLACE: I will take him for a tour. I would love to do that. In the past four weeks, along with
the wonderful new member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, I have also opened the new $48 million Mulgrave
Bridge at Gordonvale—again, in regional Queensland. Of course, the $80 million upgrade of Caloundra
Road and the $75 million southern section of the future Caloundra-Mooloolaba Road were also opened
last week. We are getting on with the job of building better roads in Queensland.
       This Sunday again I will be in regional Queensland. I will be joining my colleagues the members
for Mackay and Whitsunday to open the $33.6 million Hospital Bridge in Mackay. That is great news for
the residents there.
23 Apr 2009                               Ministerial Statements                                      153

       The Bligh government’s $3 billion expenditure on roads is ensuring that we meet the demand for
growth, not only here in the south-east but right across regional Queensland. Indeed, as a regional
minister I understand the important role the road network plays in connecting Queenslanders. It is my
aim to make sure that we get the best value for money out of our projects so that we can deliver as
much road as possible to the community.
       Now is an exciting time to be steering the roads portfolio. The 2008-09 to 2012-13 Roads
Implementation Program is the largest in Queensland’s history, allocating a total of $16.2 billion for
roadworks and supporting services. Almost $1.65 billion of new projects are due to begin in the 2009-10
financial year, and our investment in the road network will ensure that at least 13,000 jobs are created or
sustained. By retaining and creating jobs in the important construction sector, the Bligh government is
ensuring Queensland will come through the current global economic difficulties in as strong and vibrant
a condition as possible.

                                       Cairns Transit Network
        Hon. RG NOLAN (Ipswich—ALP) (Minister for Transport) (10.20 am): One of my first regional
visits as Minister for Transport was to Far North Queensland to announce results of public consultation
for the Cairns Transit Network project. The Cairns Transit Network project will be the first of its kind
outside South-East Queensland and is set to revolutionise public transport in Cairns with a bus based
system of priority lanes or busways.
        Public consultation showed overwhelming support for the project, with 95 per cent of people who
expressed a view saying they thought the Cairns Transit Network was a good idea. The initial round of
public consultation has been invaluable in helping to plan to meet the needs of existing and future
residents of and visitors to Cairns.
        Buses are the mode of choice as they provide wide service coverage by running on the dedicated
bus corridors as well as the existing road network. Local buses will connect to the bus rapid transit
network and take passengers where they want to go quickly and reliably.
        In the first phase of consultation the project team received more than 370 submissions through
feedback forms, telephone inquiries, emails and letters. Over 600 people visited the 11 public displays
across Cairns and another 250-plus visited our display at the sitting of regional parliament.
        The top three issues commented on included: firstly, requests to increase the frequency and
reliability of current bus services; secondly, the best places for station locations—and these locations
have now been earmarked in the planning; and, thirdly, the possibility of using either light or heavy rail
on the network. The design of the network will be such that light rail may be an option in the future
should the necessary density of population and demand on public transport services require it.
        Community information sessions will be held during a second round of consultation, due in mid-
2009, focusing on preferred corridors and station locations. By planning now we can set aside the land
needed for Cairns’s future public transport needs. I would like to extend my thanks to the Cairns
community for their feedback to date and encourage them to continue participating in this project, which
is vital to the future prosperity of Cairns.

                                     Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs
       Hon. CR DICK (Greenslopes—ALP) (Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations)
(10.23 am): The responsibilities of Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations are very
closely linked, and the issues they relate to are very important to every single Queenslander.
Fundamentally, they are about providing a fair, just and safe community.
       I am committed to ensuring the Bligh government continues to uphold these principles, to build an
even better future for tomorrow’s Queensland. To this end, I have already started work on the
development of new laws to protect our community from the scourge of organised crime, particularly by
members of outlaw motorcycle gangs.
       The police minister and I will provide cabinet with legislative options which are both forceful and
effective, maintaining a balance between the rights of individuals and the protection of the community.
Members of outlaw motorcycle gangs across Australia are involved in serious criminal activity and have
been convicted of heinous crimes including murder, drug manufacture and trafficking, serious assaults
and money laundering.
       In addition to the proposed laws, this government has taken significant steps to crack down on
such activities. We have introduced tough laws to confiscate proceeds of crime, and this week the
Premier has reintroduced a bill to provide police with telephone interception powers. This government
went to the election with a commitment to look at the feasibility of introducing further laws to protect
Queenslanders from organised crime, and we are taking immediate action to meet this commitment.
       Last week I attended a meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. All Attorneys-
General agreed to a unified approach to implementing legislation which will ensure there are no
154                                            Parliamentary Committees                                           23 Apr 2009

loopholes or safe havens for organised criminals, including outlaw motorcycle gangs.It is essential that
the outcomes of our laws are consistent, regardless of the specific legislative models each jurisdiction
implements. This means that the work we are undertaking here in Queensland will be supported in all
other jurisdictions.
       Our laws are not about targeting people who ride motorcycles; they are about targeting people
who are engaged in serious criminal activity. If people obey the law and do the right thing then they have
nothing to fear. If they do not, our laws will bring them to justice and protect the Queensland community.

                                     PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES
                             Orders of Appointment; Membership; Referrals
    Ms SPENCE (Sunnybank—ALP) (Leader of the House) (10.25 am), by leave, without notice: I
move—
Notwithstanding anything contained in the standing and sessional orders, that the motion to establish four new parliamentary
committees; the motion to appoint members to parliamentary committees and the motions to refer matters to the Legal
Constitutional and Administrative Review Committee; the Economic Development Committee; the Social Development Committee
and the Environment and Resources Committee circulated in my name be adopted.
ESTABLISHMENT OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES
(1)    The following parliamentary committees be established—
       •       Economic Development Committee;
       •       Environment and Resources Committee;
       •       Law, Justice and Safety Committee; and
       •       Social Development Committee.
(2)    Membership of the committees shall be—
       •       Economic Development Committee—Mr Moorhead (Chair), Ms Davis; Ms Jarratt; Mr Knuth; Mr O’Brien; Ms
               Simpson; Ms van Litsenburg;
       •       Environment and Resources Committee—Mrs Sullivan (Chair), Mrs Attwood; Mr Dowling; Mr Finn; Mr Foley; Mr
               Ryan, Mr Seeney;
       •       Law, Justice and Safety Committee—Ms Stone (Chair), Mr Bleijie; Mr Cripps; Mr Kilburn; Mr McLindon, Mr Watt,
               Mr Wells;
       •       Social Development Committee—Ms Nelson-Carr (Chair), Ms Bates; Mr Choi, Mrs Cunningham; Ms Johnstone,
               Mr McArdle; Mrs Scott;
(3)    The Economic Development Committee will monitor and report on issues in the policy areas of employment,
       infrastructure, transport, trade, industry development, agriculture and tourism.
(4)    The Environment and Resources Committee will monitor and report on issues in the policy areas of environmental
       protection, climate change, land management, water security and energy.
(5)    The Law, Justice and Safety Committee will, in addition to any other statutory responsibilities, report on issues in the
       policy areas of policing and public safety, emergency services, corrective services, justice and industrial relations.
(6)    The Social Development Committee will monitor and report on issues in the policy areas of health, education and training,
       social welfare services, community development, housing, child safety, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy. The
       Committee will also monitor and report on the following commissions—
       •       Family Responsibilities Commission;
       •       Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian; and
       •       Health Quality and Complaints Commission.
       With respect to each commission the Committee will have the following functions—
       (a)     to monitor and review the performance by the commissioner of the commissioner’s functions;
       (b)     to report to the Legislative Assembly on any matter concerning the commissioner, the commissioner’s functions or
               the performance of the commissioner’s functions that the committee considers should be drawn to the Legislative
               Assembly’s attention;
       (c)     to examine the annual report tabled in the Legislative Assembly and, if appropriate, to comment on any aspect of
               the report; and
       (d)     to report to the Legislative Assembly any changes to the functions, structures and procedures of the commission
               that the committee considers desirable for the more effective operation of the commission or the Act which
               establishes it.
(7)    Each of the committees mentioned in (1) may—
       (a)     investigate any matter referred to it by separate resolution of the Legislative Assembly;
       (b)     instigate their own inquiries into legislative and policy issues with respect to the policy areas allocated to it,
               however, in carrying out their functions, the committees must give priority to those matters referred to them by any
               separate resolution of the Assembly; and
       (c)     seek information from Ministers of the Crown, Directors-General of Government departments, and
               Commissioners and Chief Executive Officers of Statutory Bodies, regarding current issues in the policy areas
               mentioned in (3-6).
23 Apr 2009                                     Parliamentary Committees                                                        155

(8)     Notwithstanding anything contained in this resolution, the committees mentioned in (1)—
        (a)     do not have the power to investigate and report on events, incidents or operational matters within the policy areas
                mentioned in (3-6); and
        (b)     do not have the power to investigate and report on any matters that fall within the responsibilities of statutory
                committees established by the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001, or Estimates Committees and any other
                parliamentary committee established by resolution of the House.
(9)     Each of the committees mentioned in (1) shall have power to call for persons, documents and other things.
(10)    As soon as practicable after the end of each year ending 30 June each of the committees mentioned in (1) shall prepare a
        report on the operations of the committee during that year.
(11)    The foregoing provisions of this resolution, so far as they may be inconsistent with the standing orders, have effect
        notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders.




PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES FOR THE 53rd PARLIAMENT—APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS
That for this Session, unless otherwise ordered and notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders, the appointment
of members to parliamentary committees, circulated in my name, be adopted.
That members be appointed to parliamentary committees as follows—
Legal, Constitutional and Administrative Review Committee—
        Ms Stone (Chair), Mr Bleijie, Mr Cripps, Mr Kilburn, Mr McLindon, Mr Watt and Hon Wells
Members’ Ethics and Parliamentary Privileges Committee—
        Mr Shine (Chair), Mrs Keech, Ms Male, Mr Nicholls, Mr Pitt, Mr Robinson and Mr Sorensen
Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee—
        Mr Hoolihan (Chair), Mr Dempsey, Mr Dickson, Mr Emerson, Mrs Kiernan, Mr Ryan and Mr Wettenhall
Public Accounts Committee—
        Mr Wendt (Chair), Mr Crandon, Ms Farmer, Mr Hopper, Ms O’Neill, Mr Rickuss and Mrs Smith
Public Works Committee—
        Mr Wendt (Chair), Mr Crandon, Ms Farmer, Mr Hopper, Ms O’Neill, Mr Rickuss and Mrs Smith
Scrutiny of Legislation Committee—
        Mrs Miller (Chair), Ms Croft, Ms Darling, Dr Douglas, Ms Grace, Mr Powell and Mr Wellington
Standing Orders Committee—
        Mr Speaker (ex officio) (Chair), Ms Bligh, Mr Langbroek, Mr Lucas, Mr Seeney, Ms Spence and Mr Springborg




ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
That the Economic Development Committee identify world’s best practice by governments to effectively stimulate employment
opportunities to ensure that Queensland is well positioned to create employment opportunities in readiness for an economic
upturn.
In undertaking this inquiry, consideration should be given to established and new and emerging industries, and specifically:-
(a)     Queensland’s significant science, research and technology infrastructure;
(b)     Queensland’s natural resources;
(c)     Areas in which Queensland has a demonstrated comparative advantage;
(d)     the current and future skills requirements of the Queensland economy; and
(e)     the impact of regulation on economic growth and recovery.
The committee is to report to the Legislative Assembly by 30 October 2009.




SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
That the Social Development Committee consider the impact of chronic diseases on Queensland communities and the steps that
can be taken to reduce the incidence of chronic disease in our communities.
In undertaking this inquiry, the Committee should consider:
(a)     programs that can help communities embrace healthier lifestyles;
(b)     potential enhancements to service delivery, particularly improvements that foster coordinated approaches and which
        focus on prevention and early intervention;
(c)     the impact of potential investment in new and innovative research focused on chronic disease prevention; and
(d)     programs that can encourage children and young people to develop and maintain individual responsibility for their own
        health and well-being throughout their adult lives.
The committee is to report to the Legislative Assembly by 29 January 2010.
156                       Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                23 Apr 2009




ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE
That the Environment and Resources Committee investigate the economic and environmental potential provided by energy
efficiency improvements for households; communities; industry; and government.
In undertaking this inquiry, consideration should be given to:-
(a)     the economic and environmental costs and benefits arising from energy efficiency improvements;
(b)     potential barriers and impediments to improved energy efficiency;
(c)     potential policy options for energy efficiency improvements, with an emphasis on initiatives that are cost effective for
        individual producers and consumers; and
(d)     the role of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and other Commonwealth Government initiatives in encouraging
        energy efficiency.
The committee is to report to the Legislative Assembly by 30 November 2009.




LEGAL, CONSTITUTIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW COMMITTEE
1.      The Legal, Constitutional and Administrative Review Committee develop options for modernising the oaths or affirmation
        of allegiance as outlined in Schedule 1 of the Constitution of Queensland 2001 and a draft preamble for insertion in the
        Constitution of Queensland 2001 which contains:
        (i)     an aspirational statement on the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Queensland;
                and
        (ii)    a statement of due recognition to Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
2.      In developing the draft preamble, regard should be had to ensuring that the text of the preamble does not purport to
        include information to be used as an aid in statutory interpretation.
3.      Stakeholders should be consulted during the development of the draft preamble including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait
        Islander Advisory Council.
4.      The Committee report, including its proposed text for the preamble, to the Legislative Assembly by 6 June 2009.
        Question put—That the motion be agreed to.
        Motion agreed to.

      VEGETATION MANAGEMENT (REGROWTH CLEARING MORATORIUM) BILL
                              Declared Urgent; Allocation of Time Limit Order
    Ms SPENCE (Sunnybank—ALP) (Leader of the House) (10.26 am), by leave, without notice: I
move—
That under the provisions of standing order 159, the Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill be declared an
urgent bill and the following time limits apply to enable the bill to be passed through its remaining stages at this day’s sitting—
(a)     Second reading by 10.00 pm;
(b)     Consideration in detail to be completed by 11.25 pm;
(c)     Third reading by 11.29 pm; and
(d)     Long title agreed by 11.30 pm.
If the stage has not been completed by the time specified, Mr Speaker shall put all remaining questions necessary to pass the bill,
including clauses and schedules en bloc and any amendments to be moved by the minister in charge of the bill, without further
amendment or debate.
       Mr SPEAKER: Order! Is the motion seconded?
       Hon. AM BLIGH (South Brisbane—ALP) (Premier and Minister for the Arts) (10.27 am): I second
the motion moved by the Leader of the House.
       Mr LANGBROEK (Surfers Paradise—LNP) (Leader of the Opposition) (10.27 am): The Premier
has said that we are facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. We have just had an
election based on the premise that we needed a mandate to get Queenslanders through a very tough
time; that we needed to create, in the words of the Premier, 100,000 jobs; and that we could rely on her.
Yet when we come into this House what is the first piece of legislation we are going to debate? It is not
about creating 100,000 jobs, as the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning said is the most important
job for this government. No. It is about vegetation management. That is what the Premier wants to come
in here and speak about—vegetation management or wild rivers.
       Government members interjected.
       Mr SPEAKER: Order! The House will come to order.
23 Apr 2009                                     Questions Without Notice                                                    157

        Mr LANGBROEK: That is what the Premier wants to speak about this week—vegetation
management and what else? Wild rivers or four-year terms for parliamentarians. In the worst economic
crisis since the Great Depression, the Premier wants to speak about anything but jobs. That is very
clear. If she is so determined to create jobs, why does she not bring on an urgency motion to introduce
some initiatives that will create the first of the 100,000 new jobs that the government has promised?
        Ms BLIGH: Mr Speaker, I rise to a point of order. The Leader of the Opposition is not speaking to
the motion that was moved by the Leader of the House; he is debating the content of the bill.
        Mr SPEAKER: Order! The debate is about whether time limits will apply. I would ask the Leader
of the Opposition to contain himself to the motion that is before the House.
        Mr LANGBROEK: Mr Speaker, with respect, I believe that this is to do with the urgency aspect—
not the time limits but the fact that an urgency motion has been brought before the House.
        Mr SPEAKER: I will listen to the Leader of the Opposition.
        Mr LANGBROEK: Thank you, Mr Speaker. This legislation will not help protect jobs. It will not
create one new job. Bringing forward this legislation will only destroy jobs in rural and regional
Queensland. We oppose this motion.
        Ms SPENCE (Sunnybank—ALP) (Leader of the House) (10.29 am): This urgency motion is
brought for very good reason.
        Opposition members interjected.
        Mr SPEAKER: Order!
        Ms SPENCE: The government clearly feels the need to get this bill through today to protect the
forests of Queensland. It was an election commitment. That is why it is not following custom and laying
on the table of the House for 14 days. This legislation will impose a three-month moratorium while we go
out there and do further consultation on this bill.
        I would like to make another couple of points. I know that people are keen to get on with question
time, but I want all members to understand that what we are doing today is allowing people 10 hours of
debate on this very important subject. It is our job as a government to make sure that government
business gets through. I am sure that, as they debate this bill for 10 hours today, all members will have
the opportunity to understand and fully comprehend the urgent nature of this bill.
        Division: Question put—That the motion be agreed to.
AYES, 49—Attwood, Bligh, Boyle, Choi, Croft, Darling, Dick, Farmer, Finn, Fraser, Grace, Hinchliffe, Hoolihan, Jarratt, Johnstone,
Jones, Kilburn, Lawlor, Male, Miller, Moorhead, Mulherin, Nelson-Carr, Nolan, O’Brien, O’Neill, Palaszczuk, Pitt, Reeves, Roberts,
Robertson, Ryan, Schwarten, Scott, Shine, Smith, Spence, Stone, Struthers, Sullivan, van Litsenburg, Wallace, Watt, Wells,
Wendt, Wettenhall, Wilson. Tellers: Keech, Kiernan
NOES, 38—Bates, Bleijie, Crandon, Cripps, Cunningham, Davis, Dempsey, Dickson, Douglas, Dowling, Elmes, Emerson, Flegg,
Foley, Gibson, Hobbs, Hopper, Johnson, Knuth, Langbroek, McArdle, McLindon, Malone, Menkens, Nicholls, Powell, Pratt,
Rickuss, Robinson, Seeney, Simpson, Sorensen, Springborg, Stevens, Stuckey, Wellington. Tellers: Horan, Messenger
        Resolved in the affirmative.

                                       QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
        Mr SPEAKER: In view of the late start, question time will finish at 11.42 am.

                                                       Job Creation
      Mr LANGBROEK (10.42 am): My question without notice is to the Premier. In the Premier’s
campaign speech, she promised 100,000 new jobs for breadwinners for Queensland families. Will the
Premier inform the parliament if a one-day-a-week job falls into the breadwinning category?
      Ms BLIGH: I thank the honourable member for the question. The member has repeatedly
throughout his opportunities this week tried to undermine the government’s commitment to create
100,000 new jobs.
      Mr Hobbs: Don’t start lying again.
      Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Premier will resume her seat. Honourable member for Warrego, the
term you used in your interjection was unparliamentary. I therefore require you to withdraw it.
      Mr Hobbs: I withdraw it, Mr Speaker.
      Mr SPEAKER: Thank you for your courtesy.
      Ms BLIGH: The Leader of the Opposition is right. I went to the last election campaign telling
Queenslanders that my government set itself a very ambitious target to create 100,000 jobs. We did that
because we believe that you need to establish goals and strive to reach them. We did that when we
came into government in 1998. We said we would strive to get unemployment down to five per cent.
158                                     Questions Without Notice                              23 Apr 2009

What did those opposite say then? They said, ‘It can’t be done. You’ll never reach it.’ We have applied
ourselves with a single-minded focus and we have achieved it.
       Why did I set a 100,000 jobs target? Because I believe that employment and work are one of the
most important responsibilities of a government. It is not something that should be joked about, like
those opposite are doing. It is not a matter to joke about.
       What the Leader of the Opposition is referring to is the way that the Australian Bureau of
Statistics, an independent national body, accounts for new jobs when it reports on a monthly basis. The
national body sets the rules, not the Queensland government. What I want to do is achieve more than
the 100,000. I have told my cabinet ministers that their job is to do better than the target. We are not
aiming to come in under this target; we are aiming to do better than it.
       Do members know why I set a target? Because I want it to be the central organising principle of
government. Have a look at what we have done since we came into government. We have reorganised
the government so that employment and economic development account for one of our new super
departments. Our determination on this should not be underestimated by those opposite.

                                              Job Creation
       Mr LANGBROEK: My second question without notice is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer be
claiming responsibility for creating every single private sector job in Queensland as part of the
government’s 100,000 jobs promise?
       Mr FRASER: I find it extraordinary that a former member of the Liberal Party would seem to
suggest that governments should not do what they can to support employment in the private sector.
Essentially, what we have seen in the last 10 minutes is the full conversion of the Leader of the
Opposition from a former member of the Liberal Party to basically the previous Leader of the Opposition
with a different tie. What we have got is the Leader of the Opposition channelling Lawrence Springborg
today.
       Mr SPEAKER: Order! You will refer to the member by his correct title.
       Mr FRASER: What we have got is the Leader of the Opposition channelling the member for
Southern Downs. Not only has he declared now that he does not have his previously stated views about
issues such as tree clearing, but his conversion into full National Party leader is now complete because
now he has adopted the attitudes of the National Party in relation to this matter as well.
       We will take responsibility for everything that occurs in the Queensland economy. We take
responsibility for achieving that target. We take responsibility for what occurs in the Queensland
economy. That much has been plain. The target of 100,000 jobs, which will be judged independently by
the ABS on the second Thursday of each and every month, is there as the benchmark. So we take
responsibility for the fortunes of Queenslanders. We cannot stop every single job loss, nor will we claim
credit for every single job created, but what we can do as a government is make sure that we put the
settings in place in which the private sector is able to invest, is able to progress projects and is able to
create the conditions in which employment can be created. That is the role of government, quite
properly.
       Mr Messenger: So what’s the baseline—100,000 on what?
       Mr FRASER: The baseline is 2.238 million, Rob; I beg your pardon, Mr Speaker. It is
2.238 million and the ABS issued it last Thursday. I would greatly encourage not only you but every
other member of the frontbench to have a look at the ABS benchmark data because that is what we
have said we are going to go from. We have been clear about that from the start. This is not our
benchmark; this is the benchmark set by the ABS on the standards by the ABS.
       What will we do? We will continue to invest in jobs generating capital works. What will we do? We
will continue to have a competitive tax environment to attract business into Queensland. We will also
work with new industries of the future, like LNG in Gladstone and the solar industry, which have great
prospects. We will work to develop the solar industry in parts of Queensland so suited to solar
generation and solar electricity generation, and we will also work on the ability to leverage off the policy
commitment to the solar hot water system announced by the Premier in the election campaign. We will
do all of that.
       (Time expired)

                                              Green Army
       Mr WATT: My question without notice is to the Premier. Can the Premier outline for the House the
details of when Queensland will see the Green Army start work on environmental projects around the
state?
       Ms BLIGH: I thank the honourable member for Everton for his question. The member for Everton
is one of the members of this House and one of the members of my team who understands the
23 Apr 2009                              Questions Without Notice                                        159

importance of work and understands that the role of government is to be active in times when the
economy goes slow. He is someone who, like me and my government, believes that in times of
economic downturn governments need to get into the economy and be active, spending money on
public works, creating demand and driving a return to prosperity. That is what you will see us do in every
part of our economic strategy.
       But you will also see us understand that at times like this the government has to put money out
there into job-creating programs. One of those is our Green Army. I outlined yesterday that we have
established the register by which people who are interested in getting a job through this mechanism can
join up, and I am very pleased to advise members that the first workers will be in action by July this year.
We already have some proposals being assessed from local governments, and I am pleased to advise
that one of the first cabs off the rank will be a proposal that has been put forward by the Sunshine Coast
Regional Council. This is a $600,000 project to provide work to 40 young job seekers.
       We hear them call out from the other side, ‘How will you do this?’ We will do it job by job, town by
town and industry by industry. On the Sunshine Coast, 40 job seekers will start work in July. They will be
working in construction, horticulture, landscaping, fencing and waste recycling in Noosa, Caloundra and
Maroochydore. I would have thought members from the Sunshine Coast would applaud the Noosa
tracks and trails project in the hinterland. It attracts hundreds of tourists each year for hiking, mountain
biking and horse-riding trails. Others will be building walking and cycling trails in Maroochydore, and
parks and works on Kawana Island at Caloundra.
       I congratulate the Sunshine Coast Regional Council for getting on board. It is that sort of attitude
and that belief that they can make a difference that will make it much easier for governments to work
together. The Sunshine Coast Regional Council and Mayor Bob Abbot are to be congratulated. He
wants to be part of creating jobs. He wants to be part of an effort to give young Queenslanders a go, to
provide them training. More importantly, he wants to leave a legacy of improved environmental
infrastructure in the area he has responsibility for.

                                               Employment
        Mr SPRINGBORG: My question without notice is to the honourable Treasurer. I note that the
government has failed to clearly define at which level it will take responsibility for jobs lost and jobs
created in Queensland and at which level it defines the starting point for its 100,000 new jobs promise in
Queensland. Will the Treasurer outline to the parliament if a new job is defined as per the ABS, and that
is a full-time job? And at what level will the Treasurer take responsibility for those new jobs created and
jobs lost in Queensland?
        Mr FRASER: I thank the Deputy Leader of the Opposition for his question. As I said earlier in
response to the interjection from the member who desired to be the Deputy Leader of the Opposition,
the member for Burnett, who clearly may have had some more qualities as a mentor for the new Leader
of the Opposition than the current Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the benchmark is 2.38 million. That
is what the ABS released the Thursday before Easter.
        The reality is that the ABS sets that benchmark. It issues the definitions. It does the survey, it
does the count, and we receive that information at the same time everyone receives it, at 11.30 on the
nominated day. As the Premier indicated, our task is to not only work to that target but to seek at every
point in time to go beyond it. The reality is that it is up to the government to take responsibility for the
fortunes of the Queensland economy. We did not create the global financial crisis. No-one in this room
created the global financial crisis. No-one in Queensland created the global financial crisis. No-one in
Australia created the global financial crisis—not this government, not the federal government, not even
the last federal government.
        What we have to do is deal with the consequences, and deal with the consequences we will. It is
not possible for the government to stop every single person who may face unemployment losing their
job over what occurs with the fallout from the global recession. But it is up to this government, as it is up
to all governments working in concert around the world with central monetary authorities in one
concerted effort to ward off what overnight the IMF has said is the biggest challenge to the global
economy since the Second World War.
        That is a fact that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition still has not come to terms with. It is a fact
that everyone else around the world has come to terms with. What we know is that it is for us as a
government, working with governments around the world and throughout Australia, to implement the
policies in concert that will put in place the economic conditions for a return to growth. We are happy to
be judged on how the economy grows and the employment effects of that. We know it will be tough but
we do not shy away from the challenge, nor do we shy away from the central task of wherever we can
resisting and pushing back the effects that will visit unemployment on so many Queenslanders.
160                                      Questions Without Notice                               23 Apr 2009

                                           Q150 Celebrations
        Ms JARRATT: My question is to the Premier. Premier, the Q150 program is building. As we head
closer to the key anniversary dates, what initiatives are being undertaken to ensure that this memorable
year is one not to be forgotten? How is the voting going as we head toward the Queensland icons
closing date of 30 April?
        Ms BLIGH: I thank the honourable member for her question and for her enthusiasm for the
celebrations of our 150th birthday. A number of new members in the parliament took the opportunity to
note the historical significance of our 150-year anniversary as a state in their first speeches yesterday.
I am pleased to advise them and all members of the House that we have a number of initiatives that are
all going very well.
        Our Q150 steam train has begun its five-month journey around the state. It is impossible to
consider the growth and development of Queensland over the last 150 years without understanding and
recognising the importance of the railways to the development of so many of our major industry sectors.
Hundreds of people have turned out to welcome and farewell the train and its passengers on the first of
its six-sector journey. This journey has attracted people from around the world. There are train buffs,
and the former Minister for Transport would be aware of the enthusiasm that people bring to this. To
have an opportunity to go on a steam train of the calibre of this and for the length of the journey is very
rare. We have seen this already generate tourism activity for the state.
        The train is being met along the way by a number of organised events. I am dismayed to advise
the House that in Gympie bushrangers held up the train to the delight of locals—hardly surprising, I
think. It might have been the member for Gympie. Ron Owen may indeed have been there! Hundreds of
people in Bundaberg braved wet weather to catch a glimpse of history in the making.
        Almost all councils have now returned their tiles for the curator to put into what I think will be a
stunning giant 31-square metre Queensland mosaic that will be displayed at this year’s Ekka. Again, I
would encourage people to be part of that.
        Members will recall the process of identifying Queensland icons, where we saw a cross-
parliamentary committee identify icons for Queenslanders to vote on. We have seen 19,780 votes
taken. Surf-lifesavers are so far topping the pops as the state’s top shapers. The Bee Gees, although
they were only here for a short time, are seen as our top influential artists. Wally Lewis, unsurprisingly, is
seen as our top sports legend. Australia Zoo was voted the top location, followed by Surfers Paradise.
The Great Barrier Reef has topped our natural attractions list. The Story Bridge has topped the top
structures, and World Expo 88 was voted our top defining moment. The Royal Flying Doctors Service
has been recognised as the top of the list for Queensland’s innovation and invention, and the Ekka for
our top events and festivals. It is not too late, and I would encourage people to keep voting. Who would
have thought that Queenslanders would have voted that backyard barbies are their favourite typically
Queensland icon?

                                             Unemployment
       Mr NICHOLLS: My question is to the Treasurer. The previous Premier promised a five per cent
unemployment rate. Yesterday the Treasurer was contemplating a 10 per cent unemployment rate.
Given that Labor says jobs are part of its DNA, does the Treasurer concede that this is now a serious
mutation?
       Mr FRASER: I thank the shadow Treasurer for the question. The reality is that what we have
seen overnight is the International Monetary Fund again issue its world economic outlook in which it
points to all of its forecasts for major developed economies and developing economies showing serious
deteriorations. The reality of the effects of the global recession, the magnitude of which has not been
seen since at least the Second World War, seems presently to escape those on the other side of the
chamber.
       What we know is that unemployment is rising. That is no revelation to any member of the House
let alone any person outside of this parliament. What we know is that the effects of the global recession
are deep and, most concerningly from the IMF’s report, potentially will visit upon the economies of the
world longer and slower recoveries than have been the case in other recessions.
       We have already been in the position where we have seen forecasts for unemployment at a
national level and at a state level revised upwards. Clearly, from what we know from around the world all
the risk is that unemployment will rise higher than has been presently forecast. That has been the
experience for governments around the world. It has been the experience for the Australian
government. It has been the experience for the IMF itself in its reissuing overnight of its own forecasts
for unemployment both in the Australian nation and in economies around the world.
       There is no point pretending that the risk is not here that unemployment will go higher than is
forecast at this point in time. What is our challenge as a government? Our challenge is to not only
protect existing jobs wherever we can but also generate as many jobs as we can both directly and
23 Apr 2009                              Questions Without Notice                                         161

through putting in place the settings in the economy that encourage investment, that facilitate
investment and that bring back private sector investment.
        What is the story of what has occurred over the last year? It is the drying up of private investment.
What is sustaining growth in the Australian economy and the Queensland economy at this point in time?
It is public investment. That is the appropriate response to take for governments at times like this. But
what we need to do is bring about and encourage a return of private sector investment.
        That is why our task here is not only to act directly but also to put in place the policy settings that
deliver a return to enable the private sector to continue to invest and to do everything we can to avoid
the rise of unemployment that is being visited upon our economy as it is being visited upon all
economies. As the IMF said last night, it will reach every corner of the globe. Our task here is to do
everything we can to lessen the effects on Queensland and chart a course for the economy to return to
growth.

                                             Unemployment
        Mr RYAN: My question without notice is to the Treasurer. The Treasurer has consistently stated
that while unemployment is on the rise there is every risk it could continue to climb due to the effects of
the global economic crisis. Can the Treasurer please outline what immediate measures the government
initiated to assist those workers affected?
        Mr FRASER: I thank the member for Morayfield for his question and congratulate him on his
election to this office. There are many people who have had different views about the nature of the
make-up of parliaments over the history of this parliament—encouraging people from different
backgrounds and from different age groups to be elected to parliament. I know the former Leader of the
Opposition had a view about this. I, for one, have had a view about it. I encourage the member on taking
the step up to putting his name on a ballot paper and standing up for the people that he represents to
the north of Brisbane.
        What the member for Morayfield knows is what every member of this government knows but
every member of the LNP is clearly still in denial of. That is, with unemployment rising governments
need to step up to the mark. What we do is put in place the rapid response teams which do link up with
businesses where there is an announcement of retrenchments, of closures, of job losses to make sure
that those people can provide on-the-ground assistance in practical ways to those people who face the
devastation of having unemployment visited upon them and their families.
        What assistance is provided? It is practical assistance that goes to assessing their skills, to
assisting with career planning, to linking up wherever possible to jobs that might be available in the
same location, to providing information and referral services. What we have seen is the federal
government recognise the model that we piloted in Queensland with changes to the job network which
recognised that they need to make sure that they link up with people immediately after unemployment is
visited upon them, not after a waiting period. We are happy to work with the federal government in
recognising its moves to change its practices to ensure that assistance can be practically provided to all
employees who face this circumstance immediately, without the waiting that previously existed.
        The rapid response teams are recognised by industry as providing a valuable service. Industry
does notify government where these situations occur and invite the participation of the rapid response
team or welcome the assistance of the teams when their announcements are made.
        The ability to provide assistance is also extended through the Worker Assistance Program.
Practical assistance, including assistance with training and courses to learn new skills. Ultimately,
depending on the nature of retrenchment and the size of the business involved and the location, up to
$5,000 per employee can be provided to assist in those circumstances.
        We know that the job losses have not finished in Queensland. We know that the reality of the
global recession and what that means for individual Queenslanders and their families has yet to be seen
in full force. That is why we put in place these initiatives. That is why the federal government has
recognised our approach to dealing with the fallout when it means people lose their jobs. That is why we
will continue to put in place these services, to provide the practical assistance wherever we can and
always concentrate on generating those jobs to get those people back into work.

                         Ministerial Adviser, Dismissal for Drink Driving
       Ms SIMPSON: My question is to Minister for Community Services and Housing and Minister for
Women. Yesterday an adviser in the minister’s office was sacked for being caught driving under the
influence in a government vehicle. Why has a different, higher standard been applied to a member of
the minister’s staff than the Labor Premier applied to her when caught for the same offence but with a
higher blood alcohol level than her ex-employee?
       Ms STRUTHERS: The core issue here is drink driving and it is a serious issue. I made a serious
mistake two years ago, I took full responsibility for my actions and I paid a very high price—a high price
162                                      Questions Without Notice                               23 Apr 2009

that I continue to pay. Yesterday the Leader of the Opposition dismissed the issue, saying that he was
not interested in it. He has obviously had a restless night and he has talked about the issue this morning
and is taking it a little more seriously, which is pleasing to see. It is a very serious matter. These matters
need to be dealt with responsibly. The Premier has taken the appropriate action. The Premier’s office
employs ministerial staff. The Premier took the appropriate action yesterday. I support that action.

                                                 ZeroGen
       Mr O’BRIEN: My question without notice is to the Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and
Energy. The issue of greenhouse gas and lowering greenhouse gas emissions is an important one for
Queensland. Can the minister please advise the House what is happening with the ZeroGen project?
       Mr ROBERTSON: I thank the member for the question. The Queensland government, in
partnership with the coal industry, remains committed to accelerating the deployment of low-emission
coal technologies before 2020. ZeroGen is one of those projects which will assist the government in
meeting this commitment.
       Yesterday the government announced its recommendations to the Weller-Webb review of various
state run boards and councils, including ZeroGen. We recommended that a review should be
undertaken by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation to ascertain
whether the body should be transferred to industry or wound up.
       Both the Queensland government and the coal industry have made significant commitments to
date on low-emission coal technologies. The Bligh government has committed some $300 million of
taxpayers’ money to this important technology development, subject to the outcomes of feasibility
analysis currently underway.
       The feasibility work program is jointly funded by the Queensland government and the Australian
Coal Association. The Queensland Clean Coal Council is currently considering ZeroGen as part of a
portfolio that has the potential to deliver deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from the stationary
energy sector. However, demonstration projects such as ZeroGen are unlikely to become a reality
without additional funding support and involvement by the Australian government and other industry
partners. This is a position that we have consistently enunciated over the last number of years.
       This is not a financial burden we can shoulder alone. The Bligh government has always and will
continue to monitor and assess the effectiveness of relevant government owned bodies such as
ZeroGen to achieve its policy objectives in relation to greenhouse gas emission reduction, employment
creation and economic development. But we make no apologies for ensuring that taxpayer money is
spent effectively. That is the responsibility of government—to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are spent or
invested efficiently and that we get value for money for that investment. The Weller-Webb review
recommendation in relation to ZeroGen will be considered as part of these ongoing deliberations. But
our commitment to finding solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in this state remains as strong
as it ever has been.

                                            Electricity Prices
       Mr SEENEY: My question without notice is to the Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and
Energy. Minister, the government has continued with a policy of stripping increasing levels of dividends
from the electricity corporations while at the same time imposing extra costs such as forcing them to buy
recycled water that they do not need while Queensland electricity consumers have seen their average
power bills rise by $280 in two years. Minister, yes or no: is that $280 increase a result of your
government’s policies?
       Mr ROBERTSON: The answer is no, and I would refer the member to the draft determination
published by the Queensland Competition Authority that actually supports that answer.

                                            Public Transport
       Mrs SCOTT: Mr Speaker, I offer my congratulations to you on your election as Speaker and also
to the Minister for Transport, to whom my question is directed this morning. Can the minister please
advise the House of any upcoming transport service plans that will benefit the residents of my electorate
of Woodridge?
       Ms NOLAN: I can. I thank the member for Woodridge for her question. I think that she is very well
known in here as someone who repeatedly stands up for accessible public services for her constituents
in all fields, and public transport is just one of them. I will get to the question in a second, but I
understand that there are some children from the Ipswich Special School in the gallery—perhaps where
I cannot see them. It is a wonderful school with a great staff and a lovely group of kids, and I really want
to welcome them here today.
       As Minister for Transport, I have made it clear that one of my real priorities is to make public
transport both more accessible and more sustainable, and I am pleased to announce that already the
23 Apr 2009                              Questions Without Notice                                       163

start of that is taking place. From this Monday, 27 April, there will be additional bus services in the Logan
region which will cater for around 1,000 additional passengers in peak times on every weekday. This
government, as we have said over a number of years, is deadset serious about tackling traffic
congestion by investing in public transport. That is why the government is putting an extra $1½ million
on top of the services that we already provide every year into improving bus services for commuters in
the Logan region. As part of this major package of service improvements, there will be 151 extra
TransLink bus services operating each week throughout the Logan area. We know that people want
extra services that operate both locally and to the city and back again during peak periods, and these
service enhancements will help deliver that.
        From next Monday there will be 15 extra bus services each day in the weekday peak period on
both local and city-bound routes. There will also be 38 extra bus services through the day and on the
weekends and on public holidays. These new services will provide capacity for an extra 4,900
passengers on each weekend. I note, Mr Speaker, that your constituents will also benefit from this and
I am sure that they understand that this work started when you were the minister. Further, these
significant service improvements will be delivered on the back of nine new air-conditioned buses.
        The government’s priority is to alleviate growing passenger demand, particularly during those
busy periods, by providing reliable public transport services and improving timetables. The areas that
will benefit from this are the Logan suburbs of Loganlea, Woodridge, Slacks Creek, Springwood,
Crestmead and Rochedale South, among others. I think that this is a really substantial improvement.
Some 1,000 extra spots in peak time will make a real difference. It will improve the regularity of services
and it will reduce overcrowding, and I look forward to these services rolling out early next week.

                                               Airport Link
        Mr GIBSON: My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning. This morning we
heard from the minister his desire that Airport Link puts food on tables for Queensland families. What
specific measures has the Minister for Infrastructure put in place to ensure that the vitally important
Airport Link project is completed and that investors are not left financially destitute?
        Mr HINCHLIFFE: I thank the shadow minister and the member for Gympie for his question. As I
did indeed say to the House earlier today, Airport Link is one of the key projects that is being undertaken
in Queensland at this moment. It is in fact the largest infrastructure project happening in the state, and it
is on track, on time and on budget. This week we saw Macquarie Bank give 80 per cent of unit holders
in BrisConnections the opportunity to divest themselves of their interest in the company. If they choose
to accept that, investors holding less than 50,000 units will be relieved of the payment of the $1 per unit
instalment due next Wednesday and the instalment due in January next year. But this is all in the
context of making sure that the project continues to be delivered.
        The Queensland government welcomes the announcement. What we are seeing here is the
government being very clear that this is a commercial matter that needs commercial solutions, and we
are seeing them happening as we speak. We are seeing those things playing out. But this gives me an
opportunity to reiterate how important this project is to the job security of those 1,300 men and women
working on the project at this very moment—working on project sites between Bowen Hills and Toombul
across the project.
        Some 2,600 people will be employed during the peak of the construction process and some
10,000 jobs indirectly and directly will arise out of the project. But this project delivers fantastic
advantages in the congestion-busting measures that it is all about. It means the elimination of 18 sets of
traffic lights, a 17-minute slash for a trip from the edge of the CBD to the airport, and faster and more
efficient bus travel for commuters from Kedron to the CBD. A big bonus that comes out of this is the
delivery of that section of the Northern Busway. Not one cent of toll will be raised until those buses are
flowing on the Northern Busway, and the airport roundabout will be delivered. So this is a project that we
will see delivered and we are committed to delivering.

                                           Tourism Industry
      Mr WENDT: My question is to the Minister for Tourism and Fair Trading. 2009 is set to be a tough
year for Australia and Queensland’s tourism industry. Many regional Queensland communities and
businesses rely on tourism for jobs and businesses. Can the minister tell the House what the Bligh
government plans to do this year to protect jobs and combat any tourism downturn?
      Mr LAWLOR: Over the past month I have travelled throughout Queensland and met with tourism
organisations and operators in order to fully understand the challenges that they are facing. I have also
met with industry leaders, including the Queensland Tourism Industry Council’s Daniel Gschwind and
also Chris Rodwell from the Australian Industry Group—incidentally, both members of the Premier’s
Jobs Squad.
      Opposition members interjected.
164                                      Questions Without Notice                                23 Apr 2009

       Mr LAWLOR: There are 119,000 direct tourism jobs in Queensland and, as tourism minister, I will
fight for every one of them. I draw attention to the media release put out yesterday by my shadow
minister, the member for Mermaid Beach. I would suggest that he do some serious homework, because
yesterday he stated that the value—
       Opposition members interjected.
       Mr SPEAKER: Order!
       Mr LAWLOR: When he had all day to consider the numbers, yesterday in that press release he
said that the tourism industry contributed $15 billion to the state’s economy. In fact, it is $19.6 billion. So
he has understated the benefit to the Queensland economy by $4.6 billion. I do not know exactly what
part of the state the member left out—whether it was Cairns or the Gold Coast. He could not get his
party to back the Gold Coast AFL stadium, although I will admit he backed it himself. That is a major
piece of tourism infrastructure for the Gold Coast.
       The operators I have met have said that the summer and Easter holiday seasons were good
thanks to the hard work of Tourism Queensland, the state government and the industry. My discussions
follow the hard work by my predecessor, Desley Boyle, to ensure that the tourism industry has a clear
plan forward. Domestic tourism will be the lifeblood of the tourism industry over the next 12 months. This
year we will not see too many bells and whistles in the advertising and promotional campaigns. We will
be digging in our heels and we will fight for every dollar available of that $19.6 billion for tourism. The
marketing campaign this year will be deal and incentive based.
       As we speak, Tourism Queensland is working with key stakeholders and Queensland operators to
put together packages. The $1.3 million Bonus Breaks campaign, launched by the Premier, has, in fact,
worked. We have worked with Qantas Airlines, Jetstar and Continental to secure new services to our
major tourism regions.
       (Time expired)

                                      Emissions Trading Scheme
       Mr ELMES: My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability. Will the minister
table the advice she has received on expected Queensland job losses as a result of her government
agreeing to implement the federal government’s proposed emissions trading scheme?
       Ms JONES: I thank the member for the question. I think today has been a very interesting
exercise in seeing exactly where the new LNP stands when it comes to climate change. They have
absolutely declared their hand that they remain climate change deniers. Unlike the opposition, we will
not bury our heads in the sand and pretend that climate change is not happening. In fact, we are
working with the federal government, working with industry and working with local government. In fact, I
went to the local government synopsis this morning to talk about climate change because, unlike the
opposition, the Local Government Association of Queensland and many of the mayors and CEOs in the
opposition’s constituencies were there to talk to me and ask me questions about climate change. Unlike
you, they realise that this is something real, that we need to as a government—
       Mr SPEAKER: Order! The honourable the minister will not use that word in this place.
       Ms JONES: From the exhibition that we have seen from the members opposite this morning, they
have made a number of things very clear. Firstly, they think climate change is a laughing matter.
Secondly, they are playing politics with the real—
       Opposition members interjected.
       Mr SPEAKER: Order!
       Ms JONES: As I was saying, what we have seen here this morning, as the National Party—
       Opposition members interjected.
       Mr SPEAKER: Order!
       Ms JONES: I certainly do not want any Queenslander to be under the illusion that the LNP
believes in climate change. They do not believe in climate change. They made it very clear here this
morning that they are not truly interested in protecting Queensland jobs. As I was saying earlier, as a
government we are working collaboratively with the federal government, with local government, with
industry and with business to ensure that Queensland is prepared for the onset of climate change. We
are doing that in several ways.
       Right now, as the new Minister for Climate Change, I am reviewing ClimateSmart 2050. This is
the overarching policy of the Queensland government to look at climate change. Part of that climate
change strategy, which I am reviewing, will look at the impacts on Queensland of the carbon pollution
reduction scheme that is being proposed by the federal government.
       Unlike the opposition, I will not bury my head in the sand and say, ‘It’s too difficult. You can’t
possibly deal with climate change and protect Queensland jobs.’ My job is to make sure that
23 Apr 2009                                    Questions Without Notice                                                  165

Queensland is as prepared as possible. Climate change is a reality and we are going to tackle it head-
on.

                              World War II, Queensland Sites of Importance
        Ms JOHNSTONE: My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability. The
recent movie Australia was a revelation to many people who did not realise the extent of Japanese
attacks on Australian soil, including North Queensland, during World War II. With Anzac Day
approaching, can the minister advise the House what steps have been taken to identify and preserve
the sites in Queensland that played such an important role in our defence?
        Ms JONES: One of the great parts of my responsibility is for cultural heritage in Queensland. It is
something that I am very passionate about. In my own electorate, I am the youngest member of the
Ashgrove Historical Society. So I really would like to thank the new member for Townsville for making
her first question about the heritage of her lovely area.
        I agree with some of the sentiment in the member’s question in that sometimes the role that North
Queensland played in World War II has been overlooked. As a government, we have taken it upon
ourselves to ensure that we get a detailed history of the role that North Queensland played in World War
II. For example, many Queenslanders might not be aware that the Horn Island airfield base was the only
military base in Queensland that was bombed by the Japanese on regular occasions. In fact, Japanese
aircraft bombed and strafed on eight occasions. To this day, 20 Japanese bomb craters remain there.
        In fact, during World War II over half a million Australian and American troops passed through
Townsville. That is why, on the eve of Anzac Day, I am very proud to table and also launch World War II:
North Queensland: a cultural heritage overview of significant places in the defence of North Queensland
during World War II. It is a very comprehensive report and it contains over 300 different places of
significance in Far North Queensland that featured during World War II—
        Mr Wallace: A great place, North Queensland.
        Ms JONES: It is a fantastic place—a great football, team, too.
Tabled paper: Document titled ‘WWII: NQ: A cultural heritage overview of significant places in the defence of north Queensland
during World War II’.
       As I said, this report covers over 300 sites, of which 60 sites we think have the potential to be
listed on the Queensland Heritage Register. Those places range from as far north as Thursday Island to
the Atherton Tableland, the Gulf Country, Charters Towers and Gordonvale. Also, what is really
important about this report is that it not only gives a comprehensive view of the sites that were involved;
it also gives a great chronology about how North Queensland got prepared for World War II. It also
highlights the wonderful role, and the significant role, played by the ordinary civilians of North
Queensland—and the member would be representing many of their grandchildren today—in protecting
North Queensland.
       Given that this is the last sitting before Anzac Day, I think it is wonderful that the Minister for
Public Works, in collaboration with other bodies, has initiated a program to restore many of the war
memorials we have across Queensland. I thank the minister for that. I know that our commitment to
heritage matters in Queensland, particularly in relation to World War I and World War II, is second to
none. We will continue to invest in our cultural heritage.

                                          Drivers, Wearing of Glasses
       Mr FOLEY: My question is to the Minister for Transport. It has been brought to my attention that
drivers wearing large, thick framed glasses, particularly with side arms like these, have a high
percentage of their peripheral vision blocked which in the case of one of my constituents resulted in a
very serious accident. Whilst the difficulty of banning forms of glasses being worn while driving is
understood, what will the minister’s department do to notify drivers of the possible dangers they face as
a result of wearing this form of eyewear?
       Ms NOLAN: I thank the honourable member for the question. I take it the member means the
glasses that have big fat arms so that you cannot see out of the sides?
       An honourable member: What about Dame Edna?
       Ms NOLAN: Dame Edna might be in a lot of trouble under the Chris Foley regime! I am really
happy to have a look at that issue. It is something the new Economic Development Committee might
want to consider now that it has responsibility for road safety. I will have a look at that and see if we have
any evidence around that issue contributing to road accidents.
       I think it is a really fair point. I will chat to the member further about the case of his constituent and
have a look into whether we need to make some kind of change, be it either a legislative change—
although that might be a bit heavy handed—or, as the member suggests, the provision of some kind of
166                                      Questions Without Notice                                23 Apr 2009

warning or otherwise to motorists. I am really happy to have a look at that. I thank the member for the
question.
      Mr Foley: Mr Speaker, I cannot table the glasses because they belong to a friend of mine.
      Mr SPEAKER: Good. Thank you. That will be a relief to the Table Office, I have no doubt.

                               Supreme and District Courts Complex
        Ms FARMER: My question without notice is to the Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial
Relations. The Bligh government has reiterated its election promises of securing jobs for Queenslanders
and delivering on major infrastructure projects. Can the Attorney-General advise the House of the
progress of his department’s largest capital works project—the new Supreme and District Courts
Complex?
        Mr DICK: I thank the member for Bulimba for her question. I congratulate her on her election and
all of the other members of parliament who entered this place for the first time this year. I thank the
member for her interest in my portfolio, and I look forward to working with her and all of the other new
members of parliament.
        This government is committed to delivering major infrastructure projects and delivering jobs for
Queenslanders. Yesterday I was very pleased and privileged in the company of the Chief Justice, the
honourable Paul de Jersey AC, to visit the single biggest courts capital works project in the history of our
nation. The construction of the new $600 million Supreme and District Court precinct is a centrepiece of
the government’s job generating capital works program.
        This project will generate 5,000 jobs directly and indirectly for Queenslanders—that will mean
5,000 families who will have a mum and dad going to work each day working on a very significant
project for the future of our state; that will mean 5,000 kids who will have a mum and dad earning some
money, engaged positively in their trade or profession, working on something that will be of great
significance to our state.
        Up to 450 workers will work on that project at any one time. Yesterday I met some of those
workers. I am very proud of the work that they are doing and the future that they are building for all
Queenslanders. I also acknowledge the Minister for Public Works and the Department of Public Works
for the work and the contribution they are making to that project.
        Like all of the government’s infrastructure projects, we are in the business of building Queensland
and creating jobs—jobs not cuts. What is more, this project heralds a new era for justice in Queensland.
One of the great things about the project is the design of this building. It is a building that will be flooded
with light. We believe in a court and justice system that is open and transparent. I am delighted to have
seen the schematic designs of the building and to have a look at what is planned for the interior. It will be
a building that will be open to all Queenslanders so that all Queenslanders will have access to this court
building and will understand and appreciate the importance of the justice system in this state.
        I am also pleased to state that the project is on time and on budget and is planned to be opened
in late 2011 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Queensland. But, like all
things, it is always time for renewal and change and this court complex exemplifies that. There will be a
significant number of new trials we hope that will be conducted in this new building. I want to thank all of
the workers involved in the project and all of my colleagues who are supporting me in this. I look forward
to securing more jobs for Queenslanders.

                           Australian Agricultural College Corporation
       Mr HOPPER: My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries. Does the minister plan to sell
off any of the agricultural college land? Will the minister give the House an undertaking today that this is
not in his plan?
       Mr MULHERIN: I thank the honourable member for the question. The Australian Agricultural
College Corporation is now part of the portfolio of the Department of Employment, Economic
Development and Innovation. It will play an important role in ensuring that we have the appropriate skills
to assist industry to seize the opportunities and meet the challenges that will come industry’s way. The
agency is currently in the process of developing a strategic paper that will look at how we can improve
the delivery of services to industry. We will be releasing that strategic paper that will enable industry to
participate in the way forward to ensure that the Australian Agricultural College Corporation will become
the premier rural training provider for the agricultural sector. The Australian Agricultural College
Corporation is a much loved corporation, but unfortunately industry does not use it. We will be
consulting with industry on the way forward in the coming months.
23 Apr 2009                            Questions Without Notice                                      167

                           Disability Services, Adult Accommodation
        Mrs MILLER: My question is to the Minister for Disability Services and Multicultural Affairs. What
is the Bligh government doing to provide people with a disability with a range of accommodation
options?
        Ms PALASZCZUK: I thank the member for her question. The Bligh government is committed to
expanding the range of accommodation and providing people with a disability a choice as to what sort of
accommodation they would like to live in. Recently I opened new adult accommodation services at
Logan especially for Logan residents who have cerebral palsy. This new $3.1 million facility at Hillcrest
will initially mean that 24 people with a disability with high-care needs will now benefit from a 24-hour,
around the clock, care facility. I am also proud that the construction of these new houses cost $9 million
and created over 60 new jobs in the construction phase of this project.
        This new service will change the lives of people with a disability living in the Logan area by
assisting them to stay living in their own home whilst also being able to access the local community. I am
exceptionally proud of the six purpose-designed houses at Hillcrest. They are contemporary homes,
they are spacious and they are functional. It makes me proud to be part of a Labor government that is
delivering and changing the lives of people with a disability. The houses are also designed to meet the
specialist healthcare needs of the people.
        Through the Adult Accommodation Service, the Cerebral Palsy League will support people so
that they can remain living in their own homes and give them greater access. People will be supported
to access the community, recreation and leisure service programs across the Moreton region and in
nearby areas. These include the league Springfield Space, which is in the electorate of the honourable
member for Bundamba, the Moorooka Day and Community Access Service and the Capalaba
Recreation and Leisure Service.
        I am also pleased that local Cerebral Palsy League representative, Byron Albury, was very
supportive of the construction of these new facilities and said that it provides people with real choices.
This is what the government is about. We are about giving people real options and a range of
accommodation services that they can be proud to live in and call their own.
        In addition, the government is very much committed to looking at the transition of moving younger
people out of aged-care facilities, which is a priority on which we are working with the federal
government. To this end, as part of one of the Bligh election commitments, we will be looking at creating
more purpose-built accommodation for these people on the Gold Coast. I look very much forward to
opening these facilities in the very near future.

                           Mental Health, Review Recommendations
       Mr McARDLE: My question would be to the health minister, but as he is not here at the moment,
nor were we informed he would not be here during question time, it is to the Premier.
       Mr SPEAKER: The Premier did announce that. What I have arranged is that if you have a health
related question you put it to the Premier.
       Mr McARDLE: The minister for communities claims that review recommendations arising from
the brutal 2007 New Year’s Eve killing of a young girl on Bribie Island by her mentally ill father were
already implemented. Were these recommendations in place this year when a mentally ill father of four
took his life after being refused admission to Ipswich Hospital three times in five days or when three
patients at the Logan Hospital died late last year?
       MS BLIGH: I thank the honourable member for the question. I would again advise that I advised
the House this morning that the Deputy Premier would be representing me at what I believe is a very
important student function being held to celebrate Anzac Day.
       This question goes to an incident that occurred at Bribie Island during the Christmas period the
year before last. Every member of this House would agree that it was both shocking and tragic. The
government indicated at the time that it would thoroughly investigate the matter and if there were any
shortcomings in not only the individual systems involved with the care of this gentleman but, importantly,
the relationships between the relevant agencies such as Police, Health, Communities et cetera, there
would be a thorough investigation of that as well and that we would make that report public.
       I was not able to make the report public at the time the government received it because there
were matters before the courts in relation to the charging of the gentleman concerned. I advised of that
publicly and said that as soon as the court processes were complete the report would be released. It
has been released. That meant that during that time, while the court matters were proceeding, the
government had the opportunity to consider the recommendations and to implement them.
       I am obviously not aware of the circumstances behind the cases the member mentioned. If it is
possible for him to give the names to me privately I am happy for the health minister to reply to him
directly in relation to the circumstances of those cases. I do not know the dates on which the matters he
168                                Parliament of Queensland Amendment BIll                                    23 Apr 2009

refers to occurred, but I am able, once I have those dates and the names, to tell the member when the
recommendations were implemented and whether or not those procedures were in place and whether
they relate in any way to the incidents that he refers to.

                                                    Beef Industry
         Mr SHINE: My question is for the Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and
Regional Queensland. McDonald’s has recently aired television commercials in Japan. Why are they
good news for our beef producers?
         Mr SPEAKER: The honourable minister for primary industries has one minute to tell us the good
news.
         Mr MULHERIN: I thank the honourable member for the question. McDonald’s has spent millions
of dollars on a television advertising campaign in Japan that promotes the safety of its burger patties
made from Australian beef. One of the ads features our National Livestock Identification System for
cattle, or NLIS as it is known, which is an identification and traceability system for livestock. The
McDonald’s campaign has been described as the greatest customer endorsement of NLIS ever seen
and has the flow-on effect of boosting the safety image of all Australian beef sold in Japan.
         In the ad two young Japanese girls show how NLIS can identify and track individual animals from
their property of birth right through to slaughter. The system has now been operating in Queensland for
more than three years. The lifetime traceability improves product integrity and market access—
particularly for export markets—and assists with management of diseases and chemical residues.
         (Time expired)
         Mr SPEAKER: Before I call an end to question time, can I thank for their courtesy this week the
honourable the Premier and, of course, the Leader of the Opposition. I think there has been a note of
civility in the debate this week. I do thank them for that.
         It is my practice, and it will be my practice next time, to make sure that the records of proceedings
are reviewed by my officers. Where unparliamentary language has occurred I will ask those members
on the following day, for consistency of ruling right across the parliament, to stand and withdraw the
comments. In relation to the comments that were brought to my attention from yesterday’s proceedings,
I have spoken to the honourable members concerned and pointed out the expectations that I have for
parliament. I am happy to discuss this with the leadership group.
         On an advertising moment, Kevin Jones, the Sergeant-at-Arms, has advised that Anzac Day
badges can be purchased at the reception desk on level 3. During question time and the early morning
proceedings we had Holland Park Probus Club from the electorate of Greenslopes, the Ipswich Special
School from the electorate of Ipswich and also Ormiston college from the electorate of Cleveland visit us
at Parliament House.

                                             NOTICE OF MOTION
                                       Revocation of State Forest Areas
        Hon. KJ JONES (Ashgrove—ALP) (Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability) (11.44 am): I
give notice that, after the expiration of at least 28 days as provided in the Nature Conservation Act 1992,
I shall move—
1)    That this House requests the Governor in Council to revoke by regulation under Section 32 of the Nature Conservation
      Act 1992 the dedication of protected areas as set out in the Proposal tabled by me in the House today, viz


                                            Description of area to be revoked

      Parts of Calliope Conservation          Areas described as Lot 2 and Lot 3 on plan SP223038 and containing an
                                              area of about 23.81 hectares as illustrated on the attached plan.


2)    That Mr Speaker and the Clerk of the Parliament forward a copy of this resolution to the Minister for Climate Change and
      Sustainability for submission to the Governor in Council.


                    PARLIAMENT OF QUEENSLAND AMENDMENT BILL
                                                    First Reading
        Hon. AM BLIGH (South Brisbane—ALP) (Premier and Minister for the Arts) (11.45 am): I present
a bill for an act to amend the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001 to provide for the Law, Justice and
23 Apr 2009                      Superannuation (State Public Sector) Amendment Bill                    169

Safety Committee and the Public Accounts and Public Works Committee, and to make amendments to
other acts as stated in the schedule. I present the explanatory notes, and I move—
That the bill be now read a first time.
        Question put—That the bill be now read a first time.
        Motion agreed to.
        Bill read a first time.
Tabled paper: Parliament of Queensland Amendment Bill.
Tabled paper: Parliament of Queensland Amendment Bill, explanatory notes.

                                                 Second Reading
        Hon. AM BLIGH (South Brisbane—ALP) (Premier and Minister for the Arts) (11.45 am): I move—
That the bill be now read a second time.
         I am pleased to introduce the Parliament of Queensland Amendment Bill 2009. I believe that the
time has come to refresh the way our parliamentary committee system operates and to give our
committees a stronger role in generating policy and legislative ideas.
         This legislation forms the basis of the most significant restructure of the parliamentary committee
system in decades and will take our number of committees from eight to nine. Under the new structure,
the parliament will have four new committees focusing on best practice policy and legislative solutions to
some of the broad issues within their area of responsibility. These new committees will be the Law,
Justice and Safety Committee; the Economic Development Committee; the Environment and
Resources Committee; and the Social Development Committee. The important oversight functions of
the Members’ Ethics and Parliamentary Privileges Committee, the Scrutiny of Legislation Committee,
the Standing Orders Committee and the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee will remain
unchanged under the bill.
         The bill proposes to amend the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001 by creating a Law, Justice
and Safety Committee in place of the Legal, Constitutional and Administrative Review Committee. It will
also amalgamate the Public Accounts Committee and the Public Works Committee and their functions
to form the Public Accounts and Public Works Committee. The resolution of the parliament earlier today
added functions to the legislative functions of the previous Legal, Constitutional and Administrative
Review Committee and established and conferred functions and powers on the Economic Development
Committee, the Environment and Resources Committee and the Social Development Committee.
         I look forward to considering the fresh ideas that I am confident these committees will generate on
ways to tackle some of the biggest and most complex issues facing Queenslanders. I take a moment in
this second reading speech to encourage all members, particularly new members who are joining these
new committees, to approach them with a real sense of what can be achieved in their role as
parliamentarians. When I look at some other parliaments around the country and around the world I see
some of the parliamentary committees delivering very good legislative ideas that can be picked up by
the government of the day. We have all probably heard and seen, particularly in our federal parliament,
ideas that have been generated out of a bipartisan approach through their committee system then
become a legislative or program reality of the government.
         There are issues that we are facing as a people that require us to look at them in a bipartisan way.
I was very impressed last year with the diligence with which all members on both sides applied
themselves to the two select committees that we had, looking at organ donation and surrogacy. It is that
experience that has convinced me that it is time for us to renew and reinvigorate the parliamentary
committee system. I trust that people will take the opportunity that is being presented to them with this
bill. I commend the bill to the House.
         Debate, on motion of Mr Langbroek, adjourned.

            SUPERANNUATION (STATE PUBLIC SECTOR) AMENDMENT BILL
                                                   First Reading
      Hon. AP FRASER (Mount Coot-tha—ALP) (Treasurer and Minister for Employment and
Economic Development) (11.49 am): I present a bill for an act to amend the Superannuation (State
Public Sector) Act 1990 for particular purposes. I present the explanatory notes, and I move—
That the bill be now read a first time.
        Question put—That the bill be now read a first time.
        Motion agreed to.
        Bill read a first time.
170                                         Industrial Relations Amendment Bill                                       23 Apr 2009

Tabled paper: Superannuation (State Public Sector) Amendment Bill.
Tabled paper: Superannuation (State Public Sector) Amendment Bill, explanatory notes.

                                                      Second Reading
     Hon. AP FRASER (Mount Coot-tha—ALP) (Treasurer and Minister for Employment and
Economic Development) (11.49 am): I move—
That the bill be now read a second time.
       The bill amends the Superannuation (State Public Sector) Act 1990 to allow non-public-sector
employers of spouses and former spouses of existing QSuper members who have a QSuper account to
contribute to the fund. This makes QSuper’s arrangements consistent with other public sector and local
government schemes. In addition, the bill contains provisions to reinforce that the purchasers of a
government asset are bound by the QSuper rules, in relation to the superannuation conditions of
employees transferred as part of the sale.
       Since July 2007, QSuper Ltd, a company wholly owned by the QSuper Board, has administered
QSuper. At that time, a small number of staff were directly employed by the company with the remainder
being Treasury employees engaged under an employment services agreement. This bill facilitates the
permanent transfer of these staff to the company from 1 July 2009 and gives them a 12-month period in
which they may elect to ‘revert’ back to public sector employment. The bill contains provisions to protect
the existing benefits, entitlements and remuneration for the employees concerned, who will then be
employed directly by the company under an enterprise bargaining agreement. I commend the bill to the
House.
       Debate, on motion of Mr Nicholls, adjourned.

                              INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AMENDMENT BILL
                                                         First Reading
       Hon. CR DICK (Greenslopes—ALP) (Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations)
(11.51 am): I present a bill for an act to amend the Industrial Relations Act 1999, for particular purposes.
I present the explanatory notes, and I move—
That the bill be now read a first time.
        Question put—That the bill be now read a first time.
        Motion agreed to.
        Bill read a first time.
Tabled paper: Industrial Relations Amendment Bill.
Tabled paper: Industrial Relations Amendment Bill, explanatory notes.

                                                      Second Reading
      Hon. CR DICK (Greenslopes—ALP) (Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations)
(11.51 am): I move—
That the bill be now read a second time.
       Since the election of the Rudd government, there have been ongoing discussions between the
federal government and the states about a national industrial relations system to replace Work Choices.
The Commonwealth’s Fair Work Act 2009 codifies the current situation in which the President of the
Australian Industrial Relations Commission—to be renamed Fair Work Australia—and the heads of the
state tribunals together discuss matters of interjurisdictional cooperation and enter into written
arrangements regarding administrative support. Through the Workplace Relations Ministers Council, the
states have made it clear that, if they are to join a national uniform system, there should be a place for
state institutions in the delivery of that system, including state tribunals.
       We are arguing that Queensland Industrial Relations Commission members could be utilised in
the new Fair Work Australia industrial relations system. This could be done by making greater use of the
current system whereby commissioners hold dual appointments to both the state and federal
commissions. While the federal government has given no commitments about the final outcome it
proposes, it has promised to discuss the utilisation of state institutions with the various states over the
coming months. I seek leave to have the remainder of my speech incorporated in Hansard.
       Leave granted.
The majority of the provisions in the Commonwealth’s Fair Work Act 2009 are to commence on 1 July 2009. As I mentioned
earlier, that legislation highlights the role of the president of Fair Work Australia and the president’s working relationship with the
heads of the state industrial relations commissions. This raises some difficulties in Queensland with regard to dealing with the
23 Apr 2009                               Coroners and Other Acts Amendment Bill                                                    171

Australian Industrial Relations Commission or Fair Work Australia, because in this state it is the vice-president, rather than the
president, who is responsible for most of the administrative functions of the commission.
The Industrial Relations Amendment Bill 2009 before us remedies this situation. The bill transfers the necessary powers from the
vice-president to the president of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission. The bill places the Queensland Industrial
Relations Commission in the best possible position to take advantage of any national industrial relations system that may emerge.
The amendments before us will clarify the roles of the vice-president and president within the Queensland Industrial Relations
Commission without interfering in its independence, changing the nature of its powers or fettering their use. The amendments will
also strengthen the administration of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission by removing any confusion associated with
the president and vice-president having various administrative responsibilities and will ensure that the status and seniority of the
president’s position is appropriately acknowledged. The amendments will align the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission
with the administrative structure of industrial tribunals in most other jurisdictions.
        Debate, on motion of Mr Springborg, adjourned.

                         CORONERS AND OTHER ACTS AMENDMENT BILL
                                                         First Reading
      Hon. CR DICK (Greenslopes—ALP) (Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations)
(11.53 am): I present a bill for an act to amend the Coroners Act 2003, the Births, Deaths and Marriages
Registration Act 2003 and the Cremations Act 2003 for particular purposes. I present the explanatory
notes, and I move—
That the bill be now read a first time.
        Question put—That the bill be now read a first time.
        Motion agreed to.
        Bill read a first time.
Tabled paper: Coroners and Other Acts Amendment Bill.
Tabled paper: Coroners and Other Acts Amendment Bill, explanatory notes.

                                                      Second Reading
      Hon. CR DICK (Greenslopes—ALP) (Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations)
(11.53 am): I move—
That the bill be now read a second time.
        It is now more than five years since the Coroners Act 2003 came into force. The 2003 act ushered
in a new era for the state’s coronial system. It repealed the 1958 Coroners Act, established an Office of
the State Coroner and modernised and centralised the Queensland coronial regime. It focused the
coronial regime on finding the truth of what happened in order to prevent deaths from similar causes
happening in the future. This was a significant change from the old coronial system with its undue
emphasis on criminality.
        This bill is the result of an operational review of the act conducted by the Department of Justice
and Attorney-General to identify any necessary changes to enhance its effectiveness. The bill does not
change the fundamental philosophy or the policies underpinning the act. The amendments are aimed at
clarifying the scope or operation of particular provisions and improving and refining procedures in the
system. In particular, there are amendments to the definitions of various categories of reportable deaths.
I seek leave to have the remainder of my speech incorporated in Hansard.
        Leave granted.
The definition of “death in care” in relation to children in care is extended to ensure it captures all “out-of-home” placements.
While these deaths are within the intent of the current definition, because of the way the definition is framed, a range of “in care”
situations would not be covered by the definition.
The new definition of “death in custody” will capture deaths in detention under all state and commonwealth laws (subject to
specified exceptions).
At present, the definition is limited to detention by police, or under the Corrective Services Act 2006 or Juvenile Justice Act 1992.
There will also be a new, specific category for deaths which happened in the course of, or as a result of, police operations, other
than deaths in custody which will continue to be classified as deaths in custody for the purposes of the act.
For example, the death of a third party bystander or a police officer in the course of an attempt by police to detain a suspect would
not be a death in custody, but would be a death in the course of a police operation.
In general, these changes are not expected to significantly extend the jurisdiction of the coroner.
The majority of deaths caught by the new definitions would currently be reportable under some existing category—for example, a
violent or otherwise unnatural death.
The purpose of these changes is to ensure that deaths that are properly within the policy intent of these categories are classified
and treated as such—that is, they will be subject to the specific investigation, or inquest, requirements that apply to these deaths.
The bill also replaces the current requirement to report a death that “was not reasonably expected to be the outcome of a health
procedure” with a new category of “health care related deaths”.
172                                  Property Law and Another Act Amendment Bill                                       23 Apr 2009

This amendment addresses issues raised in the report of the Queensland Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry (the Davies
Report).
The State Coroner has also raised issues about the language and interpretation of the current section.
The Davies Report did not specifically recommend amendment of the section but identified ambiguities which made it difficult to
apply in practice and which could lead to under-reporting of medical deaths.
In particular, the report commented on the difficulty of identifying whose expectation, and to what standard, the outcome must
have been unreasonable.
The bill addresses this by making it clear that it is the expectation of an independent person appropriately qualified in the relevant
area of health care that is relevant in determining whether a death would be reasonably expected.
The amendments also identify the factors that may be taken into account in making the determination.
The bill contains a comprehensive definition of “health care related death” that captures deaths caused, or contributed to, by
health care administered by a wide range of health professionals.
It also expressly captures not only the provision of health care, but failure to provide health care, or failure to provide some form of
health care other than that which was provided.
Other amendments are mainly procedural in nature.
They include, for example, amendments to clarify the Coroner’s powers in the preliminary investigation period; amendments to
clarify and improve pre-inquest conference processes; and amendments to facilitate the reopening of investigations and inquests.
These will achieve greater clarity, certainty and efficiency in the administration of the act and reinforce the reforms of 2003.
I commend the bill to the House.
        Debate, on motion of Mr Springborg, adjourned.

                   PROPERTY LAW AND ANOTHER ACT AMENDMENT BILL
                                                         First Reading
       Hon. CR DICK (Greenslopes—ALP) (Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations)
(11.56 am): I present a bill for an act to amend the Property Law Act 1974 and the Duties Act 2001 for
particular purposes. I present the explanatory notes, and I move—
That the bill be now read a first time.
        Question put—That the bill be now read a first time.
        Motion agreed to.
        Bill read a first time.
Tabled paper: Property Law and Another Act Amendment Bill.
Tabled paper: Property Law and Another Act Amendment Bill, explanatory notes.

                                                       Second Reading
      Hon. CR DICK (Greenslopes—ALP) (Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations)
(11.56 am): I move—
That the bill be now read a second time.
       This bill amends the Property Law Act 1974 (the PLA) and the Duties Act 2001 following the
acceptance by the Commonwealth government of the referral of power from Queensland for financial
matters arising from de facto relationship breakdowns. The Commonwealth amendments to the Family
Law Act 1975 (the FLA) that took up this referral of power commenced on 1 March 2009. This
bill amends the PLA to clarify the relationship between the PLA provisions and the FLA provisions and
how the PLA provisions operate from 1 March 2009.
       The bill also amends the Duties Act 2001 to clarify the current exemptions on certain dutiable
transactions arising from breakdown of de facto relationships, which will now fall under the duty
exemptions in the FLA. I seek leave to have the remainder of my speech incorporated in Hansard.
       Mr SEENEY: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise to a point of order. I agreed with the Leader of the
House yesterday that we would accept that speeches could be incorporated in Hansard if they were for
legislation that was being reintroduced to the House. I do not think the legislation that the Attorney-
General is introducing falls within that category, and I believe that the standard procedure in this place is
to present the entire second reading speech to the House. I am becoming increasingly concerned at the
volume of material that is being incorporated without us knowing what is being incorporated.
       Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms Farmer): There is no point of order. The Attorney-General is
seeking leave of the House to incorporate the remainder of his second reading speech. Is leave
granted?
       Leave granted.
       Mr DICK: This is the remainder of my speech—
23 Apr 2009               Crime and Misconduct and Summary Offences Amendment Bill                                             173

The introduction of this clarifying bill brings to a successful conclusion the long standing campaign by de facto couples to be given
access to the FLA for the determination of their financial and property rights arising from a relationship breakdown.
The key effect of the Commonwealth taking up the referral from Queensland is that any Queensland legislation relating to financial
matters arising out of a de facto relationship breakdown will be excluded from operation.
This will include most of Part 19 of the PLA.
Any de facto couples whose relationship has broken down since 1 March 2009 must apply for a property division under the FLA
and can no longer apply under the PLA.
The FLA also allows de facto couples who separated prior to 1 March 2009 to opt into the FLA provisions where both parties
consent.
Prior to 1 March 2009, de facto couples who separated in Queensland had to access two different jurisdictions to have disputes
resolved.
Disputes about the division of property were dealt with in Queensland courts under Part 19 of the PLA and disputes about children
were dealt with in the Federal Family Law Courts under the FLA.
In 1993, the Queensland Law Reform Commission reported that the Federal Family Law Courts were the most suitable forum to
hear and determine financial disputes which arose on the breakdown of de facto relationships.
Since then, this issue has been debated in many other forums, including the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, where the
failure of the previous Commonwealth government to agree on a suitable referral from the states in relation to de facto couples’
disputes halted the progress of this necessary reform.
On 10 November 2008, the Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures) Bill 2008 (the De Facto
Amendment Bill) was passed by both Houses of the Commonwealth parliament.
The De Facto Amendment Bill amended the FLA allowing for the Commonwealth’s acceptance of referrals from states in relation
to financial matters arising from de facto relationship breakdowns.
The Labor Party has long been committed to assisting de facto couples.
In 1999, following the failure of the Commonwealth’s acceptance of a suitable referral from the states about de facto property, the
Queensland Labor government enacted amendments to the PLA that provided for de facto couple property rights, including rights
following a relationship breakdown.
In 2002, the Queensland Labor government passed the Discrimination Law Amendment Act 2002 that reformed Queensland
legislation to give people in de facto relationships the same rights as married people in many areas.
In 2003, the Queensland Labor government passed the Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2003 (the Referral
Act) that referred to the Commonwealth the power for financial matters arising from de facto relationship breakdowns.
The commencement of this referral act was delayed until such time as the Commonwealth government agreed to accept a
suitable referral of powers from the states.
This government arranged for the commencement of the referral act on 24 October 2008 following the current Commonwealth
government’s agreement to accept the referral in relation to same-sex as well as opposite-sex de facto relationships.
There are significant advantages to Queensland de facto couples by the Commonwealth taking up the referral from Queensland.
Advantages include the provision of a predominantly nationally consistent financial settlement regime that will minimise
jurisdictional disputes.
Also, the Federal Family Law Courts have experience in relationship matters and have procedures and dispute resolution
mechanisms more suited to handling family litigation than the state courts.
Counselling and mediation are provided to separated couples as part of the Family Court jurisdiction.
Queensland de facto couples will benefit from savings in both costs and time as they will be able to have both their child-related
and property matters heard together.
De facto couples will also have access to courts that may make orders relating to superannuation splitting and orders relating to
the maintenance of a party.
Part 19 of the PLA will continue to apply to de facto relationships that broke down prior to the de facto amendment bill
commencing (except where the couple has chosen to opt into the FLA).
I commend the bill to the House.
        Debate, on motion of Mr Springborg, adjourned.

    CRIME AND MISCONDUCT AND SUMMARY OFFENCES AMENDMENT BILL
                                                        First Reading
      Hon. CR DICK (Greenslopes—ALP) (Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations)
(11.59 am): I present a bill for an act to amend the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 and the Summary
Offences Act 2005 for particular purposes. I present the explanatory notes, and I move—
That the bill be now read a first time.
        Question put—That the bill be now read a first time.
        Motion agreed to.
        Bill read a first time.
Tabled paper: Crime and Misconduct and Summary Offences Amendment Bill.
Tabled paper: Crime and Misconduct and Summary Offences Amendment Bill, explanatory notes.
174                     Crime and Misconduct and Summary Offences Amendment Bill                  23 Apr 2009

                                             Second Reading
      Hon. CR DICK (Greenslopes—ALP) (Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations)
(12.00 pm): I move—
That the bill be now read a second time.
        The bill amends the following acts: the Crime and Misconduct Commission Act 2001 and the
Summary Offences Act 2005. I turn firstly to the amendments to the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 to
remedy the effect of the recent Supreme Court decision in Scott v Witness C (2009) QSC 35.
The amendments respond to the first recommendation of the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct
Committee report No. 79, tabled on 21 April 2009.
        The Scott decision is considered to limit the CMC’s major crime function to investigating specific
matters referred to it by the Crime Reference Committee. This is not how parliament intended the crime
referral arrangement to operate under either the repealed Crime Commission Act 1997 or the current
Crime and Misconduct Act 2001.
        Nearly 80 per cent of the major crime investigations undertaken by the CMC and its predecessor,
the Queensland Crime Commission, have been conducted under general ‘umbrella’ referrals. These
referrals relate to serious types of major crime including networked criminal paedophilia, terrorism and
criminal activity by established criminal networks or outlaw bikie gangs and their associates.
Consequently, the Scott decision has seriously compromised the CMC’s major crime investigation and
intelligence activities and their outcomes. These include many successful criminal convictions and the
forfeiture of proceeds of crime totalling nearly $1.5 million.
        The bill responds to the Scott decision by validating past, present and future use of general
‘umbrella’ referrals for major crime investigations. In doing so, the bill gives effect to parliament’s original
intent that the crime function of the former QCC and the CMC should be subject to scrutiny by an
independent reference committee which could use both specific and general referral mechanisms.
        The bill achieves this by amending the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 to, firstly, reframe the
crime referral provisions to deal expressly with ‘specific’ referrals and ‘general’ referrals. A specific
referral is intended to identify a particular incident of major crime—for example, the disappearance and
suspected murder of a named person at a specified place and time. A general referral is intended to
facilitate the investigation of a broadly described category or subcategory of major crime, without
needing to identify individuals or groups or particular incidents—for example, terrorism or criminal
activity involving drug trafficking and violence by members of outlaw bikie gangs and their associates.
        Secondly, the bill clarifies that public interest considerations apply to all referrals, whether
requested by the Police Commissioner or the Assistant Commissioner, Crime or initiated by the Crime
Reference Committee.
        Thirdly, the amendments better position the Crime Reference Committee to monitor the use of
general referrals for ongoing and emergent crime investigations. This is done by requiring the Assistant
Commissioner, Crime to notify the committee when the CMC commences an investigation under an
existing general referral. The Crime Reference Committee is then obliged to consider whether directions
are required in respect of that particular investigation.
        Fourthly, the bill retrospectively validates ‘umbrella’ referrals made to the former QCC and the
CMC. It validates crime investigations conducted under these umbrella referrals. It also validates the
use of information and evidence obtained in those crime investigations for the performance of any QCC
or CMC function or for the performance of a function of a law enforcement agency or prosecuting
authority in receipt of the information or evidence from the QCC or CMC.
        In recognition that the ‘freshnet’ referral invalidated by the Scott decision was over 10 years old at
the time of the decision, the bill also subjects general referrals to five-yearly reviews by the Crime
Reference Committee to ensure they remain appropriate over time. A referral will lapse if the review
committee does not make a review decision within this period. Transitional arrangements are made to
ensure that existing general referrals are reviewed within two years of commencement.
        This review function is a logical adjunct to the Crime Reference Committee’s crime referral
function. It is consistent with its independent oversight role. It is also an efficient use of resources for the
committee to review the appropriateness of a referral against the threshold considerations it assessed
when the referral was initially made or last reviewed.
        The bill also amends the Summary Offences Act 2005 to introduce the offence of endangering the
safe use of a vehicle by throwing an object or by a similar activity. Recent media coverage has
highlighted the community’s concern about the potential danger of rocks and other objects being thrown
at travelling vehicles or onto a road. Queensland has a suite of criminal offences which could apply to
rock-throwing conduct, depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, if property damage,
such as a shattered windscreen, results from rock-throwing conduct, then police could charge wilful
damage, which is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. Other offences
available include endangering the safe use of a vehicle or related transport infrastructure (section 467);
23 Apr 2009               Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                            175

endangering the safety of a person in a vehicle with intent (section 319); and acts intended to cause
grievous bodily harm or other malicious acts (section 317). These offences are punishable by a
maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
        In even more serious cases where death results from the conduct, murder and manslaughter
could be charged. Murder is punishable by mandatory life imprisonment, and a person who commits
manslaughter is liable to life imprisonment. The offences I just described only apply where personal
injury or damage to property occurs as a result of the conduct or where there is proof of malicious intent.
However, given growing community concern, the government considers it necessary to develop a
specific offence directed at rock throwing and other dangerous conduct, such as directing a laser pointer
at a vehicle, which will complement the existing suite of offences described above.
        The proposed offence is not reliant on proof of malicious intent and will apply where the conduct
is likely to endanger the safe use of a vehicle without having to establish any actual endangerment. The
offence will apply where there is no personal injury or property damage caused by the act. The new
offence will provide police with a further charging option in cases where rock throwing and other
dangerous conduct occurs. I commend the bill to the House.
        Debate, on motion of Mr Springborg, adjourned.

   VEGETATION MANAGEMENT (REGROWTH CLEARING MORATORIUM) BILL
                                                    Second Reading
       Resumed from 22 April (see p. 64), on motion of Mr Robertson—
That the bill be now read a second time.
      Mr SEENEY (Callide—LNP) (12.06 pm): When the Governor officially opened this parliament two
days ago, one of the things that stuck in my mind from the speech she delivered was the following—
Honourable members, in these uncertain times nothing has greater priority than creating and protecting jobs.
        For the Bligh government today there is a greater priority than creating and protecting jobs. The
priority for the Bligh government today, and this legislation makes it undeniably clear, is to pay off their
preference deal to the Greens. The priority for the Bligh government is to pay their political debts. That is
what this legislation is about. It is about finalising a political deal. It is nothing more and nothing less. The
people of Queensland, wherever they live, whether they are affected by this legislation or not, should be
very aware that that is what this legislation is about.
        It speaks volumes about the Bligh Labor government that the first legislation introduced into this
parliament, legislation which gives the clearest indication of the priorities of the government, is not about
creating jobs; it will instead cost many Queenslanders their jobs in the future. This legislation will cost
jobs. It will cost many jobs. In the address that I will make to the parliament this afternoon I will go
through in some detail how this legislation will cost many Queenslanders their jobs. Those
Queenslanders will pay the price for the political deal that the Bligh Labor government made with the
Greens before the election.
        Despite the fact that this legislation will cost Queenslanders their jobs, it is the completion of a
pre-election preference deal, and the government priority is to deliver the payoff to a fringe party that
won no seats at the election but whose preferences returned a number of Labor members to this House.
Many members will remember the deal done during the election campaign, when the Greens agreed to
allocate preferences in 12 seats—and some reports said 14 seats. How many members sit in this
parliament today because of that deal that was done? Now the business of this House has to be
postponed so the government can pay its political debts.
        The business of this House has been postponed so the government can pay back a squalid
political preference deal to a fringe party—a deal that was made in the overheated atmosphere of an
election campaign when panic gripped the ranks of the government and it faced a looming loss at the
polls. Rather than this parliament completing the traditional address-in-reply debate to the Governor’s
speech we have this piece of legislation rushed in here to be jammed through without proper
consideration just so the government can pay off the preference deal it did in the election campaign.
Rather than listening to the first speeches of the new members who were elected to this parliament we
are going to be subject to the diatribe that the Bligh government will trot out to try to explain and justify
its preference deal. Rather than address the issue that the Governor identified as the greatest priority
and the Premier has given lip-service to—rather than address the issue of jobs or any of the other major
issues confronting the government—this parliament is going to be involved for the rest of today in
completing a grubby, opportunistic political deal.
        There are two important things to realise at the very beginning of the consideration of this bill.
Firstly, today the Bligh government is clearly saying that the Governor was wrong when she said that in
these uncertain times nothing has greater priority than creating and protecting jobs. If the Bligh
176                       Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                23 Apr 2009

government did not think that the Governor’s statement was wrong it would be in the parliament today
doing something to create and protect Queenslanders’ jobs. The legislation before the House will cost
Queenslanders’ jobs. It will cost many Queenslanders their jobs. That is the point from which every
member should begin their consideration of this legislation.
        Secondly, this legislation is about political deals for preferences. It should be treated as such and
as nothing more. It has a profound effect on many Queenslanders. The whole question of legislation
being generated in such a way is something that all of us should be concerned about. That legislation
should be generated with such urgency simply because of preference deals does not hark well for the
proper administration of this state. This does not give the people of Queensland any confidence or
sense of integrity when it comes to the processes of this parliament. It is something which I believe in
the long term we as a collective body have to address. We cannot have important decisions of state
initiated and generated because of this sort of political, grubby deal.
        This bill is wrongly named. It should be called the ‘Political Preference Deal Payback Bill’ because
that is a much more accurate description of what it is about. I will move an amendment later in this
debate to ensure that the name of the bill properly reflects its purpose.
        The question before the House today, the question that will be decided later on tonight, is whether
or not members of this House should support the completion of a preference deal that returned the Bligh
government. Of course, on this side of the House, we will not be doing that.
        The deal involved the Greens allocating preferences to the Labor Party in 12 key seats and today
it is payback time. Payback involves this legislation before the House. While this legislation will not
mean much to a lot of members who will vote on it later tonight it has a profound effect on many
landholders and a profound effect on many of my constituents. It will have a profound effect without any
scientific backing. It will have a profound effect without any demonstrated need. That profound effect will
remain with my constituents and other landholders in regional Queensland for many years to come. It
will change their lives.
        Let us look at what this legislation actually does. The sad part about it is that I do not believe the
members who sit on the government side actually care what the legislation does. What they think the
legislation does is pay off their political debt. That is all it means to them. It is another piece of legislation
about the Vegetation Management Act which squares up the ledger for them. The Vegetation
Management Act has been used as a convenient political football over and over and over again in this
parliament. It has been used as a political opportunity for the Labor government since they were first
elected. It is quite accustomed to passing these vegetation management amendment bills without
thinking through the detail, without even caring what the detail is.
        The bill proposes to amend the Vegetation Management Act to impose a moratorium on the
control of regrowth vegetation in some defined areas. Those defined areas are riparian areas in some
defined catchments and areas that are mapped as previously supporting certain vegetation types that
have now been classified with the emotive term of ‘endangered regrowth’. It is a new term. It is another
emotive term. It is one more in a long list of misleading, emotive terms that are contained within the
Vegetation Management Act.
        To properly understand the anger that this bill has caused right throughout regional and rural
Queensland—not just in my electorate but right across rural and regional Queensland—this parliament
needs to reflect on the history of the Vegetation Management Act; the history that has always been
contentious. It has always been contentious. It has always created anger amongst those people who
have been affected by it. It has never been accepted as fair and just. It has always been seen as a
political football for the government and a chance for some political opportunism.
        I want to read one of the many emails and pieces of correspondence that I have received in my
electorate office since this moratorium was first mooted. I do so because this email is not written by
some Labor Party spin doctor. It is not written by some bureaucrat down in George Street. It is not
written by some ideologically driven Green conservationist. It is written by the wife of a landholder—a
person who has a young family and a huge financial commitment in what they thought was their future. I
think their words should carry the most powerful message to every member of this House. I will quote
this email as one of the very many I have received. It is written by a lady called Anne Coward. She
writes—
My family has a cattle property within your electorate that has been badly affected by the proposed new vegetation management
laws. We are very angry at this latest attack on the farming sector by the Labor government. The latest attack is nothing more than
a grab for Green votes so as to secure another term in office. There is no economic, ecological or environmental reason for the
latest land grab from the current government.
Mrs Bligh does not give a toss about endangered regrowth, the Great Barrier Reef, the welfare of country Queensland or about
us. All this is a grab for power at our expense, and it is an agenda from the extreme Greens to stop land clearing altogether.
As a business sector we have felt that we have managed the current land clearing, the vegetation management legislation, as well
as we can. We have adjusted our economics and our land management practices accordingly. We have been dealt another
severe blow to our industry and our business by a government we cannot trust—a government that keeps changing the goalposts
and the laws to suit their own political agenda.
23 Apr 2009                Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                            177

Furthermore, the mapping that we have been issued that covers the latest land grab—the blue spots on the new maps—is very
incorrect. Areas shown on our maps that are now to be locked up with no further regrowth management are predominantly our
grass pastures. Other farmers have said that their blue dots cover their sorghum crops perfectly.
The mapping that this land grab is based on is incorrect. There are stories of land clearing done under permit that is still not
mapped correctly on the RE maps. We have continually contacted staff at DNR and have been advised that there is no avenue for
us to question the validation of the new blue areas on our maps even though we know they are incorrect.
At this point in time we have no right of appeal and can do nothing. If the government continues down this road of taking away our
productive land areas, we will be unable to continue to operate a profitable business. Queensland’s beef industry is the state’s
largest agricultural industry with an estimated value of $3.39 billion, making up 35 per cent of the total value of agriculture in the
state. The Labor government cannot be allowed to continue to appease the extreme greens at the expense of us Queensland
farmers and I implore you to make the government use some common sense and due diligence to those living and working
outside the south-east corner of the state.
I wish I could. I wish I could make the government use some common sense and exercise some due
diligence for all of the people that I represent, for all of the people who have written to me expressing
anguish and frustration and absolute anger over the last two to three weeks. I wish I could make the
thick-headed Labor backbenchers who sit in this place realise that the actions that you take are not
simply politics; they ruin people’s lives. They ruin people’s lives, and it is time that you people realised
that you cannot do this over and over and over again and expect no reaction.
        Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms Johnstone): Order! Member for Callide, refer your comments
through the chair.
        Mr SEENEY: I withdraw the word ‘you’, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I repeat that members who
sit in this House have to realise that these sorts of actions cannot be repeated over and over and over
again without the expectation that those who are impacted are going to sooner or later respond, are
going to sooner or later say that enough is enough, because it has been a long history of injustice. It has
been a long history of pieces of legislation that have gone through this House for political purposes. It
started in 1999. The Vegetation Management Act 1999 was a fundamental change for landholders
across Queensland and it caused enormous anger, enormous contention. It has been amended many
times since then. The first amendment was on 13 September 2000—less than 12 months after it was
first introduced. It was then amended again in 2003. It was amended again in October 2003. It
was amended yet again in April 2004 and then again in May 2004. Probably the most
profound amendment occurred in October 2004. It has been a moving target for landholders ever since
it was first introduced, and each one of those amendments has further impinged upon the private
property rights of the people who are affected by it.
        Each time those amendments are brought before this House, the people on this side of the
chamber who represent landholders in rural and regional Queensland stand up here and try to get
across to the government the fact that this is not just about politics. This is not just about some sort of
esoteric academic theory; this is about people’s lives. It is about people’s lives. It is about businesses. It
is about families. It is about investments, and each time we fail. We fail to convince the government that
sooner or later enough is enough.
        We had that assurance in 2004 from the minister then who, coincidentally, is the minister now,
because in 2004 the Vegetation Management and Other Legislation Amendment Bill completely brought
to an end the clearing of all so-called remnant vegetation in Queensland—completely. There was to be
no more clearing of remnant vegetation after the final amendments in 2004. The minister said then
that—
... the new laws provide landholders with a greater certainty to manage regrowth on their properties.
In that second reading speech he said—
That is why one of the fundamental principles underpinning this bill is certainty—certainty for land-holders and a workable
framework for the future of vegetation management in Queensland.
This bill provides for ongoing management of regrowth. It allows for thinning of thickened vegetation and clearing where woody
species have encroached on grasslands.
He said that it will, and I repeat the initial quote—
... provide land-holders with the greatest certainty to manage regrowth on their properties.
       Landholders certainly were not happy about the absolute end to the clearing of so-called remnant
vegetation. There was enormous contention about what constituted remnant vegetation, but the land-
holding community generally gritted their teeth and accepted the inevitable. They accepted that the
government had the power to do what it did in 2004. They accepted that they had to modify their
businesses. They accepted their financial losses, in a great many cases. They accepted the unfairness
and the injustice that the legislation in 2004 imposed upon them. But the one thing in the 2004
legislation that they clung to was the promise of certainty—the one thing. The one little win that they got
was the promise of certainty, the expectation that now they could get on with their business, now they
could move forward and try to adjust their business to the new laws—one tiny little win—because the
legislation right up until that point was all about preventing further development. It was all about
preventing further development of remnant vegetation.
178                    Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                   23 Apr 2009

        As I said, there was enormous contention and there was enormous argument, and that remains. It
still remains about the classification of what did or did not constitute remnant vegetation. We had huge
debates about what was endangered remnant vegetation and what was of-concern vegetation, but
essentially the legislation up until that point was all about stopping further development. It was about
stopping any increase in the productive base that landholders had to work with, and it destroyed the
dreams and the plans of a lot of people because it did stop any further expansion in that productive
base.
        But the legislation that is before the House today is profoundly different, because it crosses that
line that the minister drew in 2004. It destroys that certainty that the minister gave to the land-holding
community in 2004. It takes away that tiny little bit of hope that they clung to, because it is not about
preventing further development. All further development was prevented in 2004. What this legislation
does is that it starts to restrict the control of regrowth, because after 2004 there was this clear
delineation between remnant vegetation that was to be reserved and not developed any further and the
regrowth areas which were the productive areas which could be used by landholders as their productive
base.
        So now, not content with denying landholders the opportunity to develop the asset that they
bought and paid for prior to 2004, the legislation before the House today seeks to erode away the
productive base that was left after the 2004 legislation. It seeks to erode away that productive base by
restricting the control of regrowth. If regrowth cannot be controlled it reverts. It is, by its nature, regrowth.
It regrows and land reverts to an unproductive state. It might be a 10- to 15-year cycle in places. In some
types of vegetation communities it is quicker than that; in others, it is slower. But over a 10- to 15-year
cycle if regrowth of whatever particular classification cannot be controlled, then the productive base of
the agricultural land very quickly is eroded away. This legislation, by the minister’s own press release,
will take one million hectares of Queensland’s best productive land out of production—one million
hectares of Queensland’s best productive land out of production.
        The minister has the temerity to go down there and stand in front of the television cameras and
say that it is not going to cost Queenslanders their jobs. One million hectares of our best productive land
is going to be removed from the productive base of the agricultural sector and they try to maintain a
position that that is not going to cost anyone their job. It is going to cost jobs in two ways. Obviously, it is
going to cost jobs because of the production loss that is associated immediately with that 100 million
hectares. But it is going to cost many more jobs because of the complete destruction of investment
confidence that it brings to the agricultural sector.
        It has already completely destroyed business confidence. I know financial institutions that operate
in Central Queensland are in an absolute panic about the effect that this legislation will have on broad
sections of agricultural land that unfortunately is affected by the new blue dots on the maps. Similarly, in
places like the Burdekin catchment, where the riparian restrictions are even more profound, I know that
there is absolute panic about the effect it will have on valuations and how that is going to affect the
financial institutions that operate there.
        On Thursday I spoke to a real estate agent who told me that he has had 10 property sales fall
through because of this legislation. He told me about a big property in Central Queensland that was
signed up to be sold for $8 million, but the sale collapsed because of the moratorium maps. The sale
collapsed because of the uncertainty about what the future holds for regrowth generally in Central
Queensland.
        It is a fundamental change. This legislation is not something that the Labor members can come in
here and deal with on a Thursday afternoon and think of lightly. It may well be small beer and skittles in
terms of the political machinations of the election campaign, but it will have, and it already has had, a
profound effect on people in my electorate and people right across Central Queensland, because it
destroyed that certainty that we believe was the only small win out of the 2004 legislation.
        Parts of that 2004 legislation that gave an opportunity for certainty were the provisions that
allowed for the landholders to register property maps of assessable vegetation, which have commonly
become known as PMAVs. The PMAV process locked in the regrowth. It locked in the white areas on
the old regional ecosystem maps and called them category X. So far, the legislation before the House
provides an exemption for category X areas—and so it should. But that deals with only a very small part
of the problem, because a lot of people did not do PMAVs. A lot of landholders did not see the need to
do PMAVs. They accepted the assurances that were given by the minister at the time. They accepted
the assurance that the government gave and the particular circumstances where all of their property
was classified as regrowth. In their view, there was no realistic chance that it was going to revert to the
75 per cent regeneration that would put it in danger of being reclassified. That negated the need for
them to do a PMAV. There was a saying around the cattle sales and around the bush pubs that if you
were all white, you were right. You did not have to worry about it. They accepted the government at its
word. But now, as part of this legislation, there has been an unseemly scramble by the minister and the
government to deny as many of those people as they can the opportunity to get a PMAV.
23 Apr 2009            Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                            179

        The part of this legislation that is objectionable is its retrospectivity. It goes back to when the
minister announced the legislation on 8 April. But in an attempt to deny as many landholders as possible
a PMAV and the certainty that the PMAVs give, there is a second layer of retrospectivity, which takes the
date for a validly registered PMAV back to 26 March. It goes back even further. It makes the impact of
this legislation even more profound. So we have a situation in which the same minister, who in 2004
represented the government and guaranteed landholders certainty and provided a mechanism for
landholders to lock in that certainty, is now using retrospective legislation—retrospective back to before
the moratorium was even announced—to try to deny those landholders those processes that will give
them certainty.
        I note in the explanatory notes there is an explanation for this. The explanatory notes say that in
the period between the formation of the government on 26 March and the announcement of the
moratorium on 7 April there was an increase in the number of landholders wanting to register PMAVs.
Why would there not be? Those landholders had been confronted with the absolute reality that the
government was going to break its word and was going to threaten the regrowth areas and the only
mechanism available to them was to try to take advantage of the mechanisms that the government had
provided for them to get certainty. So while the retrospective nature of this legislation is objectionable as
a whole, it is even more objectionable for that extra layer of retrospectivity to deny those landholders the
right to have their PMAVs registered.
        I believe that provides an insight into the thinking behind this legislation. It provides an insight into
the people who are driving this initiative by the government. It is not about reasonable land management
practices; it is about denying as many landholders as possible the right to achieve certainty and to
manage their properties in the way in which they were promised after the 2004 legislation.
        There are a lot of things that are very unfair about this legislation, just as the vegetation
management legislation has been unfair from the very start. But there is a compounding of that
unfairness, if you like, because since 2004 I know that the landholding community generally has shown
a determination to work with the legislation in a professional way. They have shown a determination to
get on with the job, to prove to the community at large that they were responsible land managers and
that within the new legislation the best thing they could do was to prove on the ground the untruth of the
accusations that have been levelled against them as land managers. They have become very
professional. They have a very professional attitude towards the whole classification of vegetation and
towards the mapping. There are not too many landholders now who do not have their own GPS, who do
not know where the boundaries of their regrowth areas are, who do not know about their thinning
provisions and who do not know about the legislation. In fact, at times I have been quite amazed by the
intricate knowledge of the legislation that has been demonstrated to me by some landholders in the
discussions that I have had. But that stands in stark contrast to the government’s attitude towards the
Vegetation Management Act.
        The Vegetation Management Act has always been used by the government as a political football.
It has always been a political opportunity. It has always been something that it seeks to use for its own
advantage. The mapping has always been unreliable. The department has always been underfunded.
The emotive terms that are used within the legislation are designed to produce a political reaction. They
are designed to produce a reaction from people who do not understand. There is nothing about the
government’s attitude towards this legislation that is professional. There is nothing respectful about the
government’s attitude towards this legislation. The government has used the vegetation management
legislation as a stick to beat landholders at every opportunity. It has used the vegetation management
legislation as a political opportunity for itself at every opportunity.
        There are a number of other disturbing things about the bill from a legislative standards point of
view. I spoke about legislative retrospectivity before. If I try to be as generous as I possibly can, there
can be an argument mounted, albeit not a very convincing one, to make the legislation retrospective to
when the announcement was made. As I said, I am not convinced by the argument but there can be an
argument made. There can be no argument made for that part of the legislation which backdates the
cut-off for applications for PMAVs to 26 March rather than 8 April. That is simply unacceptable. It is
unacceptable because it is all about denying landholders the opportunity that they were given in the
legislation in 2004. It is simply bloody-minded politics from an ideologically driven government and an
ideologically driven department that has no concept of what that means.
        The other disturbing thing about this legislation is the way that it takes away the appeal rights and
litigation rights of those people who are affected. It does that because over the almost 10 years now
since the vegetation management legislation has been operational a lot of landholders have exercised
their litigation rights and almost invariably they have won. Almost invariably when landholders have
pursued their legal rights through the courts the government has proven to be at fault.
        We have come back into this parliament a number of times over those 10 years to amend
legislation to take away the rights that landholders have established using the courts. But this legislation
pre-empts that. This legislation goes one step further. It does things that should send a shiver of fear up
the spine of anyone who has an interest in the legislative standards of this place. Not only does it breach
180                       Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                23 Apr 2009

legislative standards with the retrospectivity that I spoke about before; it breaches those standards
again and again with the removal of the rights of appeal.
       It is interesting to read the explanatory notes and to read the weak explanations that are given for
the removal of those rights of appeal. I will quote one example. The explanatory notes state—
The removal of normal rights of appeal ... is justified in relation to PMAV applications by the ... potential for these, if decided
following appeal, to result in clearing of vegetation intended to be protected under the moratorium.
      So the government is taking away the rights of appeal because the appellant might win. The
government recognises that the appellant might win, so it takes away his rights of appeal. The
explanatory notes go on to state—
The removal of normal rights of appeal for decisions related to the moratorium map is justified for the limited period of the
moratorium because challenge to its validity may degrade the effectiveness of the moratorium.
        Once again, the appellant might win. And so it is with judicial review. The bill takes away the rights
of judicial review. It states that there are no rights of appeal under any law in any court in Queensland.
The justification for that is that the litigant might win. So rather than have a piece of legislation that can
be legally substantiated, that can be legally defended, the government introduces legislation that does
the opposite and denies the people of Queensland who are affected by this legislation those normal
rights that are available to any other Queenslander.
        It is an outrageous piece of legislation. It is outrageous in its initiation. It is outrageous that the first
piece of legislation to come before this parliament has been initiated by a grubby political deal. It is also
outrageous that the first piece of legislation to come before this House should so extensively breach
legislative standards and provide such an affront to those of us who respect this parliament and its
traditions. It is an outrageous piece of legislation, but it sets the tone for the Bligh Labor government and
it speaks volumes about those people who will sit on that side of the House mute in this debate and who
will vote for the passage of this outrageous legislation later tonight, I have no doubt.
        But this explains what I believe is a wave of fear and anger which has swept across regional
Queensland. I have been in public life now for probably 15 years—in local government and in state
government—and I have seen the anger that was generated by the earlier manifestations of the
Vegetation Management Act. But I think the anger generated in regional Queensland by this legislation
has unfortunately reached a new level. There is a profound frustration amongst Queensland
landholders about the continuing unwarranted attacks on them personally, on their businesses, on their
assets, on their ability to earn an income and on their superannuation base, because that is what their
land is to them—it is all of those things. This legislation attacks that asset base. It erodes its value, it
erodes the ability of landholders to make a living for themselves and their families, it erodes the value of
what they will have in their retirement and it erodes the value of what they can leave to their children.
And it does so for the most base political reason.
        That is the difference between this legislation and earlier legislation. Nobody accepted the
arguments about remnant vegetation and all of the nonsense that members can read in Hansard that
was contributed in debate of those amendments over nine or 10 years. No-one accepted those
arguments, not even the minister, because I well remember debates in here when the minister had no
chance of justifying the legislation. I well remember the minister sitting there and shrugging his
shoulders when I used to pursue the detail of the legislation in the consideration of the clauses. The
minister had no idea about the impact of the legislation. He had no idea about the detail of the
legislation. It was simply the politics of the legislation that he was interested in, as was the Labor
government at the time.
        It is simply the politics of this legislation that members of the government are interested in. That
the government has resorted to base politics I believe is at the core of the wave of anger that has swept
across regional Queensland. It is because this has been generated so blatantly and obviously by a
desire to pay off a preference deal at the election that people find it so repugnant and people are so
outraged by it. I would be failing in my duty as a representative if I did not bring to this chamber and to
the minister’s attention the extent of that anger and the extent of the outrage that exists across regional
Queensland. I want to say to you, Minister, quite sincerely that you and your officers—
        Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms van Litsenburg): Order! Would you retract the word ‘you’ and
would you please address—
        Mr SEENEY: I want to say to the minister, Madam Deputy Speaker—
        Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Excuse me, I have not finished. Would you please address the
chair?
        Mr SEENEY: I want to say to the minister, Madam Deputy Speaker, that he and his officers should
be careful. They should be warned that people in regional Queensland are close to breaking point.
People in regional Queensland will not cop much more of this. I say to the people of rural and regional
Queensland that I understand that the provocation has been intolerable. I understand that the situation
is intolerable. I urge them to be sensible because violence and unlawful behaviour will not solve
anything. It is becoming a real possibility. No member of this House should be under any illusions about
23 Apr 2009                 Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                     181

that. The government has continually, over a period of time, stolen asset values and the livelihoods of
people for political purposes. It has denied them the normal legal redress. The government has
specifically included in this legislation, as in previous legislation, a denial of normal legal redress. It has
done that for political advantage. It has milked vegetation management legislation for political
advantage over and over and over again. It has been all about political advantage; it has been all about
playing with people’s lives.
       There is a poem that Henry Lawson wrote a long time ago. It is in a different context, but I believe
it is pertinent to people whose forebears have developed properties across rural and regional
Queensland only to see those properties lose their value and productiveness because of base politics. I
will quote some of it—
Our parents toil’d to make a home –
Hard grubbin ’twas an’ clearin’ –
They wasn’t crowded much with lords
When they was pioneering.
But now that we have made the land
A garden full of promise,
Old Greed must crook ’is dirty hand
And come ter take it from us.
The poem concludes—
They needn’t say the fault is ours
If blood should stain the wattle!
        I say to you, Minister, very deliberately and very cautiously—
        Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms van Litsenburg): Order! Would the member be seated. That is
the second time I have spoken. Would you please retract the ‘you’ and speak to the chair.
        Mr SEENEY: I say to the minister, very deliberately and in a very measured way on behalf of the
people that I represent, that you needn’t say the fault was ours if blood should stain the wattle.
        Mr ROBERTSON: I rise to a point of order. I have listened to the honourable member now for
some time. This is bordering on personal threats and I ask him to withdraw.
        Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Will the member withdraw?
        Mr SEENEY: I withdraw, Madam Deputy Speaker.
        Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Before we go on, remember that ‘you’ is not a word we use here.
The member has used it twice in the last few minutes. That is the fourth time I have had to speak to the
member about it.
        Mr SEENEY: I have withdrawn, Madam Deputy Speaker. I have an obligation to the people I
represent to convey to the minister and this parliament the extent of the anger and the outrage that has
been caused across regional Queensland by this gross breach of trust, by this piece of legislation that
impacts on their productive base and their ability to feed their family and which has been initiated for
such base political purposes. I want the minister to know, and I want his officers to know, that they
should be warned. They should be aware of the extent of the outrage. They should be aware of the
extent to which this has impacted on people’s lives, because it has had a profound impact on people’s
lives, for a simple political advantage for the government. That is a message that the people who sit on
the government side of this House—
        Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Would the member address the chair, please?
        Mr SEENEY: I am addressing the chair. I am saying that that is a message that the people who
sit on the government side of this House sooner or later have to accept: that their actions in this type of
legislation are not some sort of a political game. This is not some sort of political payback that can be
lightly made. It is legislation that profoundly affects the people of Queensland. It is legislation that will
cost hundreds of Queenslanders their jobs. It is legislation that will destroy investment confidence
across Queensland and has already destroyed investment confidence across Queensland. It is
legislation that has caused financial institutions that operate in rural and regional Queensland to review
their operations and the way that they operate using the productive land as an asset base for their
lending.
        The question for the people who sit on the other side of the House is how all that is justified simply
to settle a political debt that it has with a fringe party for preferences during an election campaign. As I
said, that is a broader issue that I think has to be addressed by somebody. I am not sure who can
address that broader political issue of preferences during political campaigns, but sooner or later if this
type of thing is repeated often enough, if we see legislation in this parliament time and time again that
has been initiated simply because of preference deals, I think there will need to be some fundamental
changes.
182                                   Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill           23 Apr 2009

      Mr ROBERTSON: The member is misleading the House. I ask him to withdraw. This legislation
was initiated by a pre-election commitment announced by the Premier prior to the election.
      Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Will the member withdraw?
      Mr SEENEY: I never made a personal reference to the minister so I do not have anything to
withdraw.
      Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Would the minister put his point of order again and be specific,
please?
      Mr ROBERTSON: I am happy to withdraw it, Madam Deputy Speaker.
      Mr Johnson: Because he’s telling the truth, that’s why.
      Mr ROBERTSON: I find that remark by the member for Gregory offensive and I ask him to
withdraw.
      Mr SEENEY: You are offensive, old mate. You will find out what offensive is when you go out into
the bush.
      Mr Robertson: Is this another personal threat you are making?
      Mr SEENEY: I was merely drawing to your attention the reality.
      Mr Robertson: That is the third personal threat you have made.
      Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Will the member be seated.
      Mr ROBERTSON: I ask that the member be referred to the appropriate committee for making
personal threats against another member of parliament.
      Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Will the minister put his point of order in writing.
      Mr ROBERTSON: Once I review Hansard I will refer it to the Speaker’s Office, thank you.
      Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Member for Gregory, withdraw your comments, too, please.
      Mr JOHNSON: I thought I did. However, I withdraw those comments and I apologise to you,
Madam Deputy Speaker.
      Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you very much. Member for Callide, would you withdraw,
please, so we can continue.
      Mr SEENEY: I did not make a personal reference. I do not have anything to withdraw.
      Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: Will the member withdraw?
      Mr SEENEY: If you indicate to me what it is that I need to withdraw, I am happy to withdraw.
      Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: The comments that were unparliamentary.
      Mr SEENEY: I withdraw. Whatever was unparliamentary, I withdraw.
      Sitting suspended from 1.00 pm to 2.30 pm.
      Debate, on motion of Mr Seeney, adjourned.

                    HEALTH AND OTHER LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL
                                                   First Reading
        Hon. PT LUCAS (Lytton—ALP) (Deputy Premier and Minister for Health) (2.30 pm): I present a
bill for an act to amend the Chiropractors Registration Act 2001, the Dental Practitioners Registration
Act 2001, the Dental Technicians and Dental Prosthetists Registration Act 2001, the Health Practitioners
(Professional Standards) Act 1999, the Health Quality and Complaints Commission Act 2006, the Health
Services Act 1991, the Medical Practitioners Registration Act 2001, the Medical Radiation Technologists
Registration Act 2001, the Nursing Act 1992, the Occupational Therapists Registration Act 2001, the
Optometrists Registration Act 2001, the Osteopaths Registration Act 2001, the Pharmacists
Registration Act 2001, the Physiotherapists Registration Act 2001, the Podiatrists Registration Act 2001,
the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000, the Psychologists Registration Act 2001, the Public
Health Act 2005, the Speech Pathologists Registration Act 2001, the Tobacco and Other Smoking
Products Act 1998 and the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 for particular purposes.
I present the explanatory notes, and I move—
That the bill be now read a first time.
        Question put—That the bill be now read a first time.
        Motion agreed to.
        Bill read a first time.
23 Apr 2009                          Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill                                                183

Tabled paper: Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill.
Tabled paper: Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill explanatory notes.

                                                      Second Reading
        Hon. PT LUCAS (Lytton—ALP) (Deputy Premier and Minister for Health) (2.30 pm): I move—
That the bill be now read a second time.
        I am pleased to introduce the Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2009. This bill
proposes a number of important changes to enhance the safety of all Queenslanders. The most
significant amendments seek to: better protect our children and the wider community from the harmful
effects of smoking; safeguard patients from the professional misconduct of medical practitioners with the
introduction of mandatory reporting; strengthen the accountability of the Health Quality and Complaints
Commission in setting healthcare standards which assist in its role of monitoring health service quality
and independently reviewing complaints; and further boost the safety and wellbeing of our children with
important information provisions. The bill also seeks to make a number of small changes to Queensland
Health and the Health Practitioner Registration Boards.
        Mr Deputy Speaker, the mandatory reporting scheme is about protecting Queensland patients.
We are instituting strong mandatory reporting measures to help ensure our patients get the best
possible care, and if issues do arise they must be reported appropriately.
        The bill seeks to further enhance our tough antismoking laws by banning smoking in vehicles
carrying children under 16 and grant local councils the power to regulate smoking in outdoor pedestrian
malls and at public transport waiting points. These are significant changes. Each year, more than 3,400
Queenslanders die from smoking, and passive smoking places a huge risk on the health and wellbeing
of us all. In Queensland, smoking related hospital admissions cost more than $217 million per annum,
placing a massive burden on our health system.
        This bill seeks to introduce a ban on smoking in motor vehicles with children under the age of 16.
These new laws are about stopping young children from being involuntarily exposed to very high levels
of tobacco smoke in a very confined environment such as a car. Police will be given the necessary
powers under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act to stop a vehicle and ascertain the age of an
occupant and issue a $200 on-the-spot fine to any adult smoking while a child under the age of 16 is
present in the vehicle. I seek leave to have the remainder of my second reading speech incorporated in
Hansard.
        Leave granted.
Infringement notices will be issued in a similar manner as they are for bans on the use of mobile phones while driving.
Mr Speaker, the community strongly supports this move. In October 2007, Queensland Health released a discussion paper on
Queensland’s smoking legislation. Of the 588 submissions received from the general public, 89% called for a ban on smoking in
cars carrying children.
Queensland’s current anti-smoking laws are already helping to protect our children from the exposure to tobacco smoke.
Young people are protected with bans on smoking within ten metres of playgrounds, between the flags at patrolled beaches, all
public buildings, indoors and outdoor restaurants, cafes and eating places, at large outdoor events and within four metres of
almost all building entrances, at major sports stadiums and with this legislation—in all vehicles where children are present.
There are still public spaces where smokers and non-smokers alike must share, namely pedestrian malls and public transport
waiting areas.
But every city and town is different and the most practical way of enforcement is for local government to be empowered to
appropriately apply further outdoor restrictions.
The amendments in this Bill will empower local governments to make new local laws to ban smoking. Each local government is
best placed to determine in which areas bans should apply.
This will allow local consideration and local solutions. Where local laws are developed—authorised local government officers will
be responsible for the enforcement of those laws.
Tobacco advertising has a significant influence on the uptake of smoking by young people. More than 80 per cent of smokers take
up the habit before the age of 18. As such, tough laws currently exist to restrict tobacco advertising, display, promotion and sale to
minors.
The bill seeks to amend the definition of smoking product to capture smoking related products, such as cigarette filters and tubes,
cigarette rolling machines and cigar cutters. This will ensure that those smoking related products are included in the restrictions to
advertising, display and promotion in the Tobacco Act.
The bill also provides clarity around the products that are to be captured or exempted from the existing offence in Section 26L of
supplying an object or entitlement that promotes: A smoking product, a trademark or brand of a smoking product, or the name or
interests of a manufacturer or distributor of a smoking product.
The bill ensures that products that share the same trademark or brand as a smoking product, but are not primarily used in the
consumption of a tobacco product, herbal cigarette or loose smoking blend, can continue to be sold without breaching section 26L
of the Act. However, the bill also maintains the existing prohibition which applies to promotional objects, such as t-shirts, hats and
advertising posters.
These amendments help us work towards achieving our Q2—Toward 2020 Vision of reducing the number of people affected by
smoking and contributing toward making Queenslanders the healthiest Australians.
184                                   Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill                                       23 Apr 2009

This bill seeks to strengthen patient safety with the introduction of mandatory reporting for the professional misconduct of medical
practitioners.
Mr Speaker, under the new obligation, any medical practitioner who becomes aware or reasonably suspects that another doctor
has engaged in reportable misconduct, must as soon as practicable notify the Medical Board in writing.
Medical practitioners who fail to comply with the reporting obligation may be subject to disciplinary action under the Health
Practitioners (Professional Standards) Act.
These amendments, which will strengthen the community’s confidence in health services and safeguard patient safety, are similar
to provisions introduced in New South Wales last year.
Mr Speaker, it is generally agreed that there should be some requirement for doctors engaging in serious misconduct to be
reported to the Medical Board of Queensland so patients can be protected.
The proposed National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professionals will include a range of measures for
patient safety, including a mandatory reporting requirement.
It is not anticipated that this National Scheme, currently being developed, will be implemented until 1 July 2010. In the interim, this
government is firm in its view that mandatory reporting must be introduced in Queensland to better protect patients.
The mandatory misconduct provisions in the Bill now reflect the model that was agreed to by the Australian Health Ministers on 5
March this year and expressed in the communiqué from that meeting. The new provisions differ from the lapsed Bill and will allow
Queensland’s new mandatory reporting requirements to be transitioned to the new national scheme once it is introduced.
The Medical Board of Queensland will be responsible for the enforcement of the misconduct reporting obligation. The Board will
undertake a communication campaign to inform the medical profession of the new obligation and further advice and assistance
can also be sought from the Board.
The proposed amendments to the Health Quality and Complaints Commission Act made in this Bill require the Health Quality and
Complaints Commission to prepare, and publish for comment, an impact assessment statement before the Health Quality and
Complaints Commission makes or amends a standard under the Act.
This amendment is an important accountability measure that was recommended by the Health Quality and Complaints
Commission Select Committee when it reviewed the Commission and the Health Quality and Complaints Commission Act in
2007.
Mr Speaker, Queensland Health staff are bound by a strict duty of confidentiality under the Health Services Act. This duty ensures
that patient privacy is of the utmost importance. However, there are legitimate needs in the provision of health services for patient
information to be disclosed. Accordingly, the Health Services Act also includes a range of exceptions to the duty of confidentiality
to allow appropriate and accountable disclosure.
The bill amends the duty of confidentiality to add three new exceptions to the duty to allow the appropriate and necessary
disclosure of patient information in specific circumstances.
Firstly, a new exception is to be added which will enable the disclosure of patient identifying information for the protection, safety
or wellbeing of a child.
This exception is not about providing a child’s confidential information, nor is it about providing information to the Department of
Child Safety or Queensland Police Service in instances when a child has been or is at risk of being harmed. These scenarios are
provided for in the extensive legislative framework already in place for the protection of children.
Rather this exception provides for the disclosure of information about a patient to people who are willing and able to provide
support to a child in circumstances where a child may be placed at some risk.
This provision will also help to clarify that clinical staff may disclose patient information to family members to help keep a child safe
where the mental health of the patient may raise some concerns about the patient’s behaviour around the child.
This will not, of course, negate the obligation medical practitioners and registered nurses have to report all reasonable suspicions
of potential harm to a child to the Department of Child Safety.
Nor does it impact on the responsibility to seek an Involuntary Treatment Order for a patient considered to be a danger to
themselves or others because of a mental illness.
Guidelines will be developed to assist staff in determining when it is appropriate to disclose information under this exception.
Those guidelines will also provide for what information should be disclosed and the proper processes for documenting the
disclosure.
Mr Speaker, this amendment will give rise to the recommendation of a report from the Commissioner for Children and Young
People and Child Guardian and I am confident that this new exception will assist us to better protect Queensland’s children in a
responsible and responsive manner.
The second new exception will enable information to be disclosed by the Director-General of Health, to lawyers who are
representing the state, for a purpose related to that representation.
The third new exception to the duty of confidentiality will enable staff to disclose patient identifying information to the Director-
General if the disclosure is relevant to the objects of the Health Services Act—that is, to protect and promote health, to help
prevent and control illness, and to provide for the treatment of the sick.
These three new exceptions will help to overcome operational difficulties that have been experienced due to the strict nature of the
duty of confidentiality.
Mr Speaker, I now turn to amendments to the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act. The Bill amends this Act to give
effect to a 2004 Election Commitment to amend relevant legislation to allow for the full implementation of the Nurse Practitioner
role.
Nurse practitioners will often be the first point of contact for patients with work related injuries who present at primary health care
facilities and emergency departments for initial diagnosis and treatment.
However, while nurse practitioners are able to provide the necessary health care for certain non-complex, work-related injuries,
referral of these patients to a medical officer is often required for the sole purpose of obtaining a workers’ compensation medical
certificate.
The proposed amendments will enable a nurse practitioner to issue a workers compensation medical certificate for a minor injury
at a patient’s initial attendance.
23 Apr 2009               Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                          185

In the instance where a nurse practitioner reviews a patient and the care the patient requires is beyond their scope of practice,
then an appropriate referral may be made to the health workforce. This initiative will reduce the demands on the health workforce,
by better utilising medical resources.
Mr Speaker, the remaining provisions in the bill pertain to operational amendments.
The amendments to the Public Health Act will clarify the capacity of a contact tracing officer to disclose information so that a
person who has, or may have, contracted a notifiable condition can: Be provided with information to prevent or minimise
transmission of the notifiable condition; and as may be necessary seek medical treatment.
This will enable, for example, the provision of information to be provided to the parents of a child or to a nominated health
practitioner involved in the treatment or care of the person.
In addition, the amendments will help to clarify the original intent of the research provisions. This will be done by, for example,
clarifying the interaction between the disclosure of health information held by the department under the research
provisions and health information being disclosed under other relevant provisions in the Public Health Act or another Act (such as
under the duty of confidentiality in the Health Services Act).
The Bill also makes miscellaneous amendments to the 13 Health Practitioner Registration Acts, the Health Practitioners
(Professional Standards) Act and the Nursing Act to help the Health Practitioner Registration Boards and the Queensland Nursing
Council to perform their functions more effectively and efficiently. The amendments primarily address operational deficiencies and
inconsistencies in the legislation identified by the Boards and the Nursing Council.
Mr Speaker, the development of a Bill such as this involves extensive consultation with stakeholders. I would like to take this
opportunity to thank all those stakeholders who were involved with the development of this Bill including the Australian Medical
Association Queensland, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the Queensland Nurses Union, the Queensland Nursing
Council and the Queensland health practitioner registration boards.
Mr Speaker, I believe the amendments and provisions in this bill will support the Government’s commitment to deliver quality
health and health related services to Queenslanders.
I commend the Bill to the House.
        Debate, on motion of Mr Seeney, adjourned.

   VEGETATION MANAGEMENT (REGROWTH CLEARING MORATORIUM) BILL
                                                     Second Reading
        Resumed from p. 182, on motion of Mr Robertson—
That the bill be now read a second time.
        Mr SEENEY (Callide—LNP) (2.34 pm): At the resumption of the debate, I want to table a series of
maps that are pertinent to this legislation. The legislation before the House has as its base, as
vegetation management itself does, certain maps which give the legislation its effect. These maps, like
the vegetation management maps, are notoriously inaccurate, but they do give any member of the
House who wants to look at them an indication of the extent of the impact on individual landholders.
Anyone who looks at the extent of the defined areas will understand the arguments that I have been
putting forward in the House today on behalf of my constituents and landholders generally.
        The first map is one of the so-called moratorium maps which define the moratorium area. The
blue colour on the map is the area that has been classified as so-called endangered regrowth. That is
an emotive term, as I indicated before; it is a misleading term. It identifies productive areas that will now
be restricted from regrowth control and therefore will revert to thicker vegetation and become
unproductive.
        This map is of an area from my electorate just north of the town of Biloela and it shows the
significant impact on individual properties. There are individual properties on this map with something
like 65 per cent of their total area now covered by the defined blue area on the map. So 65 per cent of
their property will move over time from being a productive part of their enterprise to being a non-
productive timbered area. I table that map for the benefit of members.
Tabled paper: Map showing moratorium regrowth vegetation areas, described as centred on Lot on Plan: 4 RW626.
       The second map is also a moratorium map from a similar area; it is to the north-west of the town
of Biloela. This map illustrates the point I was making before about the PMAV, the property map of
assessable vegetation. I know the minister will stand up when he sums up this second reading debate
and say that landholders had an opportunity to get certified PMAVs since his last attempt at legislation in
this area in 2004. This map illustrates the problem I was talking about.
       There are large areas where landholders believe that the vegetation was all classified as
regrowth. Landholders in that area did not go through the process to get a PMAV because there was no
need to under the old legislation because there was no remnant vegetation. There was no chance that
their particular vegetation was going to revert, so they did not go through the quite expensive process of
establishing a property map of assessable vegetation.
       This moratorium map that was released on 8 April, when the moratorium was announced, shows
once again through the use of the blue colouring what areas have been identified as endangered
regrowth vegetation—again, using that emotive term. As members can see, it imposes that
classification on extensive parts within that area that were formerly considered regrowth. There are
186                     Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                          23 Apr 2009

properties on this map which have in excess of 50 per cent of their area now covered by that
declaration, which will mean that 50 per cent of their productive land will move from a productive base to
a non-productive base and become worthless over time. I table that map.
Tabled paper: Map showing moratorium regrowth vegetation areas, described as centred on Lot on Plan: 143 RN1308.
        The third map is a map of lower resolution in that the scale is different. It shows a bigger area, but
it gives members an indication of the areas that we are talking about. If members look at the colours on
the map they will see that the greens and the browns were the remnant vegetation and the blue is the
extra area that is now restricted from regrowth control and will be taken out of production.
        Is it any wonder that landholders are angry? Is it any wonder that landholders who find
themselves with 60 per cent of their property suddenly coloured blue on these maps are angry? These
maps are so offensively wrong. The landholders are as mad as hornets and they have every right to be
as mad as hornets, because this government is imposing this legislation on them as part of a cheap
political stunt. I know that there are members on that side of the House who have a very genuine belief
in social justice, individual rights and a sense of fairness. I know that because I know some of them
personally. Anybody who looked at this situation from any sort of a fair point of view could not help but
be moved by the impact that is being visited upon these landholders simply so the government can
settle a preference deal that was made in the election campaign.
        The last map that I want to table is also a map on which this legislation depends. This map is the
one that defines the second areas of land that will be restricted under this moratorium. The blue areas
marked on those maps are those classified as endangered regrowth—that emotive term again. This
map identifies the areas that will be classified because they are considered to be riparian vegetation.
The bill holds that within 50 metres of a watercourse within the designated catchments—the so-called
reef catchments—no clearing is possible. That is a map of the watercourses that are involved. Within 50
metres of any of those watercourses, the landholders will not be able to clear any land. It is obvious that
you are not talking about the Burdekin River. You are talking about little gullies, gutters and anywhere
where water may drain.
        Mr Springborg: A depression.
        Mr SEENEY: You are talking about depressions in the ground. You would be flat out finding them
on the ground, and yet within 50 metres of any of those lines the productive value of the land will be lost.
If this map were to be restricted to things like a river or a permanent stream or something that ran in a
flood, the government would have some chance of mounting a credible argument. But I appeal to those
members who will vote on this legislation tonight: get these maps that I have tabled, read the legislation
and think about the points that I have made on behalf of the people whose lives you are going to ruin.
Think about it. Have a look at this. If you are going to vote for this, then stand up in this parliament and
tell people you are going to do it.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Wendt): Order! Member for Callide, please direct your comments
through the chair.
        Mr SEENEY: I apologise, Mr Deputy Speaker. If members are going to vote for this legislation,
then they need to stand up and justify this because there is no way that this even remotely resembles
common sense. It is not common sense because it was never intended to be. It was intended to be a
cheap political payoff for a political deal. I table that map for the benefit of honourable members.
Tabled paper: Map showing moratorium regrowth vegetation areas, described as centred on Lot on Plan: 183 BNT56.
Tabled paper: Map showing riparian areas.
       I conclude my contribution to this debate by summing up the situation that the House faces this
afternoon. We have a piece of legislation before the House that is an outrage. It is an outrage because it
was conceived to repay a political debt. Legislation should not be brought into this House for that base
purpose. We debase ourselves and this parliament when the instigator for a piece of legislation is the
repayment of a cheap political debt. Legislation introduced into the chamber as part of a creditable
public administration should be based on fact or on a creditable basis, not as some cheap political stunt.
       The legislation before the House is also an outrage in its construction. It offends so many of the
standards that this parliament has required for legislation over a period of time. It is retrospective. It is
doubly retrospective in relation to the PMAV applications. It denies people who are affected by it every
right of natural justice assumed by every Queenslander. It effectively prevents any judicial appeal or any
legal right in any court under any law anywhere. It is an absurdity.
       The legislation before the House is also offensive in that it goes back on a promise that the
government gave in 2004. It destroys the trust that the people of Queensland should have in the
minister who introduced that legislation in 2004. It takes away any chance that those people can have
confidence in anything this government says or in the officers that they have to deal with.
       It is also an outrage because we do not know whether this is going to be the end. We were told in
2004 that we had drawn a line in the sand. It is outrageous that we are here today drawing another line
in the sand. My great fear, and the fear of people in the community that I represent, is that unless we
stop this now we will be continually impacted by legislation such as this. This bill before the House is not
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                          187

a priority. The House should be talking about jobs. It should be talking about the government’s program
to address a whole range of infrastructure issues, traffic issues, health issues and all of those things that
beset the people of Queensland. Instead, what we are seeing here is a cheap political stunt to pay back
a preference deal that is full of injustices. The legislation should be rejected out of hand by every
member who sits here.
        Hon. AM BLIGH (South Brisbane—ALP) (Premier and Minister for the Arts) (2.44 pm): In April
2004 the Labor government passed historic new laws to phase out broadscale clearing of remnant
vegetation in Queensland. We did that in implementation of an election commitment and we did it
offering $150 million in financial assistance to affected landholders. We made that $150 million available
without any assistance from the then federal government, led by John Howard. As at midnight on 31
December 2006, the massive destruction of remnant vegetation became a part of Queensland’s history.
More than any other single action, these laws have helped our country to meet its commitments under
the Kyoto protocol greenhouse targets.
        Listening to the contribution from the shadow minister on this, one would think that that legislation
had brought an end to civilisation as we know it. I think it is important to remember that this legislation
not only means something very important for our state; it has delivered greenhouse targets for the whole
of our nation, and it is something that this parliament should feel very proud of. When we introduced the
laws they were opposed by the then National Party but they were supported by the then Liberal Party
under the leadership of Bob Quinn. Queensland Labor led the way in early mitigation to meet the climate
change challenge. We were helped and supported by the then Liberal Party of Queensland.
        The current Leader of the Opposition went to his by-election and he proudly told parliament that
ending clearing of remnant vegetation was ‘on the cutting edge of policy’. He told parliament that our
tree-clearing legislation ensured that the sustainability of the environment was assured and that the
sustainability of industry was assured. He told parliament that our tree-clearing legislation struck the
right balance. He was the Liberal Party shadow minister for the portfolio at the time in the debate. He
added that the Liberal Party ‘looks at the big picture’. Remember those days?
        Government members: Yes!
        Ms BLIGH: One of the positive outcomes of the Labor government’s move was a massive
reduction in greenhouse gases. Well, what a difference a few years makes. Here we are in 2009 and in
opposing this legislation the member for Surfers Paradise is opposing the next round of sensible steps
in managing vegetation in Queensland.
        Mr Hobbs interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Member for Warrego, do you need to withdraw?
        Mr HOBBS: I withdraw, Mr Deputy Speaker.
        Ms BLIGH: To be a leader in these times means facing some hard choices in Queensland about
protecting our environment and confronting climate change. Although a Labor government in
Queensland has led the way with Australia’s most significant measure to protect remnant vegetation,
there are still high levels of regrowth clearing across the state. Earlier this year I released satellite data
for the 2006-07 year. This was the first satellite data since the implementation of the tree-clearing laws.
What it showed, to the credit of landholders, is that there has been a significant drop in clearing rates for
remnant vegetation, but it also showed that there has been a relentless continuation of regrowth
clearing particularly on freehold land. Annual regrowth clearing rates are exceeding 100,000 hectares
per annum. I am concerned about those rates. They should concern everyone.
        When I saw those rates of clearing, I said that I would be holding talks with farmers, scientists and
conservation groups on the best way forward. Regrowth vegetation, especially mature regrowth that has
not been cleared for many years, contains many of the biodiversity and ecological values of remnant
vegetation.
        Protecting the endangered regrowth helps to restore ecosystems that have been reduced to
critical levels and gives them an opportunity for survival. I see this regrowth as nature’s second chance
for us. We must together decide how we are going to take up that chance. I appreciate that in giving
ourselves a second chance to right some of the wrongs of the original tree clearing in Queensland we
need to find the right balance as we go forward. I am deeply conscious of some of the complexities
involved in getting this right. Therefore, I understand the need for extensive consultation with
landholders, both leasehold and freehold.
        When the state government announced its intention to stop destructive broadscale clearing of
remnant vegetation in 2004 let us remember what happened. What happened was that extensive tracts
of native forest were panic cleared by some landholders in an attempt to beat the ban. The legislation
that we are debating here today is about making sure that panic clearing does not happen again. That is
why we are introducing a moratorium. This legislation is legislation for a moratorium. It is buying
breathing space so that we can get this right. This moratorium applies to endangered regrowth
vegetation and priority riparian vegetation in reef catchments.
188                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                  23 Apr 2009

        I would say to the shadow minister that under this bill this moratorium will prevail for the next eight
weeks. When members listen to the hysteria from the member opposite they should remember that we
are talking about what will happen in the next eight weeks. During that time the maps the shadow
minister drew our attention to can and should be considered. They should be considered in detail. We
need that time to do precisely what the shadow minister urged us to do. We need to buy that time so that
we can get it right precisely so that we do not inadvertently entrench something that would
disadvantage, in an unreasonable way, any landholder.
        Protecting the Great Barrier Reef is a key commitment from my government. We must protect the
reef and the jobs that it sustains, and we will. I want to make sure that we are doing all we can to make
the reef more resilient to climate change. If we protect this vegetation then we protect water quality. We
do not want to lose any more of it.
        Let us be very clear: this moratorium will extend over the next eight weeks and it will protect high-
value vegetation from the panic clearing of the past. The moratorium that is before the House today
allows talks to take place with farmer groups, conservationists and scientists about the best way forward
on regrowth clearing. It is entirely possible to actively support a moratorium on this while those
discussions proceed and then to vote against the government’s final resolution of those issues when a
more permanent bill comes into the House. We want to sit down and talk to landholders and farmers
before we take any final decisions. But to allow those talks to occur without the pressure of panic
clearing a halt to high-value regrowth clearing has to be enforced.
        This bill is not the end of the effort for us. It is not the end of the story. The real work or the
talks begin. We also plan to work with the federal government to gain support for incentives for
landholders who voluntarily stop clearing. We want to deliver for the environment, greenhouse
emissions, our bush landscapes and the rural economy generally.
        The opposition leader needs to be very clear about what he is doing in opposing the bill that is
before the House today. If he opposes it he is reversing his long-held opposition to environmentally
destructive tree clearing. He will be saying that the rates of regrowth—
        Mr Hobbs interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Wendt): Order!
        Mr Hobbs interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Member for Warrego! I call the Premier.
        Ms BLIGH: As members listen to the nay-sayers on the other side they might be amused to know
that the next line I was about to deliver was that the opposition leader will be saying that the rates of
regrowth clearing are not a problem and we should not bother about it.
        Remember, this is not about any old regrowth; this is about regrowth that has been classified as
endangered. We are only talking about endangered regrowth in this legislation. The Leader of the
Opposition will be saying when he votes against this legislation that combating climate change is not a
priority for him. We know it is not a priority for the National Party. We know that the Deputy Leader of the
Opposition has never believed in climate change. It appears that he has convinced the new leader of
that; the leader has taken his mentoring a little too seriously. He will be saying that panic clearing is not
a problem in this state. The Leader of the Opposition will be saying that he sees no need to protect
endangered vegetation.
        The member for Surfers Paradise will be saying that there is no need to protect the critical
vegetation along streams in the reef catchments. He will be saying that protecting the Great Barrier Reef
is not a priority as it once was for the Queensland Liberal Party. He will be confirming profoundly for the
people of Queensland that the rational policies of the Queensland Liberal Party are gone forever from
Queensland politics and that within—
        A government member interjected.
        Ms BLIGH: They have been cleared. Within a matter of weeks of taking over the leadership, at
the first test of Liberal values in the LNP, at the first opportunity to collapse to the Queensland National
Party’s environmental policies, he caved.
        Mr LANGBROEK (Surfers Paradise—LNP) (Leader of the Opposition) (2.55 pm): What a lovely,
trite contribution from a city member of the Queensland parliament. The Premier has come in here and
told us all about what I said five years ago. I stand by what I said five years ago. I look forward to
explaining why I am happy to support my shadow minister and why the LNP will be opposing the
legislation.
        Mr Robertson interjected.
        Mr LANGBROEK: I point out to the minister that the only deal that was done was the one that
was done by the Premier when she announced on 15 March, in the middle of the election campaign,
that this three-month moratorium would be brought in.
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      I want to go back to what I said on the day that has been quoted by the Premier—21 April 2004. I
stated—
I also commend the intention of this bill to bring together all existing legislation on this issue. One of the past problems was that
under an excess of legislation farmers did not know for certain what they could and could not do. This will change. The bill clearly
outlines what can and cannot be done, providing a degree of certainty that previously was not present.
I was happy to support that legislation. What has happened since then is that we have had a number of
goes amending the vegetation management legislation. That amendment was when the current minister
was the minister for this portfolio previously. Like groundhog day, he is back and having another go at
changing vegetation management.
       I put this to the minister. If this were an issue that the minister had carriage of in the intervening
couple of years—for example, the issue of fluoride—and we were constantly coming back and saying,
‘We have actually had a change in our position. We have had a different look at the science. We have
had lots of scientific looks at it, but we are going to change our position—whether it is putting fluoride in
the water at all or changing the concentration in the water,’ would the minister not think that we would
question the whole premise on which putting fluoride in the water was based?
       That is the problem. Either the reason is science based or it is done for other reasons. That is the
reason we will oppose this moratorium and oppose this bill. The government has said that these are the
reasons that we should support this bill and is putting words in our mouths. It was the government that
on 15 March made a commitment that from midnight on 7 April 2009 there would be a moratorium on
the clearing of native vegetation within 50 metres of watercourses in priority reef catchments.
       When I saw the map of the Burdekin River catchment—and I am the first to admit that I am from
Surfers Paradise and I had no idea what the Burdekin River catchment looked like—tabled by the
shadow minister, the honourable member for Callide, it showed me how easy it is for people in the
south-east to say ‘Okay, just make that part of the moratorium,’ without any idea about the practical
application of the law. That is surely what we are here in the parliament to do. We should be talking
about the practical application of law. We should be doing that as well as saying that suddenly the
science has changed. Surely if we are coming back all the time and adjusting the Vegetation
Management Act we must be acknowledging that there are problems with facets of the legislation that
has already been brought in and they have to be improved. There were changes that needed to be
made in August 2005. Here we are again now.
       I am happy to stand by what I said in 2004. I am happy to be here supporting my shadow minister.
The passion that he and other members of the LNP have on this issue will be on display in this debate.
       We are all members of the Queensland family. No matter which portfolio or area one has an
interest in—whether it is health, farming or infrastructure—if someone has such a passionate, strongly
held view and they are a member of the Queensland family, why is it that we should be saying, ‘Your
view is just wrong because it is and we’re going to do whatever we want,’ because that is clearly what is
happening with the farming and rural community? We are saying to the rural and regional community
that their views on things are not significant.
       Mr Robertson: They’ve got to you. You’ve been bullied. You have been bullied! They’ve got to
you, sunshine!
       Mr Springborg: You hate them—hate them!
       Mr LANGBROEK: With regard to the stakeholders that the minister has said that he has
consulted with, there seems to have been more credence given to the contributions—
       Mr Robertson interjected.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Wendt): Order! Minister!
       Mr Springborg interjected.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Member for Southern Downs, your leader is on his feet.
       Mr LANGBROEK: The minister has met with key stakeholders, and reinforcing my point is that
they are AgForce Queensland, the Queensland Farmers Federation, the WWF, the Wildlife Preservation
Society, the Local Government Association of Queensland, Timber Queensland Ltd and industry and
conservation groups, obviously including the Greens. I am not implying that the minister has consulted
with the Greens, but I would think that the Greens have obviously had significant input into this policy
and this moratorium.
       The point is this: why is it that some of the comments of AgForce Queensland and the
Queensland Farmers Federation are not taken into account in terms of whether this moratorium is
needed? That is the issue when I talk about the Queensland family. These people are not saying, ‘Oh,
we’re just saying this because we want to protect our own neck of the woods.’ That is the issue that is at
the heart of this—as to whether a dirty deal has been done. I am more interested in the outcome.
       As the shadow minister the honourable member for Callide said, legislation should not come in
here for a political purpose. It should be for the purpose of improving the state and our outcomes. We
190                       Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                 23 Apr 2009

know that the last election was won on the basis of jobs and creating more jobs, and clearly we know
from all of the stakeholders that this legislation is not going to create more jobs. Rather, it is going to
take away jobs in rural and regional areas. We know that it is going to cost jobs. We need the Premier to
explain how this decision is going to help create 100,000 jobs. As we learnt this morning, maybe it will if
they count as the one-hour-a-week jobs that she spoke about this morning.
        The agriculture sector has been one of the few industries still performing well in the current
difficult economic climate, with work in rural industries a real option for mining workers who have lost
their jobs in recent months. Our primary industries contribute as part of the Queensland economy
$13.137 billion. The primary industries sector was the state’s second most important export earner in
2007-08, contributing more than a quarter of total exports. There are approximately 30,000 businesses
in Queensland that carry out agricultural activity and over 100,000 people employed in agriculture,
forestry and fishing. Our primary producers are making a major contribution to food security for all
Queenslanders in an era when food prices are predicted to rise internationally as suppliers struggle to
keep up with surging demand for quality produce.
        Let us look at what AgForce has had to say. It says that this represents a further clawback of
Queensland’s current food and fibre production area. There is no doubt that we have this issue with food
security. The world is saying that as the population increases we need to be able to keep producing
more food. Queensland has shown that it can do that. It cannot do it if producers are going to have their
areas taken away from them. The president of AgForce has said—
The loss in production will cost jobs in rural and urban areas because there is a downstream multiplier effect of 4 to 1 in process
and agri-food industries. This will result in further degradation of the productivity and sustainability of the food & fibre sector—
which generates $13 billion for the Queensland economy ...
       AgForce believes that the proposed changes are unacceptable because, as I have said, they will
translate into a loss of jobs at a time when the government should be making decisions that create jobs,
not reduce them. John Cotter said—
... building the economy should be at the forefront of every government policy decision now and in the future ...
       That is what the Premier said the last election was about. She said to Queenslanders that they
could rely on her, and here we are, as we said this morning, not talking about jobs but taking jobs away
with regard to vegetation management and other issues we have talked about this week such as wild
rivers and of course four-year parliamentary terms.
       Mr Robertson: Oh, we’re ready for the wild rivers matter.
       Mr LANGBROEK: Well, we have mentioned wild rivers.
       Mr Robertson: And how do wild rivers matter?
       Mr LANGBROEK: That also is not something that is going to increase jobs. John Cotter says—
Growing the state economy and supporting the performance of businesses is required at this time, not slashing it and hindering
businesses from generating income and jobs for the entire state.
      In 2004 it was this minister who had carriage of the Vegetation Management Amendment Bill. He
assured industry that that legislation would provide surety for producers to manage their land in a locally
relevant and sustainable manner, but today he has changed his mind. He just cannot keep doing that to
people. He said—
This legislation is a historical line in the sand for how we, as a community, manage our often fragile landscapes and their natural
limitations to ensure we remain economically and ecologically sustainable.
        Although this legislation was hugely contentious at the time, producers accepted this line in the
sand. They made appropriate adjustments to the way they ran their food and fibre production systems in
order to be compliant with the new rules, but now the government is suggesting it wants to change those
rules. AgForce believes that it is imperative that rural industry is not left to carry another burden of new
restrictions on land management. It is unacceptable that a new layer of uncertainty is hanging over
agricultural businesses when their sector has been acknowledged as productive, sustainable and a
significant employer.
        A regional forum was held in Rockhampton on 20 April. Those producers are going to have a
fighting fund. They want a united movement of agricultural groups against these vegetation
management changes. Better environmental outcomes are likely to be achieved when land
management decisions are made in partnership with industry using genuine market based incentives for
change. The minister, when meeting with these people, says they will have consultation, but too many of
us on this side have seen consultation before and we know what it leads to—those opposite do not
listen to the consultation. Do not look at what they say; look at what they have done. People say that this
is going to make the entire Brigalow Belt unviable for future agricultural production. There are also Labor
electorates such as Bundamba where 3,000 to 4,000 jobs depend on beef production. These jobs will
be endangered by this decision.
        Mr Robertson: How?
23 Apr 2009            Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                            191

        Mr LANGBROEK: Because if they cannot run beef, then they may not be able to send the beef to
the meatworks where the people work.
        Mr Robertson: But it’s cleared. It’s cleared land.
        Mr Springborg interjected.
        Mr Robertson: It’s cleared land.
        Mr Messenger: You don’t even understand your own legislation!
        Mr LANGBROEK: Yes, the minister clearly does not understand his own legislation.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!
        Mr Robertson: Control your thugs!
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Minister! Order!
        Mr LANGBROEK: The Queensland Farmers Federation also says that locking up these vast
tracts in agricultural areas is pointless and may in fact do more harm than good. The QFF’s main point is
to focus on these riparian buffers and point out that it achieves little that was not already being achieved
or protected and it does not deliver any reef water quality outcomes as mature vegetation is really more
about riverine bank stability, not a great outcome in terms of reducing sediment loads. Of course, our
most productive farming lands are affected by this moratorium.
        We see the Premier going back on her government’s promise about drawing a line in the sand.
How can we trust her to deliver 100,000 new jobs when those opposite will not honour a promise to
uphold land rights? In spite of the fact that Queenslanders are losing their jobs, today in the House we
see just how important jobs are to the Premier. What is her first priority as the leader of this state?
Political paybacks under the guise of vegetation management. It is an important issue—one we are
certainly happy to talk about—but is it the most important priority of government during these times? As
more and more Queenslanders stare down the barrel of unemployment, rebuilding the economy and
restoring jobs should be at the forefront of this government’s agenda, not honouring a preference deal.
        As the member for Callide said, this is a payback bill. The government got 10 seats in exchange
for selling out hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders who are affected by this new law. These people
are not a threat to biodiversity; they are ordinary Queenslanders making a go of life on the land. This
legislation will not protect jobs. It will not create one new job. Bringing forward this legislation at this time
will only destroy jobs in rural and regional Queensland. Not only will it cost hundreds of jobs right across
our state; it destroys some of our fundamental democratic principles. The legislation is retrospective. It
removes all recourse to judicial review. Retrospective laws represent a blow to the pillars upon which
our democracy and our legal system were built.
        I have spoken about retrospectivity before and on a couple of rare occasions I have supported it.
Former premier Wayne Goss got it, but this Premier does not. Page 65 of the Goss government’s
cabinet handbook states that rights should not be removed or liabilities imposed retrospectively unless
there are exceptional circumstances. No matter which way the government spins it, paying off the
Greens for their dirty little preference deal is not exceptional circumstances.
          The Goss bible on legislative standards states that retrospective laws would be more easily
accepted if they had a beneficial impact on those they seek to govern. It cannot be said that a bill that
attaches criminal liability to innocent Queenslanders retrospectively will have a beneficial impact on
anyone other than the 10 MPs who were dragged across the line on 21 March.
        This bill removes a person’s right to judicial review. It rubbishes the right to silence and the right
against self-incrimination. This bill will destroy hundreds of jobs in regional Queensland, which is
completely at odds with the Premier’s 100,000 jobs farce. I will not support this bill.
        Mr SPRINGBORG (Southern Downs—LNP) (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (3.10 pm): This
morning in this parliament we saw a display of absolute ignorance and the real motivation for this
legislation. When the Leader of the House stood in this place and argued the need for urgency in
relation to this bill, we asked, ‘Why do you need urgency with this legislation?’ The Leader of the House
said, ‘Because this is about protecting the forests.’ There are no forests protected by this legislation. We
are talking about regrowth. Some of the areas do not have trees that are very high and some of the
areas do not even have trees on them yet, because it is regrowth. That again demonstrates the absolute
ignorance of those members of the government who have let themselves be led by the nose on this
issue. They have absolutely no fundamental understanding of what they are talking about or what the
legislation is about. Yet they are setting themselves up to impugn and desecrate the fundamental
property rights of so many Queenslanders.
        Make no mistake about it: this legislation is about a greasy little preference deal with the Greens
in Queensland. At a time when this government looked particularly vulnerable, it went out and
subscribed to a panic deal with the Greens in Queensland to be re-elected. Lo and behold, the No. 2
Labor Party in Queensland, the Greens, was effectively able to channel enough preferences to the
Labor Party to get 10 of its members elected. The Greens in Queensland are a vote-laundering exercise
192                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill               23 Apr 2009

for the Labor Party. They are a mini-me of the Labor Party. This Labor government felt itself at risk and
saw the green vote potentially slipping away. Much to the dismay of many Greens supporters, and even
Greens candidates, it did a deal. Members might ask me who were dismayed. Certainly, the Greens
candidate in the electorate of Gympie was, as were a couple of others.
        This legislation is framed out of complete ignorance of the science and out of complete ignorance
of the consequences. It is absolutely nothing about doing the right thing by the environment. Indeed, the
minister is so ashamed of what he has done that when it comes to putting him under scrutiny in this
place he has run out of parliament. That is the arrogance of this minister.
        At the moment, people in the rural and regional areas of Queensland are saying that they are
scared that the minister will exact the same personal retaliation and the same neglect on them as he
inflicted on the long-suffering patients in the health system in Queensland and those public servants
whom he sought to demonise and blame on a daily basis for his own maladministration. This legislation
seeks to demonise and cast as environmental vandals those people who simply complied with the law in
Queensland as it was passed by this parliament in the year 2004. We are talking about landholders who
sought an assurance from the government and who were reluctantly given an assurance by the
government. That assurance says that there will not be any attack on day-to-day, routine farm
management and grazing management, and that is the ability to clear regrowth on a routine basis. We
are talking about the removal and, in some cases, the retrospective removal of that right. Those
landholders are simply abiding by the law of the land which was passed by this parliament. Yet this
minister and this government seeks to come in here to demonise those landholders as part of some sort
of slimy preference deal with the Greens.
        When it comes to this issue, let us contrast the government’s priorities. It hates the farmers. It
hates farmers with a passion. It hates graziers with a passion. It hates the food producers of this state
with a passion. Even the Minister for Primary Industries will say, ‘I might be a good guy’—and maybe he
is a good guy—‘but I have no influence around the cabinet table. Don’t blame me for the actions of
others.’ So government members will go out there and pretend to recognise and acknowledge the hard
work of those people who contribute so much to this state and then run back into this parliament and
demonise them and seek to cast them as environmental vandals.
         As I said, let us look at the priorities of this government. On 16 March a slippery preference deal
was promised. Within six weeks, this minister walks into parliament with this legislation. Let us look at
some of the areas where key government agencies have implored this government over the past
decade to do something about real, demonstrable issues of public safety and public health, yet this
government has not responded in the same sort of proactive, reactionary or even irrational way. Let us
look at what the Project Krystal report said in 1999. It said that we have problems with certain organised
criminal activities in Queensland and that we need telephone interception powers. On three occasions
this government has voted against the introduction of telephone interception powers on the basis that it
was concerned that the Public Interest Monitor would not be able to stand in the public interest of
criminals in Queensland and that it wanted changes to the telecommunications laws. Finally, after 10
years, after billions of dollars of money laundering, drug trafficking and illegal prostitution, we had that
legislation introduced into this parliament. After 10 years of repudiation, why are we not debating that
issue today as a matter of urgency?
        Let us look at the bikie laws—something which I called for in 1999. I said that we needed to have
anticonsorting laws in this state. That was repudiated by this government. We know we have a problem
with criminal and outlaw bikie gangs and other organised crime gangs in Queensland. That was
repudiated and ruled out absolutely by this government for 10 years. It has now discovered it. A bill is to
be introduced into parliament. Why did we not have that bill declared urgent today? This government
has no understanding of the issues that are fundamentally right. We have a government that is more
interested in criminalising farmers than criminalising criminal gangs. That says so much about this
government and its adherence to the rights of criminals and the fact that it does not respect the rights of
law-abiding citizens in Queensland.
        This legislation has unbelievable consequences for food security in Queensland at a time when
this issue is becoming one of the major issues not only in Australia but also worldwide. Make no mistake
about it: this issue is not only about food security in the beef, wool and sheep production areas but also
about food security in broadacre agriculture. This legislation also affects areas that are used for grain
production. There are horticultural areas in my electorate around Stanthorpe that are affected by this
legislation. I advise the minister to look at the map that was tabled earlier by the member for Callide that
covers the Stanthorpe Granite Belt region, which ties up the horticultural area I referred to. Indeed,
housing blocks have been categorised as remnant endangered regrowth. We have radiata trees—an
introduced species that has been planted by people—that have now been classified on these maps as
remnant, endangered regrowth. How absolutely ridiculous is that!
        Once again, that shows the mark of this government and the deals that it will do at a time when
we should be concerned about job security in this state. Indeed, over the past 12 years in Queensland
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agriculture and its flow-on industries have been able to employ as many additional people as has one of
our other great economic mainstays in this state, the tourism industry.
        Indeed, as last quarter’s figures and the figures from the quarter before indicate, the only industry
that is holding Australia out of recession at the moment is the agricultural sector. That is a fact. This
government is seeking to affect that sector’s viability and the viability of job security as a consequence
of this legislation. How can this minister sit there and credibly argue for one moment that this legislation
will have no effect on downstream beef production or downstream beef processing when the
honourable member for Callide has shown here today that some properties which are currently covered
by grasslands will be covered by 40 per cent to 60 per cent vegetation in 10 or 15 years time and they
will not be able to produce the cattle that they currently produce? Put two and two together. I know it will
be extremely difficult for the minister to do that because of the way that he so maladministered health in
this state. But he has failed to comprehend that fundamental principle. There is no doubt that this
legislation will affect the viability of that industry.
        Let us look at the further consequences of this legislation. This government, the Labor Party in
Queensland and its bedfellows—the second Labor Party in Queensland, the green movement—simply
seek to export their conscience overseas with a very Whitlamesque approach. They asked Gough
Whitlam a number of years ago, ‘If you don’t produce it here, what will you do?’ He said, ‘We’ll import it.’
That is what he said. The government believes it can import food from overseas if we do not produce it
here. If that is the Labor Party’s philosophical and ideological belief and want then let that be the case.
But let us look at what they do in South-East Asia. They clear-fell their rainforest and the topsoil runs
into the ocean. Then the land becomes degraded and they cannot grow any more on it and so they
clear-fell some more.
        Labor wants to eat food produced in those countries because it considers those practices to be
environmentally acceptable but it does not want to eat food that has been produced here in Queensland
under very strict environmental and phytosanitary guidelines which some of those trading partners do
not have! We actually have a much stricter regime for the quality of food that we export than we have for
the food that we import. We have seen what they do in South-East Asia with regard to the application of
banned chemicals and with regard to their land management practices, and it is the same in South
America. What we have here is a government that wants to effectively absolve itself of any domestic
responsibility and shift its food production conscience overseas so that it can say that it has actually
done something here, even though it has done something as part of some slippery deal with the Greens.
        Let us look at what the banks are saying. Let us talk to the agricultural bank managers around
Queensland and hear what they are saying. They are terribly concerned about the impact of this
legislation. They are concerned not only about the effect this will have on the asset value itself but that
the diminution in the asset value will affect the primary producer’s ability to borrow more or to increase
their overdraft. Because their property will be affected by the caveats of these moratorium maps—and in
the case of North Queensland with regard to so-called run-off areas—that will affect the valuation of
their property.
        They raised this point with regard to the original vegetation management laws in Queensland.
They are now raising it again. These are the banks that actually ask the primary producers when they
come in to show them a copy of the regional vegetation map as it pertains to their property. Not only
that, but if those primary producers do have a PMAV the banks ask them for reassurance about what is
likely to happen with regard to further government legislation. To date, the primary producers have been
able to say, ‘We are in a white area. We are considered not of concern. We are regrowth only, so it does
not matter. We are covered.’ No longer will they be able to trust that. This will devalue the asset and it is
already starting to happen, as the honourable member for Callide pointed out a moment ago.
        This government shows gross hypocrisy when it comes to the issue of cutting greenhouse gases
in Queensland. It shows gross hypocrisy when it comes to its rhetoric on climate change. It is happy to
stand by the ports each year and wave goodbye to hundreds of millions of tonnes of coal—which is a
net producer of carbon dioxide, a pretty significant greenhouse gas. But the coal goes to other countries
that have never even heard of clean coal, have never even heard about Kyoto and are not interested in
Copenhagen. It is a case of out of sight out of mind for this government. I support the coal industry in
Queensland, and I always have done. I have a consistent approach on this issue but this government
has an inconsistent approach. All it wants is the revenues. It does not want to have to deal with the
consequences of these issues; it only wants to go after its own domestic citizens when it comes to the
issues of addressing greenhouse emissions.
        Let us look at other areas in which the government is absolutely disinterested. Let us look at
the millions of tonnes of grain which has bulked up throughout South-East Queensland and Central
Queensland and cannot be shifted on rail because of the degradation of our rail infrastructure in
Queensland. As a deliberate policy of this government, it has been shifted on roads in recent years, with
trucks pumping out millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas each year and roads breaking down because
of the coal being transported by road. This government does not care about that. It is out of sight out of
mind. It is not a soft touch but the farmers are. This is the gross hypocrisy of this government when it
194                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                 23 Apr 2009

comes to its attitude on the reduction of greenhouse gases and consequently dealing with the issue of
human induced climate change.
        Let us look at some of the fundamental attacks that this legislation makes on the rights and
liberties of individuals. One thing I subscribe to unashamedly, as somebody on the right-of-centre side of
politics, is the fundamental belief in the right of private property ownership. Socialists do not subscribe to
that. They actually believe that they have a right to regulate and to interfere as much as possible with
the rights of private property owners. Well this government has interfered most demonstrably with the
rights of private property owners in Queensland. Not only that; there is not even one indication of
compensation from this government as it seeks to attack an existing property right in Queensland which
this government itself guaranteed in its legislation in 2004, that is, the right to routinely manage the
regrowth that grows on somebody’s property.
        There is another thing that honourable members opposite do not understand—and I cannot
blame them necessarily. When people freeholded their land over a period, do those opposite know what
they did? And this is a fact.
        Mr Johnson: They gave a donation to the government.
        Mr SPRINGBORG: They gave a donation to the government effectively. The department of
natural resources or its predecessor assessed the value of the timber, both commercial and non-
commercial, and the landowner actually purchased that as part of the freeholding arrangement. So they
actually bought the rights to those trees. So if they have bought that property, this government does
have an obligation to compensate those property owners if it seeks to interfere with the property that
they have properly purchased. The government did not do that with the existing legislation, contrary to
what the Premier said in here before. The government only compensated for land that was not of
concern that people could not clear. It did not compensate for the endangered vegetation which locked
up a significant number of trees on properties and affected viability.
        Let us look at what is actually exempt—and this really is a window into the world of this
government. If we look at the website, it says that the government has exempted any clearing of
endangered regrowth for urban development. So this government is happy to look after its own
constituency. This government is happy to knock down trees to build houses but is not happy to knock
down trees to grow food. What gross hypocrisy! The government does not even provide capacity in the
existing legislation for farmers to be able to offset, as a developer would, where they might say, ‘We’ll
develop that in exchange for locking that up.’
        This is not fair and just legislation. The Attorney-General stood in this place this morning and
sought to define what the Labor Party is all about—that is, being fair and just. This legislation and its
parent legislation is anything but fair and just. I ask honourable members opposite: what would they say
if somebody was arrested for the crime of homicide and they had their right to remain silent expunged
by a vote of this parliament? What would they say? They would say that that is repugnant to principles of
natural justice. What would they say if somebody was charged with armed robbery, yet the parliament
had removed their right against self-incrimination? What would they say? It is repugnant and against the
principles of this place.
        What would those opposite say if this parliament introduced a reverse onus of proof for people
who had never come in contact with the law before? They would say that that was repugnant. What
would those opposite say if a government took away the right of the defence of mistake of fact even if it
has been those who are judging who have actually made the mistake? Others complied with the advice
and were prosecuted for it. Those opposite would say that that is repugnant to everything we hold dear.
What would those opposite say if asylum seekers had their right of judicial review taken away? They
would say that is repugnant. Those opposite spend more time being concerned about asylum seekers
and David Hicks and his rights than they do worrying about our own citizens who have had their rights
torn away from them—the rights that we give on a daily basis to those people accused of homicide,
armed robbery and a whole range of nefarious activities. Here the government is seeking to take away
from those people who have simply complied with the law until they make it retrospective here in the
parliament at about 11.30 tonight. This law attacks and impugns the fundamental principles of what we
believe in. This government is not about doing the right thing and looking after jobs and developing food
security in Queensland; this government is simply looking after one job—that is, its own. A slippery
preference deal with the Greens is the only thing that actually matters to this government.
        Ms JARRATT (Whitsunday—ALP) (3.30 pm): It is great to see the Deputy Speaker in the chair
this afternoon for his first time. I am very pleased to rise in support of the Vegetation Management
(Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009. No issue has delineated and defined the policy positions of
the government and the opposition over the years more than that of vegetation management. At least
the Labor Party and the National Party had well-defined and philosophically based positions when it
came to this contentious matter. In the past the Liberal Party have been a little less defined and
favoured the middle ground of indecision or, if really pushed, probably leaned towards support for the
notion. How interesting, then, to see them today try to mix oil and water to form a united position as the
new LNP.
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        The moratorium, which is the focus of this bill, will be in place to restrain uncontrolled clearing of
endangered regrowth vegetation, giving the minister and department time to consult with stakeholders
and affected individuals. There are two planks to the legislation: one which prevents, by moratorium, the
clearing of riparian zones within 50 metres of waterways in the three regions of North Queensland that
are adjacent the Great Barrier Reef lagoon; and the other which prevents clearing of endangered
regrowth vegetation on rural freehold and leasehold land. The moratorium will be in place for three
months beginning 8 April this year.
        When vegetation management legislation was first brought into this state its primary aim was to
halt the uncontrolled incidence of broadscale tree clearing in Queensland that without a doubt was
decimating large tracts of significant habitat and precious and fragile ecosystems mostly on the western
side of the great divide.
        In those early days, tree-clearing legislation was introduced to preserve biodiversity and to
prevent rising salinity and erosion. The laws were based in a very sound framework of conservation
values that were broadly shared across the state’s population. Today, however, our policy position is
increasingly honed and driven by the growing body of evidence relating to the consequences of global
warming and the need to both find ways to offset greenhouse gas emissions and promote resilience in
our native flora and fauna as it increasingly struggles to adapt to temperature rises and habitat demise.
        As temperatures rise and plants and animals struggle to adapt to new microclimates in their
traditional territory, the maintenance of significant tracts of natural habitat and vegetation corridors
linking these regions becomes a critical factor in their survival. The re-establishment of native habitat in
areas that once were cleared could well be the best way to address the issue of ecosystem shrinkage. If
we are serious about protecting our wildlife and addressing the astonishing growth of Australian birds
and animals that sit on the endangered and vulnerable lists, then we should support this moratorium
and be part of the discussion that it will allow.
        In relation to the second part of the moratorium, which places a halt on the clearing of native
vegetation within 50 metres of a watercourse in the Mackay-Whitsunday, Wet Tropics and Burdekin reef
catchments, it is clear that this government has a mandate to take action. We were very clear prior to
and within the election period that a Bligh government would legislate to reduce the amount of pesticide
and sediment running into the reef lagoon from these particular reef catchments. This is an important
step in that process.
        We know that one way to address the issue of run-off pollution is to filter it through a vegetation
buffer before it enters our waterways. Astute farmers and graziers know this, and many have already set
up a system of natural filtration around their watercourses that slows down the movement of water
during heavy rain events and acts as a natural filter. I am guessing that the criticism of a mandatory
buffer zone will be that it penalises landowners by reducing the amount of productive land they have at
their disposal. My response to this is that they have an obligation first to the national interest of survival
of the Great Barrier Reef.
        Just as providing additional habitat will help to build resilience in terrestrial wildlife, our marine life
and corals need all the help they can be given to survive the onslaught of global warming in the waters
of the Great Barrier Reef. If we can reduce the sediment and pesticide load coming to this environment
by taking action on the land then we will be giving the Great Barrier Reef and its marine life a fighting
chance to adjust to the impacts that a rise in water temperature and acidification will bring. It is about
building resilience.
        Before finishing, I acknowledge the fantastic efforts of the former member for Hervey Bay and
minister for sustainability, climate change and innovation, the honourable Andrew McNamara, who
spearheaded the work in relation to policy on run-off reduction. I am sorry that he is not here to support
this legislation, but he can be forever proud of the groundwork he laid in preparing the government for
meeting the challenge of improving reef water quality. I commend the bill to the House.
         Mr SHINE (Toowoomba North—ALP) (3.35 pm): Today we have heard a rehash of what we
heard in 2004. Those of us who were members then heard the same arguments put up by the member
for Callide then as we heard today.
        Mr Johnson: It is a different argument.
        Mr SHINE: In essence it was the same and I will explain why in a minute. I have a genuine
concern for the interests of country people. I have had the privilege of having a role to play in terms of
representing the interests of people in Western Queensland, in particular in the past. I certainly have a
good knowledge of country and farming people. I understand the concerns that have been expressed in
some of the rural press. It is no wonder those concerns have been expressed after the scaremongering
that has been going on which has been illustrated today by the contribution made by the members for
Callide and Southern Downs in particular. No doubt we will hear worse as the day goes on. It is
understandable that people’s fears will grow if this scaremongering continues.
        The member for Callide basically accused the government of bringing in this legislation as a result
of some squalid deal made with some sectional party. The reality is that the honourable member for
196                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                23 Apr 2009

Callide is appealing to that One Nation rump within the old National Party. That is what his speech was
all about today and that is why nothing has changed since 2004. That was the challenge to the National
Party in those days and he is still appealing to the same audience.
        The honourable member for Callide, beyond belief almost, quoted that icon of Australian fairness,
the poet Henry Lawson. Fancy bringing to this House the words of the great poet backing up an
argument that favours the squattocracy in this state. Henry Lawson would indeed turn in his grave if he
heard the remarks of the honourable member for Callide today.
        Mr Hopper: He’d turn in his grave if he heard what you’re saying now.
        Mr SHINE: I do not think the honourable member has ever read Henry Lawson, but I do
commend Henry Lawson to him.
        The other outstanding issues that have come to light today are the differences between the old
National Party members and the old Liberal Party members. We are yet to hear from members of the
Liberal Party. Looking at page 1 of the speaking list, they are pretty much absent. We have the leader of
the LNP and the member for Caloundra but not much else. There might be appearances from some of
the old guard on page 2, although I am not sure about that.
        It will be interesting to hear the Liberal Party members explain today why they now hold a policy
which is quite the opposite, quite different, to the Liberal Party federally. I can remember Costello and, in
more recent times, Turnbull skiting when the Howard government was still in power at how Australia had
met its greenhouse emission targets and how Australia had complied with the Kyoto agreement. We all
know in this House why that was the case. Well, we all should know in this House why that was the
case; certainly, we on this side of the House know why Australia was able to attain those targets. It was
because of the passage of this legislation and what proceeded it prior to 2004. That was the only reason
why Australia was able to adopt that position.
        The federal Liberal government under Howard unashamedly demonstrated to the world the virtue
of Australia’s actions. We have the remnants of the Liberal Party here in the LNP today and let us ask
them to explain their attitude today as opposed to what it was then. Why is it that this type of legislation
in 2004 was, according to the Leader of the LNP, as just pointed out by the Premier, cutting edge but all
of a sudden today it is no longer worthy of any support whatsoever? Let them explain that today. Let
them explain to the people of Queensland in this parliamentary forum why things have changed so
much.
        I think what has changed is that in those days members of the Liberal Party had some pride. They
had some pride in their own platform and their own policies and they had some guts because they stood
by them. They were led by people who believed in principle. I do not know if that is still the case, and
that is a sad reflection on what has happened over that short period of five years. I believe they have
sold out. Today’s actions show that this merger has resulted in a sellout by the Liberals to the National
Party, and there cannot be any disagreement about that. I think it explains why there are so few former
members of the Liberal Party on the speaking list today. In my view, it is a very hypocritical attitude by
those members of the LNP.
        I fully expect the former National Party members to adopt the attitude they have. They are
consistent, and I give them that. The honourable member for Callide has been a very sincere advocate
of his cause. He has not deviated from that—more’s the pity, because I think he should have been open
to reason. Nevertheless, I will give him points for that degree of sincerity, but the former members of the
Liberal Party get no points from me and should get no points from anyone else.
        I was concerned at first blush when I looked at this bill and the retrospectivity, but there is an
explanation in the explanatory notes on why the retrospective provisions are justified and I submit that
that should satisfy all members in this House that it is quite okay in this instance. What is designed to be
achieved in the bill is very clearly and succinctly set out in section 3 on page 6 of the bill, and I refer
honourable members to it. I will not waste the time of the House today by reading it out but it is not hard
to understand.
        The Premier made some very good points and they are worthwhile summarising in my
conclusion. She pointed out that in 2004 when this type of legislation was last before the House the
Queensland parliament approved the allocation of $150 million of assistance to landholders who were
affected. She also pointed out that the people of Queensland received no assistance whatsoever from
the Howard government in terms of the granting of that assistance—notwithstanding the fact that it was
the Howard government, as I said earlier, which was claiming credit for meeting the greenhouse targets.
        The Premier mentioned how the Leader of the Opposition had described the legislation as cutting
edge but all of a sudden has today weaselled away from that point of view. The Premier mentioned that
recent satellite data has come to hand and, to the credit of country people, by and large the remnant
vegetation clearance rate has decreased remarkably. However, it is the regrowth area which is of
concern and, therefore, urgent action is needed. Clearly, in order to prevent panic clearing, it is sensible
and reasonable to bring in this retrospective provision, providing of course that you give notice of it, and
that is exactly what did happen. Prior to the election, the government said, ‘If we’re elected, this is what
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we’re going to do.’ In a democracy, you cannot get a fairer or more transparent approach than that so I
applaud the government’s actions in this regard.
        I also note, as the Premier said, that this moratorium period will give the people an opportunity to
consult on and clarify the effect of that blue area on the maps which the member for Callide pointed out.
If reasonable questions arise in relation to the application of that blue area to a person’s property, now is
the time to clarify that. I would hope and expect that those involved in the administration of this
legislation will adopt a very sensible approach to those consultations during that moratorium period. In
conclusion, I congratulate the minister on the swift application to the task of bringing to the House this
legislation which, as I said before, was foreshadowed in the election campaign.
        Mr HOPPER (Condamine—LNP) (3.47 pm): The Premier made an election commitment on 15
March for a three-month moratorium on the potential clearing of over a million hectares of regrowth
vegetation. There is just a little statement there I want to highlight: ‘potential clearing of over a million
hectares’. I have here the map that our shadow minister tabled today on the Burdekin catchment.
Members can see the number of streams represented there by every one of those lines. Have a look at
the amount of country that this will cover. I would say it will be well over a million hectares, to say the
least.
        This moratorium will apply on both freehold and leasehold land except where there is an existing
certified Property Map of Accessible Vegetation management or existing development approval. This is
a Premier who promised to create 100,000 jobs, yet her first priority here now is a decision which will
cost jobs in rural and regional Queensland. In fact, it is costing jobs right at this moment. AgForce
predicts the loss in production will cost jobs in rural and urban areas because there is a downstream
multiplier effect of four to one in process and agrifood industries.
        I draw the attention of the House to page 8 of the explanatory notes and a sentence that sums up
this government’s approach to most legislation aimed at rural and regional Queensland. It says, ‘The
community or industry stakeholders were not consulted on this bill.’ I repeat: ‘The community or industry
stakeholders were not consulted on this bill.’ The agriculture sector has been one of the few industries
still performing well in this current difficult economic climate, no thanks at all to the policies of this
government.
        Queensland’s primary industries have provided a core foundation for Queensland’s economic
development. Here are a few facts for honourable members: in 2007-08 the primary industry sector was
the state’s second most important export earner, contributing more than a quarter of our total exports. In
2008-09 the total value of Queensland’s primary industry commodities is forecast at over $13 billion.
There are over 30,000 businesses in Queensland that carry out agricultural activity and over 100,000
people employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing. Put simply, this moratorium was a knee-jerk
reaction for Greens preferences during an election campaign. Once again, rural and regional
Queenslanders are being used for the government’s political purposes with no thought whatsoever of
the consequences for them.
        In 2004 Minister Robertson had carriage of the Vegetation Management and Other Legislation
Amendment Bill, which introduced the current vegetation management regime. At that time the minister
assured industry that this legislation would provide surety for producers to manage their land in a locally
relevant and sustainable manner. On 28 March 2004 Minister Robertson stated—
One of the fundamental principles underpinning this bill is certainty—certainty for landholders and a workable framework for the
future of vegetation management in Queensland.
       The major issue for farmers is the uncertainty once again provided by this government. Producers
thought they knew where they were but now the government has come back for another slice of their
asset. This is not the way to get an environmental outcome. This moratorium will have massive impacts
on some producers. So the issue is the current impact on productivity and property value for those
individuals who did not have a PMAV locked in and the bigger picture of whether the government will
come back yet again in the future for more regrowth. That is the fear that is hanging over the heads of
many producers and graziers not only in North Queensland but on the edge of Brisbane and South-East
Queensland. What is the basis for these decisions? Where are the studies? Where is the data? As
usual, there is none.
       Keep in mind that, in addition to securing the economic pulse of regional communities, our
primary producers make a major contribution to food security for all Queenslanders in an era when food
prices are predicted to rise internationally as supplies struggle to keep up with the surging demand for
quality produce. By 2025 global food output must increase by around 75 per cent. This needs to double
by 2050. For this we need annual improvement of 1.8 per cent. This has to be done in the face of
constraints imposed by water limitations, climate change, land availability and fuel prices. What we are
facing is a further clawback of Queensland’s current food and fibre production area for unsubstantiated
and dubious environmental gain.
       To use the Central Queensland Brigalow Belt as an example, agricultural land needs to be
thinned of trees every 10 to 15 years to return to its optimum productive capacity. If the regrowth is left
unchecked, production will be cut by 70 per cent within 15 years, thereby making the entire Brigalow
198                       Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                             23 Apr 2009

Belt unviable for future agricultural production. The obvious downstream consequences of any new
clamps on regrowth management will be job losses in the regions and in urban areas such as
Bundamba. As the Leader of the Opposition mentioned before, there are 3,000 to 4,000 jobs that
depend on beef production in that area. The beef industry alone contributes $3.4 billion to the
Queensland economy and supports many thousands of meat-producing jobs in urban areas such as
Dinmore and Beenleigh.
      Where is the Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries, the minister responsible for rural and
regional Queensland? I would like to hear his contribution today. Surely everyone would have to agree
with what John Cotter from AgForce recently stated when he said—
At this time of global economic crisis, building the economy should be at the forefront of every government policy decision now
and in the future rather than locking up land for dubious and unsubstantiated environmental gain. Growing the state economy and
supporting the performance of business is required at this time, not slashing it and hindering businesses from generating income
and jobs for the entire state.
They are good, solid words. I compliment John Cotter for that description.
        This decision by Premier Bligh and Minister Robertson is a purely political decision with
absolutely no scientific basis. They should both be ashamed of themselves for using the people of rural
and regional Queensland as political tools in their re-election campaign. We have heard Minister
Robertson claim that this does not stop development. I say to the minister that he should go west and
talk to people who have had contracts on their properties cancelled in the last two weeks. They had their
future decided. They were going to sell their property and move on to another property. They cannot buy
the other property. They now cannot sell that property. No, that is not stopping development! Who knows
what will happen to property values.
        Members need to understand regrowth in brigalow country. If you do not get rid of the regrowth, it
completely takes over the country. I have seen country where there is no grass whatsoever because of
the regrowth. That is why the regrowth has to be cleared, because it just takes over the country and you
cannot produce a thing from it. The country is rendered useless. That is exactly what happens. Goannas
can barely live in it.
        Mr Robertson: You need to manage it.
        Mr HOPPER: That is what we are talking about. You are stopping people from managing it. You
are taking away their rights.
        We have heard about the deal with the Labor Party and the Greens. This was a deal so they
could win 10 seats and hold government. The deal was that the Labor Party would lock up a million
hectares if the Greens would give them their preferences at the upcoming election. That is what this
legislation is about. We heard our leader rightly say this morning, in taking on the Premier straight after
question time, that there are more important issues. We heard our deputy leader, the member for
Southern Downs, ask why the government is not introducing bikie laws today. There are more important
issues such as the economy. But, no, the first piece of legislation to be introduced into this House in the
53rd Parliament is a deal to appease the Greens.
        All honourable members opposite should hang their heads in shame. They will no doubt vote
tonight to please the Greens, to stitch up a deal that was done before the election. If you read Country
Life you will have picked up on what Senator Barnaby Joyce was talking about. Senatory Barnaby Joyce
has always talked about the right to own. We heard our deputy leader speak about the right to own.
Many Australians dream about the right to own. When you take something away that someone owns
without compensation, that is theft. That is the basis of communism. That is how the communists live.
The basis of communism is to take away the free rights of people.
        That is exactly what this legislation is doing to our wonderful food-producing, hardworking, hard-
living Queenslanders today. Their rights are being taken away. This is about food security in
Queensland. As I said before, we have to double what we produce now. How can we possibly do it?
Have a look at the Burdekin electorate. Have a look at the Hinchinbrook electorate when this is finished.
Have a look at the impact that this legislation before the House today will have on those two electorates.
Over the eight years since I was first elected I could not tell you how many property owners have come
into my office with property maps that are wrong. What guarantee can the minister give us that the blue
areas on these maps will be correct? Later tonight members will hear a few examples of instances in
which these maps are totally incorrect. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition spoke of the planting of
pine trees that have been classed as regrowth.
        At this moment the only thing stopping Australia going into recession is our agricultural industry.
What are we seeing here? Another big attack on the agricultural industry. The Vegetation Management
Act came into place in 1999. Farmers were very upset about that legislation but they have turned their
lives around and have worked with it. Even our policy was not going to change the tree-clearing
provisions to a large extent. People had accepted that legislation after a lot of pain and a lot of hurt. The
minister assured them in 2004 that this was solid legislation. He said that once it was in place they
would be all right. What do we see now? Another piece of legislation which takes away people’s hope
and destroys lives.
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        Mr HOBBS (Warrego—LNP) (4.00 pm): I am pleased to speak in the debate on the Vegetation
Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill. I certainly endorse what the shadow minister and the
Leader of the LNP have said. There is no doubt that this is just a dirty, filthy, grubby little deal that was
done by the Labor Party to gain preferences at the last election. Everybody knows that so there is no
point in the government denying it.
        I think the situation is worse than that. We heard the Premier and the member for Toowoomba
North try to make out that there is division within the LNP. Obviously when the government made up its
mind to do this it decided to play some political games. It is not only playing political games but playing
games with people’s lives and people’s livelihoods. That is what it does not understand.
        The Greens candidate for Indooroopilly made it quite clear that he wanted controls over regrowth.
He was not going to give preferences to the Labor Party unless it made that commitment. It did make
that commitment so it got some preferences. Some members on the other side are in this place because
of those preferences. The deal worked for those opposite. But, at the end of the day, someone has to
pay. The landholders are the ones who will pay. The government is disadvantaging one sector to
advantage another.
        Those opposite think there is some division on this side of the House. We have a very strong view
indeed on this issue. We have a strong property right philosophy. If someone owns something then they
should be able to keep it and if somebody wants to to take it away from them then they should pay for it.
It is a very simply philosophy. If the community wants a private asset for community purposes then the
community must pay. It is as simple as that. If those opposite want to take away a person’s backyard,
not let them use part of their house or whatever the case may be then they will be upset. It is exactly the
same thing whether we are talking about a house block or a farm.
        People on the land have in many instances spent hundreds of thousands of dollars clearing their
land. The plan has been in place for a long time with the sanction and support of this Labor government.
They spent money doing this because they knew in the long term they would be able to recoup that
money via a future development. The government has stopped that. How fair is that? People have spent
an enormous amount of money doing something that they had government support for and now the
government is saying that they cannot do it and there is no compensation.
        We can understand the anger. The member for Callide this morning tried to pass on to members
opposite the anger that people out there have expressed. They should not take it lightly. It is a very
serious situation. All the member did was pass on the strong message that we had expressed to us that
people are very angry with the government.
        I would like to read a letter that was sent to me. We have had so many calls to my office about this
matter that it is hard to get back to everyone. One lady wrote to me saying—
When Parliament resumes next week, I want, along with many others, that the LNP makes it very clear to Stephen Robertson who
has said and I quote ‘the move will have no impact on rural production’ that this is not the case.
I am only a small operator with 4,046 hectares and have continued to employ one person throughout the drought by doing contract
fencing etc however with approx 40% of my property covered by the moratorium (all would be box and sandlewood nothing exotic)
I will be forced to put off this one person and the 7 family members I am providing accommodation and electricity for. I will also sell
my remaining cattle and close the place up. There will be no point trying to improve the property further as it will have no value and
I will just have to spend the rest of my life here as it will be impossible to sell.
If of course the Government would like to buy it as a haven for Dingos etc, I am more than happy to listen to an offer!
She described her regrowth as mongrel sandlewood and box regrowth. It is not significant; it is not
exotic.
        Mr Johnson: The rabbits will not even live there.
        Mr HOBBS: Even the rabbits are heading out of town. What the government is doing does not
make sense. It is not logical. There is no science involved with it. It is quite clear that this is purely a
dirty, grubby little political deal that has been done.
        Mrs Neill will not get the full potential from her land. The government is reducing people’s food
and fodder production. There are many other people around this state who will not be able to produce
anywhere near their maximum capacity. It has ruined their planning. People have been told to plan. We
tell local governments to plan; we tell state governments to plan. We want people to plan ahead. They
did the planning and the government has changed the rules. It has pulled the rug out from under them.
It is going to cost them money. It is unfair.
        Those opposite talk about stopping run-off into the Great Barrier Reef. They are blaming the
canefarmers for polluting the Barrier Reef. They say that they want to keep native vegetation within 50
metres of all watercourses. In many of the bigger rivers we do need trees. What holds the water, the
siltation and the sediment up better is grass. In the tropics and the north—and the member for
Hinchinbrook will be able to talk about this—they use pondage where the water is encouraged to flow
across the flood plain areas and it filters through grass so that the sediment drops out before it flows on
to the Barrier Reef.
        Mr O’Brien: Where is your science on that?
200                    Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                    23 Apr 2009

        Mr HOBBS: It has been done up there. The science is there. If you want to have a look then go to
the department’s website—
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Ryan): Order! I ask the honourable member to direct his comments
through the chair.
        Mr HOBBS: I will. I ask the honourable member to go to the department’s website and he will find
that millions of dollars has been poured into programs like this. They work. I have seen them. There is
the science and it works. Having trees in those areas will cause more erosion in many instances. There
needs to be a mix of trees and grass. Then the banks will hold up. That is way it is done in those areas.
        This land has been cleared before. You are talking about the emotive term ‘endangered
regrowth’. For God’s sake, this land has been cleared sometimes three or four times. Some of the
country you are locking up could have been cleared way back in the thirties. The ringbarkers were
probably out there at those times. It may have been cleared again after that. You are locking it up. An
enormous amount of money has already been spent to try to make this land productive. One of things
you need to understand is that—
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I remind the member about the use of the word ‘you’. Could you
please direct your comments through the chair.
        Mr HOBBS: Absolutely. I will not say it again. I am trying not to, but it is hard because we are so
used to it. It rolls off the tongue so easily, Mr Deputy Speaker. At the end of the day, it is very important
that the government understands that what it is doing is not going to work. If we want it to grow, all we
have to do is lock it up and wait. It will grow all right, but it grows so thick that nothing else grows. In fact,
there is degradation because the trees are too thick. It was only a few years ago that Bill Burrows did the
science which this government took to cabinet and hid—we have since got a document that can prove
all of this—but the reality is that there is more standing woodland in Queensland today than at the time
of white settlement. That was what he discovered a few years ago. What has happened is that it has
moved—that is, in some places it has been cleared and in other places it has got thicker. Where the
country has been cleared or burnt, the suckers and the trees are thicker than before. As they grow so
thick, nothing else grows. The grass does not grow and it ends up as a dense mass of trees where
hardly any birds live and the kangaroos do not go because there is not much grass. It ends up as a
wasteland. It is not being improved; it is making it worse.
        At the time Premier Beattie and Prime Minister John Howard were taken to look at examples
around the Mitchell area in my electorate. They were shown examples where country had been cleared
only a few years ago that is now very thick with timber. They showed them locked up stock routes that
had never been cleared and they were, generally speaking, fairly open. Australia in the very early days
was like savannah land in that it was quite open, but since white development and locking up the land
with fences and no burning there is an increase in regrowth. It has made the land different.
        By locking up this regrowth the government does not even allow silverculture, which is a well-
known scientific basis for managing forest areas. The government is not even allowing that. The reality
is that before white man came Aboriginals used to burn the land and of course there were lightening
strikes and, as a result, the country would burn from one end to the other. It was done that way naturally.
Today the same thing can be done with machines and producers do not even have to go over the
boundary fence. It is like pine forests where forestry officers go out and thin the trees so that the other
trees can grow better because there is more room for them to move and they can get more light.
        Mr O’Brien: Oh, now we got you! It’s all making sense now!
        Mr HOBBS: You are something—it! Mr Deputy Speaker, it is something! It is something indeed.
That is the reality. So what the honourable member for Cook is saying is that all of the forestry plantation
work that is being done is wrong. I submit that what the forestry plantation experts do is in fact correct—
that is, if they go out and thin the country, you will get better trees. Then again, I suppose the trees
between the ears over there are a little bit thick, so I guess it does not make a difference what you do or
say. Silverculture is pretty important and it should be considered. With regard to consultation, the
government wonders why there is no trust out there. It is no wonder there is no trust, because every
time landholders work their way through vegetation management and they get to the end you change
the rules again. There is just no trust at all, and that is not surprising.
        Many property management plans were lodged from 26 March—nearly 400 I believe. It is only fair
that they should be processed in the normal way. The rules did not come in until the announcement. We
disagree with the announcement at the end of the day—you are doing it—but at least those 400 should
be considered in the normal light in terms of their application. It is also interesting to note that you do not
allow any means of appeal. Where are all of the civil libertarians here? There is nothing in this legislation
that allows for appeal. Every time in the past when you happen to lose a court case with regard to
vegetation management—and you have lost plenty—you rush into the House with amendments and
change the rules. I use the example of Ashley McKay. He went to court five times. It cost him hundreds
and hundreds of thousands of dollars and it cost the government a million dollars-plus to fight him—a
single landholder. It wanted to stamp on him, but he won in the end because he was right, and he should
23 Apr 2009                Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                           201

have been right, and there have been many other cases. So what you have done here is that you have
said that you cannot even go to the Supreme Court for heaven’s sake. Is that fair? If members in your
electorates, whether they live in Inala, Springwood or any of those seats—
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Ryan): Order! Sorry to remind you again, but would the honourable
member direct his comments through the chair.
        Mr HOBBS: For sure, Mr Deputy Speaker. I ask members to consider how their constituents
would feel if in fact they had to put up with what is being asked of landholders. It is certainly my view that
the government has done the wrong thing. It continues to do that. I just hope that there is some common
sense at the end of the day. People are very angry out there, and I want to reiterate just how angry they
are. If the government continues on this line, there will be some very serious consequences.
        Mr JOHNSON (Gregory—LNP) (4.16 pm): At the outset I want to congratulate you, Mr Deputy
Speaker Ryan, on your election and congratulations on your elevation to this position. When I came
here in 1989 I had the opportunity to serve as a temporary chairman. I found it very rewarding, and I
trust you will too.
        The Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009 that we are debating this
afternoon is one of the most offensive pieces of legislation that I have seen introduced into this
parliament in my time here. It is a piece of legislation that is about shutting down the productive sector of
the pastoral areas of this great state. The Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill
is a meal ticket which enabled the Labor Party to win the last election. That is exactly and precisely what
it is about. This legislation is the Labor Party’s food cheque at the expense of the real food producers of
this great state.
        A few years ago some tourists from Sydney on a tour through Western Queensland rang the John
Laws program and said that all of this cleared land is absolutely disgraceful—that is, they were talking
about the open, rolling Mitchell grass downs country of Central Queensland that is in its natural state,
natural habitat and natural environment. Those people had no comprehension at all of what this country
is about. But what we are talking about today is a totally different situation. Today we are talking about
the rights of farmers, graziers and pastoralists who were given the opportunity by this government in
2004 to get it right, and I believe they did get it right. Many procedures were put in place that governed
their operations. In terms of clearing remnant vegetation, I believe they did that very well. My electorate
of Gregory is the one part of Queensland that is affected more than any of the other 89 electorates in
this state.
        I heard the contribution earlier today by the honourable member for Callide. He is somebody who
has a sound grasp and a sound understanding of vegetation management legislation and also has a
great understanding of what rural productivity is all about and the importance of rural productivity. The
most important factor is the future ongoing viability of our farmers in general. In his summing-up the
minister might like to tell us about the employment losses that we are going to witness in rural and
regional Queensland because of the displaced farmers and job losses in the trucking industry, transport,
earthmoving, harvesting contractors, machinery sales and the retail sector. All of these jobs will be
affected.
        The one thing we have to remember is that the agricultural industry is worth $3.9 billion to this
state. We see $3.2 billion in royalties from the coalmining industry in Central Queensland coming back
here into the south-east corner. The government is giving the mining companies the right of way. I do not
have a problem with mining companies, or anybody else. But I have a problem when one organisation,
or one industry, is favoured over another. That is exactly and precisely what we are seeing here.
        I refer to the minister’s second reading speech in which he stated—
Landholders can continue to clear regrowth vegetation in the moratorium area for most property management activities that are
already exempt under the Integrated Planning Act. These exemptions include burning off vegetation to reduce fire hazard;
clearing for firebreaks and fire management lines; clearing to protect life and property in a bushfire situation; clearing for mining
and transport infrastructure; clearing for a native forest practice; clearing for urban purposes in an urban area; and clearing
necessary under an existing development approval.
       Just last week I visited a very beautiful farming operation in my electorate between Rolleston and
Springsure, in the prime agricultural belt of Queensland. It is just up the road from the electorate of my
colleague the honourable member for Callide, which has the same sort of country. They do not make it
anymore. With the expansion of mining operations, over time we will see that virgin country become a
coalmine or a disused property and the productivity of that iconic farming land will be rendered useless.
We have witnessed the same thing occur in the south-east corner down at the Redlands. Many people
probably visited the Redlands many years ago and saw firsthand the beautiful vegetable-growing areas
in the Redlands area—all of those small crops and the productivity that came out of that area.
       There has been poor planning by former state governments. Both sides of politics are responsible
here. They got it horribly wrong. That is what we are trying to correct today. We have to make certain
that we get this right so that we do not shut down more producers. In that Redlands area, we have
houses on prime agricultural land. I have to say that they do not make that sort of country anymore. In
Europe, people do not build houses on land like that. It is sacrosanct. It is protected. That is exactly what
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is happening to those people in Queensland who fall within this moratorium of vegetation management.
Where do they go to from here? I have to say that these people are the best farmers in the world. They
are the best food producers. They are the best producers of quality food in the world. They are also the
best protectors of the environment in the world.
       A few years ago when the government started to hatch some of this legislation, it put in place
legislation to shut down some of these operations. And so it should have, because there was a cowboy
element out there that certainly needed correction and redirection. But I have to say that today our
farmers are responsible operators. They are farming in a very responsible way. They are making
absolutely certain there is no question of land degradation. There is no raping of the land in question. It
is not about pulling timber on watercourses or pulling virgin scrub that is not going to be productive. It is
about that good, blacksoil plain country that will grow crops, that will fatten cattle, that will give us
something with which to sustain our future generations.
       A former Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fischer, said that we can produce enough food in this
country to support a population of 90 million people. But if this government has its way and continues
trying to shut down some of these enterprises through this type of legislation, I have to say that we will
not have enough food in this country to support a population of 9,000 people, let alone 90 million
people.
       We have to get some sanity back into this debate. Time and time again, we have seen the
implementation of this type of knee-jerk policy. Back on 15 March, in the midst of an election campaign,
the honourable the Premier announced that we were going to have this three-month moratorium on
vegetation management. I thought, ‘Here we go again.’ I know there are people out there who have
machinery that they use to work the land. They are contractors. A lot of farmers do not have that
machinery. They get in contractors to till their country, take the crops off, or whatever.
       This morning I said in an interjection across the chamber to the honourable minister that I would
love to take him for a drive around my electorate, especially that Central Highlands region, so that he
could see firsthand some of the magnificent crops that are growing in cleared Brigalow Belt country.
Some of the best corn crops I have ever seen are growing along some of those deltas and on some of
that farming land. When you come across from the coal area of Tieri north of Blackwater, you will see
corn crops that you could not even imagine have ever existed anywhere else. In the Emerald region
there are some farmers doing a great job with irrigated crops. Those people have vision. I have to say
that some of those farmers are the best farmers in the world. They forward contract their product
through to Woolworths and other companies such as that. I would not know how much of their product
stays in this country. I bet they export it or send it somewhere to get the best price.
       It is absolutely paramount that we recognise the possible fallout of this legislation. I plead with the
minister and I plead with the Premier to show some leadership and some sanity in this debate and to
make certain that this insane moratorium is not going to go on for longer than three months and further
cripple an industry that is one of the most productive and viable in the world. Many, many years ago
Abraham Lincoln, a former President of the United States, said that when we see the grass grow in the
streets of our cities, only then will we realise that we need a productive farming sector to reverse that
trend. I have to say that truer words were never said. That situation will creep into our environment if we
do not manage the process now.
       We have a lot of young people in this place now as a result of the recent election. A lot of them
have young families. Those kids are the future leaders of this state. They are the mums and dads of
tomorrow. They are the leaders of tomorrow. They are the custodians of this country tomorrow. It is
absolutely paramount that we give them a purpose as they progress through the 21st century, and that
includes a viable, productive farming sector with responsible management strategies that can allow us
to continue to be the best farmers in the world.
       Today I call on the banks and the financial institutions to lobby the government to make absolutely
certain that we see sanity prevail in this debate and the outcome of this three-month moratorium. The
shadow minister, the honourable member for Callide, illustrated to the parliament the outrage that is
being felt in rural Queensland. I have to say that I concur with what he said, and I do not say that lightly.
On the Tuesday after Easter I was at a public meeting in Clermont. There were probably about 400
people—I do not know, I did not count them; I did not hear the figures. The BA Hall at Clermont was
packed. There were young people there, there were middle-aged people there, there were families
there. The one thing they had in common was that they were all very successful farmers. They were
good grain producers, good cattle producers, good managers and good citizens. They were people who
have given this state a purpose and, like generations before them over the past 150 years, they have
taken this state forward.
       I ask the minister not to discount those people who were at Clermont last week—not for one half
of one minute. In my 19 and a bit years in the place, I have never witnessed anything like the anger that
I saw there. It was at boiling point. I can assure the minister that it is not going to finish there. We
thought we saw anger over the forced amalgamation of local authorities. I can assure the members
opposite that they have seen nothing yet. I urge the minister—and I do not say it lightly—to
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communicate with these people and negotiate with them, whether they are AgForce representatives or
Property Rights Australia representatives who were also at that meeting. They are very responsible
people. Many other agribusiness groups and people with various business interests throughout the state
are going to be grossly affected.
        This piece of legislation cannot be taken lightly. If we take it with a grain of salt it is going to be
detrimental to the ongoing viability of this great state. There are probably many people who have
connections in rural and regional Queensland. I urge them to talk to some of their friends in rural and
regional Queensland and see the heartache and angst that they are going through. At Clermont last
week I saw young mothers with infant children and if you saw the strain on their faces it would nearly
make you cry tears of blood. Those people are anxious about the future viability of their farming and
grazing operations.
        Some of these people have massive debts. They have massive debts because they have gone
out there, thinking they had the backing of government without further interference in their grazing
operations or their farming operations, and borrowed tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to put in
place some of the best farming practices with quality product that we could find anywhere in the world.
We are so proud of what our farmers achieve in this country. I can assure members that our cattle
industry is probably the best in the world. Thirty years ago when I was a young fellow at Quilpie—when
my colleague the member for Callide was a ringer up in the Territory—cattle were pretty inferior in some
of that country then. But I have to say that we now have a quality herd in this state because we have
quality farmers who have invested quality dollars in making that happen.
        But if we are going to see interference from government and a shutdown mentality in relation to
these farming operations—if we are not going to let them clear that remnant vegetation—we are going
to see a situation where the land will return to virgin brigalow scrub. I have heard on many occasions
that if you clear the mulga lands in the south-west the mulga will not grow back. I cut my teeth in that
country at Quilpie. I have knocked down probably as many mulga trees as anybody else. My neighbour
in 1965, during the great 1965 drought, cleared one whole paddock of mulga at his place at Quilpie. I
can take you back there today, Mr Deputy Speaker, and show you that the mulga is 30-feet high and as
thick as it ever grew before the 1965 drought.
        We have a situation in this state that is close to boiling over. There is only one person who can
take control of this agenda, and that is the honourable the Premier herself. I urge the Premier to show
leadership at this time and directly consult with those farming groups, industry groups, financial
institutions and all of those people out there who are going to be grossly affected by this moratorium on
regrowth clearing. I trust that the minister who is responsible for this legislation, the Hon. Stephen
Robertson, is hearing what I am saying. This is not just something that is off the cuff from me and will go
away tonight. It will not go away. The real issue here is the future of our farming and grazing industries in
Queensland. There are too many people affected and there will be too many people hurt.
        In closing, for every bullock that comes out of that country that is processed through a meatworks
at Mackay, Rockhampton, Dinmore, Beenleigh or wherever, three jobs per day are created. Each beast
creates three jobs a day. On top of those jobs is the value adding of transport—of rail employees, of port
employees. It just snowballs. The rolling effect of the growth in productivity that comes as a result of
rural industries is something that I do not think a lot of people comprehend. This is a very complex
industry. It is an industry that is at the forefront of best practice in the world. It is at the forefront of best
practice in the world because we have the best farmers who have been allowed to look after their land,
manage their land and respect their land the way that we would expect them to.
        Today I say to the minister, to the Premier, to this government and to the members of the
government on the other side of the House: please respect and understand what these people are going
through, because I can tell you that it is about one minute to midnight and it is not going to come sun-up
tomorrow morning if you keep going down this track. When it comes sun-up tomorrow morning, if you
continue on this channel you are going to find yourselves in a situation of confrontation, and that is
confrontation that I do not want to see and I do not think anyone else does, either.
        What we are about in this state, I believe, is having the best for everybody, whether it is the best
agricultural sector, the best manufacturing sector or the best mining sector. Here we are now on the
bones of our backside because of an international recession that is impacting on this state and this
country. Isn’t it high time that we pulled together in every area—and when I say ‘every area’ I mean
every area right across the state? Regardless of political affiliations, what we should be doing is making
certain that everybody out there in a viable business operation retains that viability. We need to sustain
those industries and create more jobs rather than shut jobs down.
        Ms NELSON-CARR (Mundingburra—ALP) (4.35 pm): In rising to participate in the debate on the
Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009, I would like to address the
Statewide Landcover and Trees Study, or SLATS, report for 2006-07 and its role in the regrowth clearing
moratorium.
        The Department of Environment and Resource Management uses annual SLATS data to monitor
the clearing and measure the effect of the vegetation management laws in Queensland. This report
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shows the annual woody vegetation clearing rates and the overall cover of woody vegetation across
Queensland. This includes information on the amount of clearing in both remnant and regrowth
vegetation. The data also allows the department to determine what has been lawfully cleared, under
permit or by exemption, and areas suspected to be unlawfully cleared.
        The Statewide Landcover and Trees Study has reported and analysed annual clearing rates since
1988, providing a history of clearing rates from spring to spring of each year. Queensland government
scientists undertake a rigorous process to calculate woody vegetation tree-clearing rates, which
involves complex satellite image analysis and extensive field investigation across the state to verify the
results.
        The 2006-07 report revealed that there had been a significant decrease of 37 per cent, or some
140,000 hectares, in clearing in 2006-07 compared to 2005-06. However, the report showed that a
concerning rate of 235,000 hectares had been cleared. Whilst 129,000 hectares related to final
broadscale clearing permits for remnant vegetation being activated, some 106,000 hectares of regrowth
had been cleared.
        Clearing in the sensitive Great Barrier Reef catchments was also high—some 69,000 hectares a
year, which amounts to approximately 30 per cent of Queensland’s land-clearing rate. The clearing of
endangered regrowth vegetation, that vegetation most affected by past clearing practices, and
vegetation along riparian areas, which can prevent pesticide and sediment run-off to the reef, is also of
particular concern.
        When the 2006-07 SLATS report was released on 18 February this year, the Premier expressed
concerns at the rate of regrowth clearing and committed the government to consult with farmers,
scientists and conservationists about making the law more effective. On 15 March, the Premier made an
election commitment for a three-month moratorium on clearing of endangered regrowth vegetation.
Premier Bligh also stated that the moratorium would focus on landscapes that badly need trees to
perform their natural functions and that consultation would be undertaken with key stakeholder groups
on the best way to achieve this.
        To meet this commitment by the government, the moratorium proposed by this bill is intended to
prevent the clearing of endangered regrowth vegetation in rural areas and to prevent the clearing of all
native vegetation within 50 metres of a watercourse in the priority reef catchments of Mackay-
Whitsunday, Burdekin and Wet Tropics that is not already protected. To map the areas affected by the
moratorium, the department has used rigorous scientific methodology, measuring the density of the
foliage cover to identify vegetation that equates to the nationally accepted standard for forests used in
both the Australian National Forest Inventory and the National Carbon Accounting System.
        Mr Messenger: Was that using satellite images?
        Ms NELSON-CARR: This is the vegetation of an age and composition most likely to recover to
remnant status if not cleared. A certified moratorium map which depicts the affected areas is available
on the department’s web site. I did not hear the member’s question but maybe he could go to that web
site. As I stated before, this bill also protects all native vegetation within 50 metres of a watercourse in
the priority reef catchments of the Mackay Whitsunday, Burdekin and Wet Tropics.
        Riparian vegetation along watercourses is important for the health of the watercourses and also
downstream for valuable environmental assets such as the Great Barrier Reef, which is obviously an
important reef system not only for Queensland but also for the entire world. The Reef Water Quality
Protection Plan aims to protect the Great Barrier Reef from the discharge of dangerous pesticides and
fertilisers. The protection of vegetation in riparian areas in the highest priority catchments that flow into
the reef is an important contribution to that aim.
        In north Queensland we are acutely aware of the fragility of the Great Barrier Reef and are
mindful of its importance to our economy and our lifestyle. My constituents are deeply concerned about
the welfare of the reef and they will be very pleased that this government is taking real action to maintain
it. A certified map has also been prepared by the department which identifies those watercourses in reef
catchments affected by the moratorium and is accessible from the department’s web site. I commend
the bill to the House.
        Mr WETTENHALL (Barron River—ALP) (4.40 pm): I rise to participate in the debate on the
Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009. I support this bill and wish to briefly
touch on a couple of issues. The member for Mundingburra has mentioned the importance of the Great
Barrier Reef not only to locals and their lifestyle but also to employment, with the Great Barrier Reef
being the single biggest attractor for tourism to Queensland and important particularly to North
Queensland and tropical North Queensland. Millions of visitors come to Queensland every year
specifically to go to the Great Barrier Reef.
        What the scientists have told us over and over again with emerging consensus is that pollution
run-off from damaging farm practices is damaging our reef. We must take urgent action to protect our
greatest natural asset and our biggest tourism drawcard. Like all important debates, this is a debate
about balancing rights and applying what I believe we must apply which is a precautionary approach.
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        Mr Malone interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Mirani. That is the third time.
        Mr WETTENHALL: That is why the protection of riparian vegetation achieved through the
moratorium in this legislation is so important. Last year I was invited by Terrain NRM based in Innisfail in
North Queensland, whose work I highly respect and commend to all members to examine, to participate
in an aerial survey of some of the reef catchments in the Wet Tropics. The member for Hinchinbrook
was also a participant in that aerial survey. What it demonstrated, without question and very, very
graphically, was the damage that had been done by clearing riparian vegetation right up to the very
banks of our streams and rivers which flow into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. Many of them are in a
very, very poor state. We must protect the riparian vegetation that remains. This moratorium will achieve
that. It will achieve that in a fair and equitable way because it provides for a period of consultation with
all relevant stakeholders, including farmers, so that we can achieve the best possible outcome through
the best possible methods of reducing the run-off of land based pollutants into the Great Barrier Reef.
        Why is this so important? It is important for our lifestyle; it is important for our economy; it is
important for the intrinsic value of the world heritage area in our reef and Wet Tropics. What do the
scientists also tell us? They tell us that our Great Barrier Reef is susceptible to the effects of climate
change. Whilst it may be many, many years before the various proposed schemes are in place,
including the proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme which will reduce the greenhouse gases
being emitted into the atmosphere, we do know that there are things that we can do now to improve the
resilience of the Great Barrier Reef to the effects of climate change. First among those is to reduce the
pollutants that are running off into our reef and that is one of the key objectives of this legislation.
        No landholder, whether it be a landholder owning their asset in freehold or leasehold, has
absolute rights to do as they please. In the course of this debate there have been some very
intemperate remarks and observations made. Of course there is concern in affected
communities amongst affected landholders about this legislation. All of us realise and acknowledge that.
That is why, during the course of the moratorium, a concerted effort will be made to consult with them to
settle upon a fair, equitable and effective way of implementing these important reforms.
        Like all alterations to rights and responsibilities, it is to be expected that this will demonstrate
robust debate, in particular in this House. Some of the more intemperate remarks have been very, very
unhelpful. What we all need to do in this place is to recognise the threats imposed by climate change,
work towards achieving solutions that help all Queenslanders by helping farmers adapt their farming
practices in consequence of the climate change that we know is happening and to protect our priceless
assets that generate so much economic activity and prosperity in our state through the tourism industry.
        This legislation is about balancing rights. It is timely. It is not, as has been suggested, the product
of grubby deals. It is a serious attempt to come to terms with some major threats to our environment and
to our biodiversity. I fully support it and commend the bill to the House.
        Mr KNUTH (Dalrymple—LNP) (4.47 pm): I could not say that speaking to the Vegetation
Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) gives me pleasure, but it does give me great pleasure to
vehemently and passionately oppose this bill. I feel that it is draconian and takes away our rights and
freedoms. I bought my 240-acre property when I was working for Queensland Rail. I can recall selling
my HJ45 LandCruiser to purchase the block. I am still paying it off. It was brought to my attention in
1988 as we purchased that block that it was a freehold block. We paid the extra price for the rights to
manage that property. One of the things that inspires me to run for parliament is bad governments. It
was said at the time that I bought my property that buying a freehold property would protect me from bad
governments.
        I used to go fishing at Ross Creek and catch mangrove jacks. Then the Goss government came
along and told me I could not catch fish in that river because it had banned fishing in parks. In Charters
Towers we have beautiful Leichhardt trees. Flying foxes have been living in those trees for seven years
and they are ruining them. The reason Wayne Goss wanted to kick me out of fishing in Ross Creek, the
reason they took those rights from the land, the reason those opposite will not do something about those
flying foxes, is to appease a non-productive minority group that has contributed nothing to this state or to
this country.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hoolihan): I ask the member for Charters Towers to return to the
terms of the bill.
        Mr KNUTH: Absolutely nothing. This is not about the environment; this is about appeasing a non-
productive minority group. That is what this is about. Prior to this election, the Greens released a
statement saying that in 2006-07 there was almost a quarter of a million hectares of land cleared in
Queensland, including 105,000 hectares of regrowth vegetation. The World Wide Fund For Nature
called on the Premier to cease land clearing altogether prior to this election. Keen to get them onside,
this anti-rural government promised a three-month moratorium on the clearing of regrowth vegetation
based on nothing—no science, nothing to do with the environment, but a desperate measure to win
Green preference votes so they could retain government at all costs.
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       One quarter of a million hectares sounds like a massive amount, but in reality it equates to only
0.1 per cent of the total land area in Queensland. This government did not stop to do the maths before
jumping on the land-clearing bandwagon, pushed by the extreme environmentalists. Of the total land
area in Queensland, 83 per cent is used for agriculture. If the entire quarter million hectares were
cleared for agricultural purposes, which we know is farcical, then less than two per cent of all agricultural
land was cleared in 2006-07. What the government also forgot to mention was that this is 37 per cent
less than in the previous period.
       Our primary producers are not environmental vandals. Their sustainability depends on their ability
to manage their land effectively. According to the government’s own publications from the Department of
Primary Industries in 2006-07, Queensland’s primary industries exports were valued at $6.9 billion, or
more than a quarter of total exports. It is the second largest exporter behind mining. In May 2008, there
were 101,000 people employed in these industries. In 2008-09, the total value of Queensland’s primary
industry commodities is forecast at $13.137 billion.
       According to the government’s own website, the moratorium will assist the government to work
through how riparian vegetation can support its commitments to improve the water quality of the Great
Barrier Reef. So we risk potential economic losses to determine if there are any environmental benefits.
I have heard the member for Barron River rave about the Great Barrier Reef and protecting the Great
Barrier Reef. I have been out on the Great Barrier Reef, I have fished the Great Barrier Reef and I have
also snorkelled on the Great Barrier Reef. When I jumped in the water to snorkel on one particular area
of the Great Barrier Reef, I saw an abundance of coral trout, Maori wrasse and parrotfish. For some
reason or other, there is this perception that the landowners are pumping the rivers dry and destroying
the Great Barrier Reef, but I do not know where you are getting this myth from. Why don’t you go out to
the Great Barrier Reef—
       Mr Wettenhall: It is the science. Listen to what the scientists are saying.
       Mr KNUTH: The science? Well, the Australian Institute of Marine Science states that this run-off
does not affect the Great Barrier Reef at all, so I do not where you are getting this science from.
       If there are no determined environmental benefits, is the government prepared to foot the bill for
the loss of income and increased costs to clear? One of my constituents asked me to read out some
information that applies to him, and I feel sorry for him. This is about whether the government will cover
his costs. He wrote—
My name is Owen Wharton, 3rd generation, Wharton Road.

                                                                   ...
In reference to regrowth clearing, we have a small business, which pays a good amount of tax and is not a bad business which
consists of
one late model Komatsu ...
one td 15 series c late model
one Mitsubishi canter ...
one Cat 910 loader.
Our business is clearing and discing, the area we clear is just rubbish, just a fire hazard, that is difficult to contain. We cannot clear
this rubbish, approx after Christmas, as the water runs off, to the streams, so we usually start work around April/May.
With this regrowth moratorium we will not have any work, as we go in and clean up the farms, plough, grass, a lot of our customers
don’t like spraying, that is why they employed us, we have implemented our own environmental management policy which we
have been commended for, and also have our OH&S policy, which it has cost a lot of money to set up, if we do not start work with
the machines, by the end of April, we will not have the money to meet the payments,
the Komatsu $4700 per month
the International $1245 per month
the job truck $767 per month
hyd plough $6000 left on the loan
Plus their house payment is $1,860 a month. I ask: who is going to pay for this while this person goes
bankrupt? Who is going to compensate this person if he does go bankrupt? This is the thing. Labor
members cannot seem to comprehend this because they do not look at the end product. When a farmer
ploughs a field and Labor members see a bulldozer knocking over trees, that is their perception. You
look at this and think it is absolutely outrageous, but this is the message I am trying to get across to you.
You must listen to what I am saying—
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Would the member for Charters Towers please refrain from using ‘you’,
and would he also direct his comments through the Speaker?
       Mr KNUTH: Sorry, Mr Deputy Speaker. Do you understand about the end product? If a farmer
knocks over a tree, that is not the end product. He ploughs a field, sows the seed and produces a good
crop. In the end, we see the good sorghum, the good legumes and the fat cattle from which you end up
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                         207

eating a steak. That is the end product but that is something you cannot comprehend. This is what these
primary producers are trying to achieve—
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Charters Towers, would you please direct your comments
through the chair, not across the chamber.
        Mr KNUTH: There are concerns raised about revegetated areas becoming protected reserves for
feral animals, weeds and fire hazards if they are not managed. You only have to look at the sad and
sorry state of our national parks to see how successful the government is at managing its land. Our
parks are riddled with feral pigs, noxious weeds and dead trees. That is the result of the government’s
good management!
        The Wilderness Society released a report in 2005 comparing the cost per hectare of managing
the Cape York Peninsula parks and the Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. While Kakadu
attracts more than $10 per hectare, Queensland parks attract $1 per hectare. This is not about
protection. It seems that the government wants to lock up the country but it will not be financially
responsible for the management of it once it is locked up.
        Primary producers on the other hand manage the land and put in place strategies to avoid the
environmental problems, such as salinity, overgrazing and poor water quality—all at their own expense
and for the benefit of future generations and the future of the industry. Queensland has the best primary
producers in this country. They utilise industry-recognised best practice and scientifically proven
methods and they are constantly adopting new and improved approaches to manage the land they rely
on. They consider that this is imperative to protect the land they work. It adds value to the production
chain because it allows production to continue and income to be earned. I wanted to bring that
information to the attention of the House.
        Mr NICHOLLS (Clayfield—LNP) (4.58 pm): As indicated by the member for Callide, the shadow
minister, the opposition does not support the Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium)
Bill and the government’s latest endeavour to restrict and control regrowth vegetation on Queensland
properties. Here again we see the dead hand of the ALP socialist rising like some sort of Freddy
Krueger and A Nightmare on Elm Street. No matter how many times you stab it, no matter how many
times you bury it in the grave six feet under, it keeps rising up, trying to take control of your private
property and telling you, ‘The government knows best. You can’t manage your own land. We don’t trust
you. We’re not going to let you get away with it all. There’s a greater good for a greater number. Trust
us.’ Comrades, the commissars are back in town to control what you can do on your own land. Then
they come in here—
        Honourable members interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hoolihan): Order! The member for Clayfield is on his feet.
        Mr NICHOLLS: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Then the commissars and the apparatchiks from
the ‘Ministry for Food Production’ and the ‘Ministry of Land Control’ who learnt at the university of
Moscow come in here and apply the principles that they learn from their green fuzzy friends about
cutting deals and sending people out subterranean-like to spy on people as they go about business on
their land. The satellites come down and take photographs and tell you what you can and cannot do.
        Then they come in here and have the hide to lecture us about principles. Here are some of our
principles: regard for the rights and liberties of individuals, and the observation of private property
rights—the foundation of everything that makes Australia in so many ways what it is today, that is, a land
of opportunity and in Queensland a land of opportunity; and reward for thrift, reward for hard work and
reward for inventiveness and innovation. We have a principle not to act capriciously or vindictively—
certainly something not known to this ALP government. Other principles include proper policy put
together through a thoughtful process and proper and detailed consultation with those people likely to
be affected by that legislation when it is implemented; and proper compensation for private property
taken by the government. In fact, that is a principle that was enshrined by the Goss Labor government.
How we yearn for a government that at least had some principles—the Goss Labor government, which
said it would not take private property without paying proper compensation.
        They are not the principles of the ALP because this legislation flies in the face of all those
principles. In fact, one would search long and hard to find principles that would apply for the ALP. The
decision to rush through this legislation during the first week back at parliament is evidence of the
government’s contempt for the rights of landholders, rights played with by this government and its
fancies, and its deals with the Greens for the past 10 years. It shows that the principles adopted by
Labor is their effort to get re-elected. That is the only principle that matters to Labor—its desperation to
cut a deal with the Greens to get preferences to save its political hide.
        Mr Wettenhall interjected.
        Mr NICHOLLS: I take that interjection from the member for Barron River, because he ended up
second on the ticket and needed the Greens preferences to get re-elected. He is the one who has the
most direct benefit from it, so why is it not surprising that he lauds it as being a great deal? Of course it
208                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                  23 Apr 2009

was a great deal! It was a great deal for him; it saw him re-elected and promoted to a parliamentary
secretary. Of course he would be in favour of it. Talk about a direct benefit! It shows the principles that
Labor is prepared to adopt, and that is to say and do anything, to cut any deal in order to save its
political hide—nothing more and certainly nothing less.
        When they cut these deals, Labor do not put Queensland’s interests first; they put their own
interests first. We know this because they have form. They cut dirty deals like this all the time in order to
save their political hide. They did it with the Wolffdene Dam. They cut a deal with the Greens to get
preferences. They said, ‘We won’t build Wolffdene Dam. Give us your preferences and we’ll get over the
line.’ They do not like to be reminded of that deal because we then ran into a water supply crisis and
they had to spend $9 billion of taxpayers’ money in order to dig themselves out of the hole that they
were continually putting themselves in as a result of cutting these deals with the Greens to get
preferences. Labor have form when it comes to shabby political deals announced during election
campaigns. They will sell our regional and rural producers, both in the cities and in the country, down the
river as they do so.
        Mr Robertson interjected.
        Mr NICHOLLS: How is your four per cent MOU with the Public Sector Union going? Are you
going to be honouring that one? Under the latest whim of this government, a hastily made election
promise—and there was another one of those with the QPSU; they are happy with that—to try to pander
for the green votes, landholders will now be restricted for the next three months at least. I heard the
Premier earlier today say that it is only three months. In fact, there is a provision in the legislation that
allows you to extend it to six months. Given this government’s form on being able to get legislation
through and get it right—and on the vegetation management issue they have been unable to do that
steadily since 1999—we can expect an extension for another three months as people cannot work their
lands. As the member for Dalrymple and the member for Callide indicated, they will not leave their
lands.
        Mr Shine interjected.
        Mr NICHOLLS: I hear from members to my left that they are already expecting an extension of
three months so they can do proper consultation. Proper consultation would have involved talking to
people before making a hasty election promise to stop regrowth clearing in the middle of an election
campaign when you are increasingly desperate for votes. You consult before you make the decision.
You do not make the decision and then say, ‘We are going to consult with you, and by the way we have
made this decision anyway.’ Does anyone really think that this government is not going to press on full
steam ahead with almost a million hectares of land being locked away from productive growth
throughout Queensland as a result of this? Why would they go this far, take these steps, and push this
legislation through in one day if they did not have their hearts set on delivering on their promise to the
Greens? Of course they are going to do it. At the end of three months they will extend it because they
will say, ‘We want more and more consultation.’ I am willing to put money on that. I think the member for
Callide and I could have a good bet on that one. We will ring up Centrebet and see what they say about
that.
        Then they will have further time to contemplate their decision. Landowners will be unable to use
the land, whether for the purposes of grazing or farming. It will also mean that a number of ancillary
businesses will be hit hard, including those businesses that are employed and carry out the work to
clear regrowth. Those businesses operate out of the city. I know because I received a phone call only 10
days ago from someone who does it properly—who contours the land, who laser levels and brings it up
so that it is productive, valuable and worthwhile land, so that it does not run down into the creeks and
rivers and does not blow away in the wind. It actually improves the land in the same way that in Moreton
Bay you drop a wreck onto a barren piece of land so you get an artificial reef, so you get growth and you
get tourism. This is what they are doing when they are clearing up that land. They are making it
productive and effective, and they are improving the pasture and the land that they are working on.
        Coming on the heels of this government’s increasingly shaky declaration that creating jobs is in its
DNA—and we are already learning a little more about that—this legislation will put even more pressure
on an industry that is still going strong, that is still producing and that is taking up some of the slack as a
result of the downturn in our other export industries despite the current economic climate. This
government comes along and says, ‘You blokes are doing pretty well now. You producers, you farmers,
are now starting to show a reasonable return on some of these things after years of drought. After
having got over the first vegetation management bill, now guess what? We are going to take away that
certainty, we are going to rip into you again and we are going to make your job even harder again.’
        Speak to the member for Toowoomba South and he will tell you about the wheat being pulled in
off the Downs. Speak to the member for Lockyer and he will tell you that they are finally getting back on
their feet again. Here we have the Labor Party doing what it normally does—castigating, vilifying and
demonising the rural producers who do so much for our state. The government is making their lives
such a misery through this type of invasive and intrusive legislation. Indeed, that has been the history of
this legislation since it was introduced in 1999.
23 Apr 2009               Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                  209

       Landholders have been subjected to multiple amendments and restrictions to their rights by this
government, which continually got the legislation wrong. It would get the legislation wrong and then
come back and make amendments. It would give themselves Henry VIII powers in order to make maps
that correct maps that were incorrectly made in the past—
       Mr Robertson interjected.
       Mr Messenger interjected.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Member for Burnett! Will members please desist from
conversations across the chamber? The member for Clayfield has the call.
       Mr NICHOLLS: Thank you for your protection, Mr Deputy Speaker. Like the legislation we debate
today, the vegetation management bill when it was first introduced was rushed through parliament,
being introduced, debated and passed in just three days between 8 and 10 December 1999. In what has
become typical practice of Labor governments, a total of 11 bills were pushed through for debate in
three days. They must have had a bit of an agenda at that stage of proceedings, one would suggest, in
1999. It is easy to see what the principles of the Labor Party were and always have been, and that is a
minimum of observation, the minimum time for comment and the most rapacious ways of getting at
those people they think are agin them, and that particularly includes the rural sector and the agricultural
sector.
       At the time the then Premier said about the legislation—sometimes we hark back and think that
he might have been not a bad choice given some of the other choices we have had—
Queensland’s unique biodiversity and Queensland’s farmers deserved a positive outcome—and that’s what these new guidelines
will deliver.
The member for Keppel at that time, the previous Deputy Speaker’s predecessor, said—
This bill is anti-jobs, anti-regional development and anti-Queensland.
       We are hearing the same arguments now a decade on. The minister is again talking about the
protection of biodiversity and a positive outcome. We are still maintaining the antijobs, antiregional, anti-
Queensland nature of this legislation. That is a sentiment which holds true today.
       From the start the opposition has tried to warn this government of the impact the legislation will
have on regional Queensland and regional landowners. It is a fact that that first bill was reactionary
policy on the run based on neither science nor fact but again for election votes. Since that time there
have been a number of changes to the legislation. In September 2000 the legislation was back in
parliament, already having hit a roadblock, despite not having been proclaimed at that time. Unable to
come to an agreement with the Commonwealth government, which did stand up for the people over
funding and did insist upon proper compensation for affected landowners, the government was forced
to amend the legislation. That legislation was pushed through the House.
       In 2003 the saga for compensation still had not been resolved as the Commonwealth did what
Labor failed to do—insisting on ‘full, fair and proper consultation’ with landholders before finalising
details of the assistance project. The Commonwealth was to come up with $75 million and the state was
to come up with $75 million if that process had been followed.
       The state Labor government did not want to come up with a common-sense solution. It wanted to
press on with its own agenda. In 2004 the Labor Party then announced it would cover the full cost of the
compensation in order to push on with its agenda without having to consult with landowners. It
introduced a total ban on tree clearing by December 2006.
       In March 2004 the then minister introduced the legislation saying that the government would not
play political games with the livelihoods of our landholders. Yet here we are five years later placing them
in exactly the same position—playing political games with their livelihoods. The minister also stated that
one of the fundamental underpinnings of the legislation was that it would provide certainty for regrowth
management. Yet here again we have uncertainty.
       The legislation was amended in 2005 and again amended at the beginning of last year. In
February 2008 we were back here again. At that time it introduced some pretty reprehensible
retrospective provisions that imposed criminal liability on landholders under that legislation. Now we are
talking about a moratorium on the potential clearing of over a million hectares of regrowth vegetation.
       For regional Queenslanders the proposed amendments represent a further clawback of
Queensland’s food and fibre production areas as the government ignores science, fact and the
wellbeing of a major industry in favour of its Green preferences. There have been many statements
made about this—some of them made by the Leader of the Opposition today, by people from the
Queensland Farmers Federation, by people from AgForce. The member for Callide has also raised
them.
       This is a clear signal to industry, particularly in the areas of agriculture, food and fibre, that their
rights are to be trampled over whenever political expediency and political needs suit the government.
While this government appeases the minority, for the next three months landholders without a PMAV are
210                                                     Order of Business                                            23 Apr 2009

going to be left in limbo, unable to clear land and unsure if they will be able to any time soon. They
cannot deal with their property; they cannot transfer it; they cannot get finance for it. In the meantime,
the regrowth vegetation they plan to clear will continue to grow.
       At the end of the three months, they will be told that either the regrowth can be cleared, which we
hope will be the case, but they will have to pay more to do so, or they will be told they can no longer
clear the land which means the productive capacity of their land and the subsequent value of their
property will be severely impacted or, as I indicated earlier, the moratorium has been extended for
another three months and they will have to suffer for another three months in government induced
limbo.
       I was contacted by a regional property owner who pointed out just how far-reaching the impact of
this legislation would be for Queensland. I was told—
Demand for fresh meats, cropping, vegetables, etc will only grow yet our capacity to supply will be significantly diminished—how
much will the average Queenslander have to pay for a litre of milk or a loaf of bread; will the choice cuts of meat be out of reach?
       Will this be the result of this legislation? There will be an impact on jobs. We have already spoken
about this government’s already shaky election promise to create 100,000 new full-time jobs—that is,
jobs where people work 35 hours, not one hour a week and not on the Green Army proposals where
they are paid something like $200 a day, but proper jobs that puts food on the table, that pays the
mortgage, that clothes the kids. This is already making an impact on those types of jobs being created.
       The other issue I want to raise with regard to this legislation is its retrospectivity. The member for
Callide has raised the issue of the legislation’s consistency with the fundamental legislative principles
and, in particular, the retrospectivity of it and the dual nature of the retrospectivity going back to 8 April
and then back to the swearing-in date of the government which, I think, was 26 March. The explanatory
notes state—
In this instance there are strong reasons for retrospectivity. The Premier made an election commitment on 15 March 2009—
That is the strong reason given in the explanatory notes for the respectivity of the legislation—‘The
Premier made an election commitment’. It goes on to say—
While retrospective legislation which disadvantages individuals is a breach of fundamental legislative principles—
which we have discussed many times in this place—
... is justified where the interests of the public as a whole outweigh the interests of an individual.
        This is so important. Why did it only come to light in the third week of an election campaign? If this
was so important, why, when the science was immediately available, did this government not make an
announcement, ‘We are now concerned about this. We are going to do something about it. We are
going to start consultation with a view to developing legislation that protects this vitally important part of
our program to deal with greenhouse gas, climate change and the preservation of the environment.’?
        The explanatory note is a furphy. The explanation for the retrospective impact on people’s rights
is a furphy. We know that this government does not care about individual rights and liberties. This is the
same type of callous disregard that was shown in the February 2008 vegetation management bill. I
spoke on that bill. I referred to EARC’s report on the review of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. I
talked about the Goss government handbook of 1990 which discussed exercising caution with
retrospective legislation that affects rights. It said that liability should not be imposed or operate
retrospectively unless exceptional circumstances exist. It listed the exceptional circumstances, none of
which have been covered by this legislation. This goes against the idea of our Westminster parliament.
It goes against the fundamental applicability of our laws that people should have certainty in dealing with
their own private property, that they should not be prejudiced on the way through.
        This government has no regard for its own principles having passed over 158 bills since it was
brought into power with retrospective operation. It attempts to exclude judicial view. It attempts to
exclude the jurisdiction of the courts. Why? The reason it gives is that it might be wrong. It might be
infringing on people’s rights. The kommissars from the Kremlin are now sitting in George Street saying,
‘We do not care about your rights. The rule of law is no longer important. We will try to exclude it. We will
try to say to you that it no longer applies. You can no longer deal with your property in the way that you
see fit.’
        This legislation is a disgrace. This is not about securing the environment. This is about securing
votes and delivering seats like Barron River to the ALP in the last election. It should be opposed on that
basis if nothing else.
        Interruption.

                                                 ORDER OF BUSINESS
       Ms SPENCE (Sunnybank—ALP) (Leader of the House) (5.17 pm): I advise honourable members
that the House can continue to meet past 6.30 pm this day. The House can break for dinner at 6.30 pm
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                           211

and resume its sitting at 7.30 pm. The order of business shall then be government business followed by
a 30-minute adjournment debate.

  VEGETATION MANAGEMENT (REGROWTH CLEARING MORATORIUM) BILL
                                             Second Reading
        Resumed.
        Mr MALONE (Mirani—LNP) (5.18 pm): It is with no pleasure that I to rise to speak in the debate
on the Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009. It pains me greatly to speak
to this bill before the House. The shadow minister has made an excellent speech about the downfalls of
this legislation. I will reiterate the issue that we have raised. Given all the issues before Queensland—
the $74 billion debt, the worst financial crisis since the thirties, people not able to get housing, the issues
with child care—we at the first sitting of this parliament are taking up a full day talking about vegetation
management which really would seem to be inconsequential in terms of running this state.
        It is a sad indictment on this government and on all of Queensland that we have a government
that sees this as a priority over all of the other things that are affecting decent people in our community
such as those sleeping under bridges and the constant calls to my office that people are being sacked at
the mines and cannot get jobs in town and because they cannot get a job they cannot pay to stop at a
hotel or a motel. We are seeing those sorts of things right across Queensland, yet we have a
government that is worried about people perhaps reclearing vegetation that has been cleared over a
period of time. It is beyond belief, quite frankly.
        The potential this legislation has in rural Queensland is massive and I am almost sure that there
is nobody on the other side of the House who actually realises what goes on in rural Queensland. The
very fact of bringing this legislation before the House means that millions and millions of dollars of
property sales have fallen over and there are situations where banks are now re-evaluating the equity
they have in properties throughout Queensland. I do not know that I need to spell that out for members,
but say a house has a mortgage of $200,000 and suddenly that house is worth half of what it was
before. As a result, the equity in that property is halved and suddenly the bank says, ‘We don’t think
you’re a viable asset. We should just sell your house from under you.’ That is going to happen if this
legislation is enacted. This is absolutely disastrous for Queensland. The Premier said during the
election campaign that she wants to generate 100,000 jobs throughout Queensland. I can assure
members that she will lose 10,000 jobs because of this legislation.
        A government member interjected.
        Mr MALONE: Those opposite do not really understand, and that is really being demonstrated in
this parliament tonight. Members on the other side of the House do not have a clue what this legislation
will do to rural Queensland. When we go out and talk to ordinary, decent people trying to earn a living in
rural Queensland, as Vaughan Johnson did when he went to the forum held at Clermont and another
held in Rockhampton where 200 or 300 people turned up—not just older people but young people with
children—we realise that those people are concerned about their future and we have to start to wonder
what priorities this government has. We would hate to think we are doing this just because the
government of the day needs to repay a debt to the Green movement. I am hearing what everybody is
saying. Surely that cannot be the reason. Surely we are not taking the first full business day of the
parliament in Queensland to repay a debt to the Greens. If that is the case, we are really in for a sad
time.
        Unfortunately, the people in rural Queensland do not understand that. They are just ordinary,
good people who go out at six o’clock in the morning, work all day and come home at night when the
wife has a meal on the table. They are out there doing it every day of the week. They are generators of
new money for Queensland. Every day they go out they generate dollars for Queensland. They do not
recycle dollars; they actually produce dollars—real dollars—that come in from exports all over the world.
That money flows into Queensland’s coffers in Brisbane and is distributed throughout Queensland. They
are not recyclers of money but generators of money. They are real people who earn the wealth for
Queensland, and on basically the first day of parliament we are going to belt the hell out of them. That is
just terrific!
        Let us look at the management style of the Queensland government in terms of looking after its
land. I am a farmer myself and I am very much aware of the issues with regard to the management of
land. There are national parks reasonably close to where I live and hundreds of wild pigs come out of
that national park every night. There are people out there almost on a daily basis trying to trap those
pigs. If we ever get foot-and-mouth disease in this country, we are gone! There would be millions of wild
pigs roaming throughout Queensland. There are probably half a million roaming in my electorate. The
government departments have attempted to do something about it. They got a chopper out there earlier
this year and officers shot 50 pigs out of a total population of something like 10,000, and it cost them an
arm and a leg. The government cannot look after its own property. National parks are full of lantana, rat’s
212                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                  23 Apr 2009

tail and every other thing that grows wild. The government cannot even manage what it has now, but we
heard from government speakers that this government is considering increasing the national park estate
in Queensland. It is really just unbelievable.
        Then there is the issue in terms of this moratorium on regrowth clearing. I guess age has some
downsides, but it gives you an opportunity to look back over your life. I can recollect the brigalow country
as a boy. If you went and stood in the brigalow country, there was not a bird singing and there was not
an animal in it at all. The erosion in that brigalow country was just massive. There was no grass. It was
just dead country—absolutely dead. During the early part of the sixties people could go into a ballot for
the land. One of the conditions of the ballot was that they had to clear the land. They had to spend the
money to clear it and they had to spend the money from thereon in to maintain it. Many people do not
realise it, but when you clear brigalow it almost comes up behind you as quick as you clear it. One of the
big issues is maintaining the cleared land.
        Those people with their wives first went out and built a hut on the property. There was no
electricity, no water, no fencing, no nothing. They did it all with bare hands, hard work and grit. They then
finally brought their families out there and lived on dirt floors—and I am talking as late as the late
sixties—and carved that country out of that brigalow wasteland. Now we are talking about allowing that
wasteland to return. I can assure members that if you leave that country for 10 years it will go back to
what it was before. It will be a hopeless wasteland of wilderness that produces no ecosystems, as the
Premier was trying to tell us, in terms of animals, birds and all the rest of it. There will be no grass and it
will return back to the wilderness that it was before.
        The only way of course that anybody can produce anything out of that is to just walk away from
it—to close the operation down and walk away. Those properties are worth somewhere between
$10 million, $20 million or even up to $30 million now. They have been joined together and some of
them are quite large properties. This legislation attempts to take the productive potential away from that
Central Queensland area. It is huge and the amount of money that has been spent there is massive.
Who knows what the reasons are, but for some reason we are going to stop people reclearing. The term
that is being used in this legislation is ‘endangered remnant regrowth’ or ‘endangered regrowth’. I find
that term almost incomprehensible. It is either endangered or it is regrowth. If it is regrowth, it is
obviously not endangered because it has been cleared before—many times, possibly—and the only
reason it has any height or density is that it has not been cleared since.
        One has to wonder about the sense of all of this. When you think about it, we are talking about a
farming operation—probably cropping and cattle—on a property while next door there is a mine where
the operation digs up to 100 metres of rock, dirt and topsoil and turns it all upside down and gets about
six metres of coal out and puts it back. After that operation, the country is useless—totally useless.
However, that is considered to be totally acceptable. After mining has taken place on the land, there will
be no productive output from that country whatsoever. More and more we are seeing that the mining
industry is moving into very high-quality blacksoil farming country, yet we have a situation here where
farmers and graziers are being impacted by this sort of legislation.
        There are two issues to this legislation. The first issue is the regrowth moratorium, and I have to
say that the maps cannot be trusted. I have downloaded a map of the area around my electorate from
Sarina through to Ilbilbie and the small town of Koumala that I live near is actually blue—that is,
endangered remnant vegetation. It is a small town of four blocks with houses on it. That is how accurate
those maps are. I heard one of the members of the government saying that these satellite mapping
plans that they have put out are so accurate that they can get down to the last tree. I can assure
members that they are not accurate at all. To have a township in the blue area makes a joke of this
whole issue. It is an absolute joke. I am not sure what else I can say.
        Of course, the second issue is the riparian buffer zones. I am not sure where some of the
members on the other side of the House have been, but we have had a fire in Victoria. Members might
remember that just a little while ago a lot of people lost their lives in that fire. The priority for that area
was to lock up country. That country was locked up and suddenly there was a wildfire. We are going to
see similar sorts of situations occur with these riparian buffer zones. If we are saying that they cannot be
touched, that no cattle can graze on them and that they cannot be cultivated or whatever, then
vegetation in those areas will certainly grow. Over a period a huge fuel load will build up. There will be
birds, kangaroos and maybe even a couple of koalas in that area. On a hot summer day towards
Christmas time when the Minister for Emergency Services will say that we should not light fires, I can
assure members that we will have a fire that will run through that riparian area. It will wipe out every
animal that is in that area and we will be back to where we started. Not only that, when it rains—and we
get quite considerable amounts of rain very quickly on the coastal plains of Queensland up around
Mackay—we will not be worried about erosion; we will be worried about the ash and all the rest of it that
flows into the streams. According to the government’s estimation, that all ends up on the Barrier Reef.
So with all of this namby-pamby, so-called scientific endeavour, we are virtually going to end up worse
than we ever were before. At least now the creek banks are being maintained.
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                           213

        The reality is that there has been no scientific research to try to understand what has happened
over the past 200 years. Over that period there have been massive changes to the creeks and rivers in
the coastal plains of Queensland. The mouths of rivers have even changed. For instance, the Pioneer
River at Mackay changed its course through the city because of the cyclone in 1918. The mouth of the
river was shifted. I ask members to just imagine if that occurred again in this era. I hate to say it, but I
really think that sometimes we seem to get carried away with short-term so-called scientific based
solutions to problems that really are not problems.
        I want to conclude on the fact—and the shadow Treasurer raised this issue—that there is no
compensation for anything that happens in respect to farmland. Nobody can gain any compensation for
whatever impact this legislation has on their properties. The legislation does not allow for appeals—not
even a High Court appeal—against the issues that this legislation causes. So basically, the legislation
cannot be appealed. It cannot be challenged in the High Court. The reality is that we have a dictatorship
in this state. What other democratic government throughout the world would push through legislation
that cannot be challenged in the High Court? If the members opposite are so sure of themselves, let us
put it before the court and see how they go.
        Of course, the other issue is that there is a reverse onus of proof. Basically, people are guilty until
proven innocent. That goes against all the democratic and Westminster principles that exist throughout
the world. With those few words, I conclude. I will not be supporting the legislation.
        Mr O’BRIEN (Cook—ALP) (5.33 pm): I am a member of this parliament who represents a
regional and rural seat and I rise to speak in support of the Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing
Moratorium Bill) 2009. It is a great privilege and honour to stand in this House. There have been a few
changes since we were here last but one thing for sure that will never change is the old National Party.
There have been so many changes in Queensland over the past 100 years—and even over the past 20
years—but one thing that remains constant, one thing that remains certain, is that the National Party of
Queensland refuses to understand that the world has changed and that the political debate and the
economic imperatives of 100 years ago are no longer the same.
        There was a time not that long ago when a condition of a person holding a rural lease in
Queensland was that they had to undertake widespread clearing. When their lease came up for
renewal, they had to demonstrate to the department of lands that they had undertaken widespread
clearing. Times have changed since then. Most of us now understand that, as a state, as a nation and
as a people who share this small, fragile planet, the activities of humans have impacted heavily on other
species of plants, animals and ecosystems and that our activities are not sustainable for our own long-
term survival.
        Certainly, the electorate understands that. That is why on 21 March people voted for a party that
is serious about protecting the environment. There was a time when the environment was not a
significant political consideration. But that time is no more. As populations grow in all parts of
Queensland, more pressure is placed on the environment. People everywhere see their environment
under pressure, and more and more of them want to do something about it—not just at the ballot box but
through all manner of environmental, landcare and tree-planting groups, and I include farmers in that as
well.
        Of course, what has happened is that everybody has changed, with the exception of the
members of the National Party. Today, they harp on about sleazy deals with the Greens, when the reality
is that in a democracy all votes are up for grabs. Rather than criticise people for making the political
choices they make, those opposite need to develop an environment policy that is acceptable to the
majority of Queenslanders. Give those people who vote Green a reason to give them their preferences.
The Liberals and the Nationals did it in 1995 and went close to winning government. Was it a sleazy
political deal then? But, of course, they will not develop a policy. They are too lazy to develop a policy.
They remain dominated by the dinosaurs of the old Queensland National Party and they remain a
political relic of a time gone by.
        I want to debunk the line the Nationals are running that by protecting the environment we are
costing jobs. What the old National Party and the lap-dogs in the Liberal Party do not understand is that
there is more than one industry in Queensland and that we have to find a legislative balance to ensure a
viable future for all of them. For example, 100 years ago when the cane industry was being established
in the Douglas area in my electorate it was basically the only industry in town. Nowadays, there is a
much broader economy in the district than there was then. Nowadays, there is a strong tourism industry
that requires a well-protected environment to showcase to visitors. I am talking about not just the
Daintree rainforest but also the Great Barrier Reef.
        The experts are telling us that the impacts of humans are affecting the water quality in the marine
park and are placing the reef at risk. Of course, it is not just the tourism industry that relies on the reef.
Queensland has an important recreational, charter and commercial fishing industry which also relies on
healthy water quality to ensure the survival of their target seafood species.
        A number of years ago the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, under the Liberal-National
administration in Canberra, realised that action had to be taken to improve water quality in the Great
214                       Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                               23 Apr 2009

Barrier Reef. At that time that administration released information papers on the proposed Reef Water
Quality Protection Plan for catchments adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area. One of
the reports stated—
This increased sediment, nutrient and pollutant load impacts on the inshore areas of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area.
The balance of evidence suggests that land based run-off is a significant threat to reefs and seagrass beds south of Port Douglas
and within 20 kilometres of the coastline. Modifications to (and loss of) vegetation cover, riparian vegetation and wetlands have
exacerbated run-off into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area, especially after monsoonal and cyclonic rains. The loss of
vegetation cover decreases the ability of land to trap and assimilate nutrients, particularly after drought and subsequently heavy
rainfall events.
        I urge members opposite to look at GBRMPA’s work on this issue. It was done at a time when
their parties held office in Canberra and suggests the sort of action we are taking here today.
        I am happy to concede that there are other practices besides farm based practices which
threaten the quality of water running into the Great Barrier Reef. Mining activities are having an impact
and urban development is also having an impact. Those opposite, however, are being misleading to
suggest that urban populations are not taking significant steps, at the government’s beckoning, to
improve water quality flowing from those areas into the reef.
        In Cairns, for instance, the council, in partnership with the state government, is putting tertiary
treatment systems at the end of its sewage treatment plants to reduce nutrient run-off into the reef
lagoon. These tertiary treatment plants do not come cheap. In fact, they cost millions of taxpayers’ and
ratepayers’ dollars. When I was on the Cairns council, well over five years ago now, we had to apply a
special levy to assist pay for the additional infrastructure that was required to improve water flow into the
reef. In fact, councils up and down the east coast of Queensland are taking similar action with the
support of the state government.
        So other sectors in Queensland are playing their part and, yes, farmers are being asked to play
their part as well. The stakes are high—not just for the individual farmer that those opposite have tried to
exclusively represent here today but for all Queenslanders who rely on the Great Barrier Reef for their
business or to harvest their food. This is an important piece of legislation. I support the bill before the
House.
        Mrs MENKENS (Burdekin—LNP) (5.41 pm): What we are debating today is a piece of absolutely
outrageous and draconian legislation—the Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium)
Bill 2009. This afternoon we have heard some impassioned arguments from members of the LNP on
this side of the House. They have outlined some very bleak pictures—the realism of what the impact of
this bill will be. The impact of this bill is on people. We are hearing a lot from members on the other side
of the House about the impact on the environment. But this bill will have an impact on people, on
families, on families’ livelihoods and on jobs. They have been very convincing arguments—so
convincing that it has actually brought the Premier out from the woodwork with her supposedly
convincing arguments just in case her troops start to waiver or may even be convinced by the realism of
what the impact of this bill will be.
        This legislation will affect more than one million hectares. It includes all native vegetation within
50 metres of a watercourse in the Mackay-Whitsunday, Burdekin and Wet Tropics reef catchments and
supposed endangered regrowth vegetation on freehold and leasehold land. ‘Endangered regrowth
vegetation’ is a ridiculous suggestion. This covers a huge area and we have seen the maps tabled
today. The impact that this will have on those watercourses and the area around those watercourses is
enormous. It will adversely affect hundreds—I believe thousands—of landowners across Queensland.
Many constituents in my electorate of Burdekin have already expressed great alarm and very real
concern about the impact of this legislation and its follow-up legislation.
        The government’s three-month moratorium on the clearing of regrowth is nothing but a desperate
election move to gain Green votes. Yes, it has achieved them, too. Graziers and farmers are already
losing their land to alternative uses such as mining, urban development, forestry, national parks,
biodiversity and conservation values. Our food bowls are being constricted, and this legislation will
continue to put unnecessary pressure on food producers. This government must have absolutely no
idea of the possible consequences of this legislation.
        Queensland under this government will not get the balance restored to the extreme conservation
agenda. Under this socialist Labor government, Queensland’s future food supplies and the $13 billion
agricultural industries are at risk—real risk. We already have a world food shortage, and this legislation
may well add to that shortage by hindering the production of food in Queensland. Projections are that by
2025 global food output must increase by around 75 per cent and needs to double by 2050. For this to
occur, annual food output needs to improve 1.8 per cent.
        Food does not come from supermarkets in pretty plastic packaging, which most people nowadays
I think assume. Our food comes from many hardworking landholders who are being disadvantaged
more and more every day by this socialist city-centric government. My electorate of Burdekin
encompasses land that makes up a substantial portion of the Queensland food bowl, and I am appalled
at what this legislation threatens to do to the livelihoods of those landowners.
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                          215

        In Queensland there are well over 30,500 businesses that carry out agricultural activity and more
than 100,000 people are employed in the agricultural, forestry and fishing industries. Queensland has
the largest area of agricultural land of any state and we also have the highest proportion of land area
dedicated to agriculture. So anything that is going to impact on agriculture will also impact on the state’s
economy. Who wants to see a situation where we have constricted farmers to the extent that we have to
import our food from overseas? And there is a very strong likelihood of that happening, particularly in the
coastal areas which are impacted by this bill. Bringing in more food from overseas in itself brings about
another hazard, because the increased importation of food opens the way to many more potential
biosecurity issues.
        Prior to the recent election, the Premier said that she wanted to talk to farmers before taking any
decisions on land clearing. What happened? Two weeks after the election the government announced
its moratorium on regrowth clearing—chopping off farmers’ hands straightaway. This bill will
retrospectively give effect to that moratorium, which has left families on the land reeling. Sure, the
moratorium is supposedly only for a period of three months for consultation, but landholders have lost all
faith in this government’s consultation processes. It is easy to see where the government’s allegiance
lies, and it is not with families and working people on the land.
        It is worth noting that this legislation applies to agriculturalists and landowners; it does not apply
to the mining industry. I support the mining industry totally, but it is grossly unfair that we see one
primary industry being disadvantaged over another primary industry.
        This government is continually spruiking about creating jobs. This legislation is a huge threat to
jobs in the agricultural industries and also in the allied industries. But this legislation is only about one
job—that of the Labor Party hacks and its army of yes-men. This legislation is only about a political deal
to gain votes at the recent election. It is payback—payback for Green preferences at the expense of
landowners, particularly riparian landowners in the northern coastal area.
        In the Queensland Country Life of the 16th of this month, the owners of Dawson River property in
Western Queensland estimated that under the moratorium 43 per cent of their freehold grazing property
has become untouchable. I do not think anyone in this House can really conceive of what that means—
43 per cent of their income, of their livelihood, of what they own, has become untouchable. For those
opposite, it would mean more than half of their house or more than half of the block of land that they call
their own in town has lost its value and no longer has the value that it would have had when they first
bought it.
        In the past the owners of the Dawson River property had, like so many other landholders, taken a
very responsible path in controlling their brigalow regrowth. They were clearing it in sections every 10
years. They understood that that path was legal. The couple said in the article that they were now facing
a nightmare situation and an uncertain future on the property. This is a property that has been in their
family for three generations. This is the tip of the iceberg of the many hundreds of thousands of property
owners and agriculturists. These people estimate that they will face a net loss of $1.7 million in land
value under the moratorium. Loss of income from the land that will no longer be available will be in
excess of $50,000 per year.
        Those who live on the land know that it is not a sustainable property unless there are trees and
vegetation on it. The arrogant approach of this government totally demeans the good work and the land
management that the majority of landholders now practice. Landholders are the keepers of the
environment. As education and scientific knowledge have improved so has on-the-ground management
by landowners. There are some wonderful environmentally friendly properties. Legislation such as this
is an insult as well as a huge economic impost on these good people. I would also expect that the
economic losses will flow down the line, with jobs lost not only on properties but also in the transport
industry, saleyards, and meat-processing plants. This will impact severely on my electorate of Burdekin;
not only farmers and graziers but also related industries will be affected and jobs will be lost. I come
from a farming and grazing family. I understand the bush and the impact that this will have. I have seen
the changing practices of landowners over the years. Yes, some 50 or 60 years ago there were some
terrible things done on the land. But the change has been enormous. This government is giving
absolutely no credit at all for the changes and improvements that these property owners have made.
        The government’s plan to allow farmers to take advantage of carbon trading schemes for financial
reward will probably cause more pain in the future. There are significant hurdles to be cleared before the
government’s plan to pay farmers to grow trees can be achieved. It can easily come at the cost of food
production. The Premier has said repeatedly that she will create 100,000 jobs. Stopping the clearing of
regrowth will cost jobs. We have been hearing that all afternoon. Jobs will be lost in the agricultural
sector as a direct result of this legislation. But it secured the Premier her job, didn’t it?
        Queenslanders are yet to see genuine scientific evidence that clearing regrowth on farming land
will cause damage to the reef. It seems that our landholders are again to be the whipping boys. Every
time someone says that the Great Barrier Reef is in danger it is the fault of the farmers. This government
is forever blaming the landholders as being the perpetrators of reef damage and it is totally
unacceptable.
216                      Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                            23 Apr 2009

       Where is the consultation with those on the front line? Where is the scientific evidence to back
this move? One Australian scientist and former farmer, David F Smith, in the Australian of 11 April this
year is challenging the view that farmers have blithely plundered the environment and says that it is a
green myth. He says that rather than destroying the environment, responsible modern farming helps
preserve the land. The former director-general of agriculture for Victoria says that the true story of
Australian agriculture is generally one of aware people farming sensibly, problems being identified and
researched—might I add, largely with their own funds—and improvements carried out and adaptations
advised. He says that this is the basis of sustainability. This is what the government should be working
towards: sustainability of our agricultural industry as well as sustainability of our environment.
       The member for Cook spoke about GBRMPA and what the federal government has been doing.
The federal government has brought in a reef rescue plan that has the full support of agricultural
industries. It is encouraging landholders to improve their practices. That is not what this legislation is
about. This legislation is draconian and a takeover of landholders’ rights.
       Our farmers are world innovators. They know they have to look after their land if it is to return
some benefit to them. These people know it is in their best interests to look after trees on their property
and to give their land a balanced ecosystem. Long gone are the days where landowners slash and burn
their properties. They are aware of the damage that sort of treatment does to their land and it does not
benefit them. This awareness has not been recognised by the government. Landowners do not know
the details of this government’s land-clearing plan and that is where the real concern is. They do not
trust this government and neither should they. If land is lost from production that land’s value will drop
dramatically. Will we see a government that will step in and compensate for the financial loss to farmers
or graziers? I doubt it.
       I ask members to cast their minds back to 2004 when the then minister for natural resources,
Stephen Robertson, introduced the Vegetation Management and Other Legislation Amendment Bill. He
stated during his second reading speech—
That is why one of the fundamental principles underpinning this bill is certainty—certainty for land-holders and a workable
framework for the future of vegetation management in Queensland.
This bill provides for ongoing management of regrowth. It allows for thinning of thickened vegetation and clearing where woody
species have encroached on grasslands.
        In 2009, as minister for natural resources again, Mr Robertson wants to change his workable
framework and has created uncertainty for the landholders. What was his promise worth in 2004? The
guidelines have been changed with no consultation and no acknowledged scientific evidence. If this
government wants to change the rules then it should change them in a way that will work with the
landholders and not against them. This government must ensure that it is not restricting landholders
from implementing beneficial work practices—beneficial to both the workable land and the surrounding
environment. The ruling that riparian landholders must leave 50 metres of regrowth from a riverbank will
have huge ramifications, particularly in my area. The map of the Burdekin River system, which has been
tabled this afternoon by the shadow minister, shows the huge impact it will have. What consultation has
there been with the River Improvement Trust? The River Improvement Trust is made up of groups of
local people who have managed the waterways and watercourses. They understand the ramifications
for riparian landowners who have trees and vegetation growing along watercourses and on riverbanks.
However, we can see what the government is doing. It is throwing the River Improvement Trusts into the
jurisdiction of the council. There has certainly been no consultation with them.
        There are huge ramifications unless those watercourses are managed. The Burdekin River area
is a delta. Thousands of years ago that river flowed along a different course. Unless the vegetation and
the sand build-up is managed on the current river courses, rivers such as the Don River in Bowen and
the Burdekin River, we will see them cut new courses through towns. We will see huge devastation and
disasters because it is likely that those rivers will change course. Non-management of the vegetation
along the river banks is one of the areas that will create this situation.
        So what are the effects of this legislation? Noncompliance with this legislation will make innocent
landowners into criminals. The government will make these people into criminals with no avenue for
appeal. A convicted rapist has an avenue of appeal but not a farmer—not a farmer who dares to clear a
little regrowth vegetation on land that was legally allowed to be cleared years ago. He was legally
allowed to clear years ago but suddenly he can become a criminal. There is no logic in this and the
government is not going to compensate these landholders who are going to be affected by this
legislation.
        This is draconian legislation. It is a disgrace. It is a disgrace that a government that the people of
Queensland have elected should actually bring in this type of legislation. It is not about ecological
sustainability; it is about political expediency. Along with my colleagues in the LNP, I do not support this
legislation. It is an appalling attack on our democratic way of life.
        Mr CRIPPS (Hinchinbrook—LNP) (6.00 pm): I rise to make a contribution on the Vegetation
Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill. The stated objective of this bill is to introduce a
moratorium on the clearing of all native vegetation within 50 metres of a watercourse in what are
23 Apr 2009            Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                              217

considered to be the priority reef catchments of the Wet Tropics, the Burdekin and the Mackay-
Whitsunday regions. The bill also proposes to introduce a moratorium on the clearing of what has been
described as endangered regrowth vegetation in rural areas across the state on freehold and
agricultural and grazing state leasehold land.
        The explanatory notes accompanying the bill state that the introduction of this bill delivers on
commitments made by the state Labor government to protect endangered regrowth vegetation and
landscapes that need trees to perform their ecological function and to address tree clearing that is
supposedly impacting on the Great Barrier Reef. What a load of nonsense. Let us call this for what it
is—it is the calling-in of a political debt that the Labor Party owes to the Greens in exchange for their
preferences at the last state election.
        Indeed, this bill is only part of this grubby political IOU that the Bligh Labor government is obliged
to pay back to the Greens. The balance of the IOU will be paid back, I have no doubt. It will be
forthcoming and it will reveal itself in time as restrictions are placed on farm inputs such as agricultural
fertilisers and chemicals, promised by Labor prior to the last election.
        The Bligh Labor government claims that run-off is pouring into the reef lagoon and is killing this
great icon. Labor cannot substantiate that claim in any definitive way because there is as much scientific
research out there issued by credible research institutions that says farm run-off is not responsible for
any deterioration in the health of the reef as there is other opinions suggesting that farm run-off is
responsible. What Labor members do know beyond reasonable doubt is that increasingly they depend
on ensuring that votes for the Greens flow to them when it gets down to preferences. That electoral
reality has seen Labor increasingly sell out those whose jobs, livelihoods and private property rights get
in the road of the political imperatives.
        The explanatory notes insist that the retention of vegetation either side of a watercourse on
riparian areas assists with improving bank stability or reducing pollutants within a water system of that
watercourse. The bill proposes a vegetation buffer of 50 metres of all native vegetation either side of a
watercourse. In my electorate of Hinchinbrook which straddles both the Wet Tropics catchment area
and the Burdekin catchment area, there are arguably more waterways than anywhere else in
Queensland. As such, I am extremely concerned about the impact that this moratorium and the
eventual amendments to the act—which will undoubtedly confirm the 50-metre buffer zones—will have
on the viability of individual farm enterprises and our rural industries as a whole.
        One of the principal complaints that I have in relation to these 50-metre buffer zones is that they
are by their very nature arbitrary, having no regard for the actual and real run-off areas either side of a
watercourse. Depending on the lay of the land, a run-off area could be 10 metres or 100 metres. Either
way it is certainly never uniformly 50 metres along the length of the watercourse in question as we
consider the provisions of this bill. So this bill is a disgrace in so far as it is just proposing arbitrary buffer
zones that have no regard for or reference to the landscape that they are going through.
        Watercourses in the three catchments that are specifically mentioned in the explanatory notes—
being the Wet Tropics, the Burdekin and the Mackay-Whitsunday regions—are certainly different
between themselves. In my electorate of Hinchinbrook, for example, being within the Wet Tropics
region, you tend to have relatively short watercourses that have relatively small catchment areas
located between the Great Dividing Range and the coast. This is true also for the electorate of
Mulgrave. While the main rivers in my electorate—the Herbert River, the Murray River, the Tully River
and the South Johnstone River and their tributaries—and the rivers in the electorate of Mulgrave—the
North Johnstone River, the Russell River and the Mulgrave River and their tributaries—certainly sit in
significant flood plains, they only do so because of the enormous volume of rain that periodically falls
inside those catchment areas, rather than the land being shaped in such a way that the water naturally
runs off it into adjacent waterways in significant volumes.
        The landscape in the Hinchinbrook and Mulgrave electorates—the two areas that are principally
targeted in the Wet Tropics region by this arbitrary 50-metre rule—because of our extensive agricultural
activities is undulating and hilly. This means that we have short run-off areas into many watercourses. If
the state Labor government imposes this arbitrary 50-metre buffer zone rule along the length of every
watercourse on every property in my electorate of Hinchinbrook and in the electorate of Mulgrave, we
will certainly find that this legislation will significantly restrict production in the Wet Tropics region.
        I would urge the member for Mulgrave, if he was able to acknowledge my contribution in this
place at this time, to seek out the maps that identify the watercourses that will be captured by this bill. In
the electorate of Mulgrave, they are very extensive and indeed there are also substantial areas of
regrowth vegetation in his electorate. I feel very sorry that the first piece of legislation that the member
for Mulgrave will support in this place as part of the Bligh Labor government will negatively impact on his
constituents in the Mulgrave electorate. The member for Mulgrave may have come here with ideals of
supporting his local community, but he will not be able to do so if he supports this bill and he should
reflect on that during this debate.
        I am extremely concerned about my electorate of Hinchinbrook. I am concerned about the
viability of rural industries in my electorate—the sugar industry, the banana industry, the cattle industry
218                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                   23 Apr 2009

and the numerous horticultural crops that are grown extensively in my electorate. I am worried about the
landowners, the farmers and their families and their livelihoods, and I am worried about the workers, the
farmhands who work on these farms and their families.
        I note the Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries has had rural and regional Queensland
added to his responsibilities. What we saw from the Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries during
the course of the last parliament was a fundamental failure to advocate for and stand up for rural
industries. Take the damage mitigation permit decision, for example. Previously, the committee
responsible for advising the government on that issue reported to the Minister for Primary Industries and
Fisheries but when the announcement came that the Bligh Labor government was going to rollover for
Dr Carol Booth, the then Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries could not even front his
responsibilities, and the former minister for climate change and sustainability took great pleasure in
doing over the horticultural industry in Queensland. So it is with this legislation.
        When this bill came to cabinet, I wonder if the Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries and
Rural and Regional Queensland was thinking hard about what impact it would have. I wonder how he
considered this legislation would impact on primary industries in Queensland and how it would impact
on rural and regional Queensland for which he now has responsibility. I wonder if the Minister for
Primary Industries and Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland has any qualms about this
legislation. If he does, he is mute and derelict in his responsibilities to represent rural industries and rural
and regional Queensland.
        The Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland must be
dizzy from rolling over in cabinet so many times on issues that are critical to the people he is supposed
to be representing. Taken together with the Bligh Labor government’s proposed regulations on important
farm inputs—such as fertilisers and agricultural chemicals, another occasion on which the Minister for
Primary Industries and Fisheries is set to roll over on—you have really got to wonder what landowners
and rural industries have done to deserve this disgraceful treatment.
        The Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries himself has described Queensland’s rural
industries as one of the bright spots of the Queensland economy in the middle of the current economic
downturn. I say that it is a bright spot notwithstanding the policies of the Bligh Labor government and its
best efforts to drag it down. It will not be so for long under the Bligh Labor government because of its
relentless efforts to persecute rural and regional Queensland for political gain.
        Earlier this afternoon I saw the maps that identify the watercourses that will be captured by this
bill. For my electorate and for so many other areas of Queensland they are truly frightening. There are
extensive new blue areas that designate regrowth vegetation around the communities of Innisfail, Tully
and Ingham and in all the farming areas in between those areas of my electorate—all on top of the 50-
metre buffer zones that will be applied to adjacent watercourses.
        The legislation is equally inappropriate in a region like the Burdekin catchment, which is covered
by my electorate of Hinchinbrook—namely, in the area south of Ingham—but for different reasons. The
land is much flatter with huge run-off areas. Unlike the Wet Tropics catchment area, many of these
watercourses do not run all year round; they run only periodically, when they have significant rainfall. Yet
they will have the same buffer zones that will take out production on those properties. As it is flatter
country, the behaviour of water when those watercourses are flowing is different from the Wet Tropics,
but all of that counts for nothing because these provisions are arbitrary. The buffer zones are 50 metres
regardless of whether the real run-off catchment area is 10 metres or 100 metres. It is not science that
supports this approach. This is a disgraceful bill brought forward by an irresponsible government for
base political purposes.
        What makes me particularly angry is the total lack of recognition given to landowners in rural
industries in North Queensland in terms of the progress and improvements that they have made in land
management practices over the last two decades—wetland sediment traps, green trash blanketing,
widespread chemical application certification for best practices, expensive laser levelling to improve
drainage, and best practice application rates for fertilisers. The list is long but there is no recognition—
just a punitive big stick brought out to hand out a flogging to my constituents because the state Labor
government needs to seal a grubby political deal with the Greens.
        The LNP believes strongly in private property rights. We take private property rights seriously. A
fundamental principle is that where the state exercises its power to deprive individual landowners of
their private property rights those disadvantaged property owners should be afforded fair compensation.
How extraordinary it is, then, to read brazenly in the explanatory notes accompanying this bill that
landowners affected by this moratorium are not entitled to claim compensation. That is an unmitigated
disgrace and something of which the Bligh government should be ashamed.
        The Minister for Natural Resources has moved to implement a moratorium on the potential
clearing of a million hectares of regrowth vegetation in Queensland. One million hectares of land will be
taken out of production in Queensland—taken out of production systems of farm enterprises across the
state. This will undoubtedly have a devastating effect on industry and jobs in the regions. Under this
legislation, from 8 April 2009 the clearing of regrowth vegetation in rural areas across the state will be
23 Apr 2009               Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                          219

prohibited. In addition, the clearing of all native vegetation in riparian areas of the priority Mackay-
Whitsunday, Wet Tropics and Burdekin reef catchments will be prohibited.
        There was a shameless contribution from the Premier in this place this afternoon when she came
in here and twisted and distorted comments made by the Leader of the Opposition, the member for
Surfers Paradise, in one of the many debates on the Vegetation Management Act that have occurred
over the years because the Labor Party has never been able to get this legislation right. Every time they
dream up a new excuse to tighten the screws on rural industries or when they have pressure put on
them by the Greens to tighten the screws on rural industries, they have brought in more amendments to
fix up their own mistakes and to satisfy their penchant to belt the bush.
        The Premier had to twist and distort the comments of the Leader of the Opposition because those
previous debates took place on a very different basis. In 2004, ironically it was Minister Robertson
himself—he had carriage of the Vegetation Management and Other Legislation Amendment Bill, which
introduced the current vegetation management regime—who assured rural industries that that
legislation would provide certainty for producers to manage their land in a locally relevant and
sustainable manner. Hansard records Minister Robertson in parliament saying—
This legislation is a historical line in the sand for how we, as a community, manage our often fragile landscapes and their natural
limitations to ensure we remain economically and environmentally sustainable.
        That was the undertaking: a line in the sand. Certainty was promised. That was the basis on
which that debate took place. Clearly that undertaking has been violated. That line in the sand has been
crossed. That certainty has been undermined.
        In 2004 the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Surfers Paradise, was in his first year in this
place. Perhaps what the opposition leader did wrong at that time was take the minister at his word. It is
clear that is unwise. It is clear you cannot trust the Labor Party in respect of many issues of public policy.
Honourable members on this side of the House will recall the repeated assurances from former Premier
Peter Beattie that his government had no plans for wholesale amalgamations of local councils in
Queensland or, more recently, that Premier Bligh fully intended for the last parliament to go full term.
        The Leader of the Opposition, the member for Surfers Paradise, argued his position on his
understanding of the proposed legislation on that basis. That is why the contribution from the Premier
was so outrageous. I heard the member for Toowoomba North earlier in this debate describe the
contribution of the Leader of the Opposition as trying to weasel away from his position in 2004. I must
say I am surprised and disappointed in the member for Toowoomba North, who professed to have an
affinity with rural and regional Queensland and whom I previously considered to be someone with more
decency than to participate in a debate that distorts and twists other members’ contributions in such a
disgraceful way.
        There is only one side of politics that is weaselling out of anything today, and that is the Australian
Labor Party. The Australian Labor Party is weaselling out of its promise that the 2004 amendments to
this legislation, the Vegetation Management Act, would deliver certainty to landowners; that it would be
a line in the sand. The Australian Labor Party for that reason should be ashamed of itself.
        The other outrageous thing the Premier did in her contribution earlier in the debate was repeat the
ridiculous statements she made prior to the election when she released data from 2006-07 about the
dramatic reduction in the clearing of remnant vegetation and the increase in clearing of regrowth
vegetation. Of course there is going to be a dramatic decrease in the clearing of remnant vegetation. It
has been banned by the state government for several years. Of course there is going to be an increase
in the clearing of regrowth vegetation. The state Labor government banned the clearing of remnant
vegetation. Regrowth is all that the landowners have left.
        The state Labor government pushed landowners into this corner with the 2004 amendments to
the Vegetation Management Act and they told them they were safe there. Now the state Labor
government is castigating and punishing landowners for going about their lawful, legitimate business—
until of course the passage of this bill. The state Labor government are the bushrangers that pushed
them into that corner in the first place. It is a complete disgrace.
        The member for Callide canvassed in detail the numerous outrageous breaches of fundamental
legislative standards contained in this bill. It is retrospective in a number of respects. There is no right of
appeal, the onus of proof is reversed and landowners are compelled to respond to charges brought
against them in this manner, and as I mentioned before there is no compensation.
        There is a litany of disgraceful provisions in this bill. The explanatory notes provided by the state
Labor government attempt to defend these breaches of fundamental legislative principles, but they
cannot legitimately be defended by anyone with a shred of decency about them. Those members
opposite who have professed a commitment to fundamental legislative principles should be ashamed of
themselves.
        This is bad legislation. It is an aggressive, unwarranted and unfounded attack on decent,
hardworking Queenslanders. I oppose it. All members of this place who have any common decency
ought to oppose it. I endorse the contribution of the shadow minister for natural resources, the member
220                         Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill             23 Apr 2009

for Callide, and his proposition that rural and regional Queensland cannot take much more of the
punitive base politics of the state Labor government.
        Mr MESSENGER (Burnett—LNP) (6.19 pm): This is a sad day for a number of reasons. Firstly, I
fear the significant social, financial and human harm that this legislation will undoubtedly cause.
Secondly, with the declaration of the Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill as
urgent, another straw has just been dropped on the back of democracy in Queensland.
        In five years this is the 26th bill to be guillotined, rammed and jackbooted through this House
without parliamentary or community consultation or consideration. On a day when we have the worst
economic news being forecasted, rising unemployment, rising debt, families losing their homes, more
and more families and children going hungry and finding it difficult to do the basics, the government
rams through legislation which cuts the throat of every Queensland farming family.
        Whatever happened to the belief that every family needs a farmer? It has changed to every Labor
member of this chamber needs a farmer to flog during an election in order to drum up some Green
preferences. This bill, which has been introduced in unseemly haste, attacks Queensland farmers’ and
Indigenous communities’ right to sustainably manage their properties. This bill undermines the ability of
Queensland farmers and Indigenous people to create wealth, create jobs and put food on the table for
their families and their communities. This bill will not only lead to job losses and hardship in our regional
cities and rural areas but will also have a flow-on effect that will be felt in our capital and south-east
corner at a time when we can least afford it.
        In 1501 spice merchants in Venice lamented the expected effects on their home town because of
the Portuguese opening of the route to India around the Cape of Good Hope. They described the
situation they faced over 500 years ago thus—
To the city of St Mark the loss of spice trade would be like the loss of milk to an infant.
        With this legislation before us, a similar analogy can be drawn. To Queensland cities, the loss of
our farmers’ rights to sustainably manage their properties will be like the loss of milk to an infant. These
are unprecedented times of economic hardship and unprecedented job losses. Not only has this
government failed to prepare us economically for the hard times; its introduction of this legislation will
ensure that the hard times continue for longer than necessary. The legislation before the House right
now is guaranteed to lead to job losses and more economic hardship. The question is why? Members of
the LNP understand implicitly why. To members of the broader community and the media—as
demonstrated by the editorials in the papers—it is patently obvious why this is happening. It is patently
obvious to everyone except those members on my left. Why introduce a piece of legislation which will
significantly harm all communities, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, for negligible environmental
benefit?
        Unfortunately, the answer is quite simple. This bill is nothing more than a political bribe, a payback
to the fourth faction of the Labor Party—the Green political party. It is a well-known fact, widely reported
in the media, that there was a grubby deal which ensured that 14 Labor members of this House received
Green preferences. The member for Southern Downs quite adequately prosecuted that argument.
        This is being done despite the fact that Queensland Labor is hell-bent on taking a political course
which will ensure and cause at least two of the most devastating and disgraceful examples of
environmental and financial damage in Australia’s history. No. 1 is the Traveston Dam and No. 2 is from
my own electorate—the Agnes Water desalination plant, which will destroy the nesting site of two
endangered turtle species and waste $27 billion of taxpayers’ money on a project that is not wanted or
needed.
        Where were the Greens then? Where were Labor then? They were not protecting the
environment. They were letting these abominations go through. Any credibility associated with
Queensland’s Green political leaders must surely evaporate, just like the first couple of metres of water
from any future Traveston Dam. No longer can a select, elite, unrepresentative, unaccountable,
secretive, green aristocracy in The Wilderness Society—the kings and queens of the Greens—claim to
be acting to protect the environment. They are acting in a base political manner to protect their
government funding, their taxpayer funded kickback and pay-off. They are acting to protect their place in
the line beside their Labor mates in the government trough.
        They are certainly not acting to protect the environment. We only have to think once again of the
Traveston Dam or the Agnes Water desalination plant. They are not acting to protect the wishes of the
common-sense conservationists who have, unfortunately, hitched their wagon to the wrong star. They
have been conned. The Greens do not represent green values; they represent base political desires.
        Because of a select, elite, unrepresentative, unaccountable, secret, green aristocracy who have
decided in secret, in the political shadows, to strike a sleazy deal with Labor, my community—Burnett
farmers, Burnett families—will suffer sleepless nights, default on mortgages, lose money, suffer family
breakdowns, battle mental illness and all its horrible dark effects. That will be the result of this legislative
rubbish before the chamber tonight.
23 Apr 2009                  Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                                  221

       Transparency is one of the fundamental principles for the creation of just and fair democratic
government which delivers just and fair legislation. The principle of transparency has protected the
world from nuclear holocaust. The principle of transparency, were it respected, enforced and engrained
in our world financial markets, would have protected us from the recent financial crash. The principle of
transparency protects individual citizens’ rights and freedoms. The process by which this legislation has
made its way into this place is not just and fair because amongst its many faults it lacks transparency. It
is a deal that was made in the political shadows by the kings and queens of the Greens, The Wilderness
Society, Queensland Conservation Council, Animal Liberation, the queen of the forest, Aila Keto, and
Carol Booth, with the desperate Labor elite.
       I had a chat with a property owner and told the property owner about the member for Callide
quoting the famous Henry Lawson poem about blood being on the wattle. My constituent said that the
member for Callide, Mr Seeney, got it wrong. He said that there was not going to be any blood on the
wattle. He said that there was going to be blood on the ground. He said that this government is hoping
that in two years the anger will have disappeared but it is wrong. The hurt and harm from this legislation
goes to the very heart of our rural community and families.
       This grazier, who wants to remain anonymous for reasons that will become patently obvious,
said—
Fairly recently, before the moratorium came in, I did some clearing on my property and that was in a white area at the time, now I
find that is now being labelled blue. So the situation is that ... what are they at? If they are going on some kind of height perimeter,
it must be a foot high, which I find ridiculous. How can they distinguish that from grass?
Interpretation of map ... how do they differentiate that and grass ... I feel that they are just going to get all the stuff that is blue, they
are going to lock it up. This is devastating for me. I work very hard on my property trying to save a few hundred dollars here and
there, and they wipe tens of thousands of dollars off my property just like that with their coloured pencils, without compensation.
       Before I continue with comments from this grazier, I would like to relate a story from a Russian
woman writer, comrade Tanya Khodkevich, who was given a 10-year sentence in a Russian gulag for
writing this verse—
You can pray freely ... But just so God can hear.
It captured the fear which she and her people experienced under the socialist dictatorship. I think it also
captures the fear that our farmers and families are now experiencing under this Queensland socialist
dictatorship.
       Sitting suspended from 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm.
       Mr MESSENGER: In continuing my contribution to debate on the Vegetation Management
(Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009, I want to bring to this place some feelings that are felt by my
constituents who are affected by this legislation. A farmer says—
I live in fear of these people—
and he is referring to officers employed by the former department of natural resources and water—
because if they come onto the property they always take something away from you ... they always move the colors so you lose
something ... you don’t want to contact these people at all ... as soon as you contact DNR with an enquiry you have to give them
your Lot Number of where you are. As soon as they have that lot number, they could come straight onto property and come get
me ... I’m not the only one with this attitude.
My neighbours won’t ring ... (the Department). We live in fear of the democratic government which has been elected by this state.
This farmer continues—
We do live in fear of the bureaucracy because they act as policemen with no recourse for a legal independent appeal. It’s not a
legal appeal, it’s a bureaucratic process.
As this person has quite rightly pointed out, under part 6, division 1 there are no appeal processes. He
continues—
We live in fear of that bureaucracy which is responsible for the zoning and implementation of that zoning ... they demonstrate
unmitigated bias ...
They are trying to make as many farmers as they can as green as they can ...
I spent a lot of money to clear re-growth, now trying to pull it off me again ... I used that as grazing for my cattle, but now it’s gone
...
They have beat the hell out of not only me but all of my neighbours who are graziers, and offered no compensation.
Two main plantation owners around here are trying to sell off their properties on the basis that they sell their land to someone but
keep the rights to the trees and pay people who buy the property until the first harvest then take all timber off the property, then the
person can do what they like with the land ... beggars the concept of sustainable tree farming ...
The Govt is not on the ground ... they do not see what is going on ... only interested in getting into government.
      On another issue, this grazier has heard whispers and rumours, which I would like the Minister for
Natural Resources to address, that the Premier is thinking of bringing in a carbon emissions trading
scheme and she is going to claim all of the regrowth area as belonging to the state in terms of any
carbon emissions offset, and obviously the farmer is thinking of the new blue area that has been
imposed arbitrarily on the new maps. If we offset the trees against the carbon for those trees, the rumour
222                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                  23 Apr 2009

that my constituents are hearing is that the Premier is going to claim those trees which have been
allocated into colour and claim offset of the emissions of her own.
       My farmer theorises that it could go two ways if this happens. That is, with regard to any trees
growing on the property, a farmer can claim them as their offset on emissions or the government can
claim and say that it is responsible for the regrowth with the introduction of this legislation and
consequently claim offset on the emissions. This is an important issue that I would like the Minister for
Natural Resources to address. In his summation, the minister might like to confirm or deny possible
courses of action.
       Who created this legislation? Fundamentally, it is people who fail to understand how our
communities operate—how they grow, how they prosper and how they create wealth. There are only
four ways that a community can grow and prosper: make it, mine it, grow it or show it, as Barnaby Joyce
continually reminds me. As the member for Mirani quite eloquently put it, they do not recycle money.
This is new money coming into the community. It is money created by the primary wealth creators:
making it, mining it, growing it—and that is the sector that we are talking about now, the primary
industries sector—or showing it, namely the tourism sector.
       In closing, I want to make seven points. This legislation will mean that we have a build-up of fuel
on properties and, given the right conditions, wildfires similar to those that happened in Victoria will
happen and the accompanying loss of life and property will all be thanks to the fanatical Greens and
also this Labor Party in Queensland. In falling over themselves to appease the Greens, this legislation is
unconstitutional. I believe it will be a lawyers feast. The retrospective element to it, the fact that there is
no appeal process and the reverse onus of proof are but three major faults within this legislation. I
believe it should be challenged. Even though it says in the legislation that it cannot, I believe it will be
challenged. I think it should be challenged in a court of federal jurisdiction because it is my
understanding that Commonwealth legislation will override any state legislation that contravenes basic
legislative principles and contravenes the Constitution, and perhaps those better versed in law may be
able to correct me.
       During her speech the Premier tried to make out as if this restriction on clearing imposed by this
legislation applies to virginal vegetation. The member for Hinchinbrook mentioned that in his speech.
The vegetation affected by this legislation is about as virginal as she or I. It is regrowth—regrowth that
has been legally cleared, regrowth that property owners had legally planned to manage for their families
and their community’s benefit until the introduction of this legislation.
       The legislation attacks our community’s ability to ensure our food security. Food security was one
of the main topics talked about at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference last year.
When asked what the No. 1 issue was, many delegates from African Commonwealth nations said food
security, closely followed by rising petrol costs and rising fertiliser costs. The vegetation management
laws have wiped out and will wipe out hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars of land values with
no compensation. They have ruined many small businesses and it will cost this state thousands of jobs,
and many rural families have been and will be forced into welfare because of this vegetation
management bill.
       The Labor government under the leadership of its Premier, Anna Bligh, has driven this state to the
edge of a precipice. We are going along it and on the other side of the precipice is bankruptcy. This
legislation shows that, instead of pulling up before the lip of that precipice of the Grand Canyon, we
have the ‘Thelma and Louise’ of Queensland politics just putting the pedal to the metal and launching
us, with this legislation, into an abyss, with bankruptcy and all of the social problems that follow. I
fervently and unreservedly oppose this legislation.
       Mr RYAN (Morayfield—ALP) (7.39 pm): In rising to participate in the debate on the Vegetation
Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009, I would like to address the issue of enforcing
the new moratorium on regrowth clearing. On 15 March 2009 the Premier made an election commitment
for a three-month moratorium that would focus on preventing the clearing of endangered regrowth
vegetation and landscapes that depend on trees to perform their natural function. The moratorium will
protect mapped endangered and riparian regrowth vegetation in priority reef catchments that is not
regulated under the existing framework. Put simply, the moratorium will allow time for the government to
consult with key stakeholder groups on the best way forward to protect this vegetation in the future for all
Queenslanders. This bill will give legal effect to the announced moratorium so that high-value regrowth
vegetation cannot be cleared pre-emptively while the government is working with stakeholder groups to
improve the vegetation clearing laws in Queensland.
       From assent to this bill, the clearing of endangered regrowth vegetation and riparian regrowth
vegetation will be an offence under the Integrated Planning Act 1997 and will carry a maximum fine of
$166,500. Unlawful clearing can also lead to the offender being ordered to restore the area to its
preclearing condition by the Department of Environment and Resource Management. However, the
retrospective aspect of this bill does not impose criminal liability on landholders. No criminal offence can
occur, nor can any prosecution or associated monetary fine be made pursuant to the Integrated
Planning Act 1997 in the case where a landholder has cleared between 8 April 2009 from when the
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                          223

moratorium has retrospective effect and the date of assent to the bill into law. However, the bill gives the
department the power to issue notices to landholders that require the trees to be restored to the
preclearing state. These notices mean that the important values of the vegetation are not lost in the
longer term and that the landholder does not benefit from clearing after the date on which the
moratorium was announced to be taking effect.
        Clearing in contravention of the moratorium will be monitored and detected by the Department of
Environment and Resource Management in a number of ways. The investigation and enforcement of
vegetation management laws uses state-of-the-art satellite technologies to detect clearing within a very
short time of it occurring. Even small cleared areas can be detected by satellite imagery very soon after
the clearing occurred. The department has significant capacity in place to acquire and analyse this sort
of imagery. The department also regularly receives and follows up reports of clearing from concerned
members of the public.
        Based on the department’s existing knowledge of the location of regrowth areas and clearing
trends, it is possible to identify areas that are known to be at most risk and to focus monitoring efforts. If
unlawful clearing occurs during the moratorium period, the department will use its powers to conduct
investigations, which could lead to prosecution and monetary fines, an order requiring the landholder to
restore the area cleared of trees to its preclearing condition or a stop-work notice requiring all tree
clearing to cease. The department will actively monitor compliance with the moratorium and a state-wide
program has been put in place to ensure that unlawful clearing during the moratorium period is detected
and dealt with appropriately. I commend the bill to the House.
        Mr McARDLE (Caloundra—LNP) (7.43 pm:): I rise to make a contribution to the bill. A number of
weeks ago on a Sunday evening I can well recall seeing on one of the newscasts the Premier launching
her election campaign in Brisbane for the state election. Upon listening to the Premier and seeing the
newscast that night, it was quite clear that the task of a Labor government, in the event that it was
returned to power, was to establish 100,000 new jobs within three years of it being re-elected. I can
recall quite clearly that the Premier stood on the dais behind a lectern. She raised her hands and said,
‘You can depend on me.’ From that time the Premier, along with her ministers and other members of the
government, made it quite clear that the mantra of jobs, jobs, jobs was the most important thing that this
government would do if it was returned to power on 21 March. In fact, that mantra was echoed in the
speech delivered by the Governor on Tuesday afternoon in the red chamber. I can recall quite vividly
that the Governor highlighted a number of projects that would return thousands of jobs to the state and
one in particular being the Queensland Children’s Hospital—an issue that, in my opinion, is fraught with
danger but which is for debate on another occasion.
        However, this morning the situation changed when we were advised in this House that, no, jobs,
jobs, jobs was not the most important issue for the government; the most important issue for the
government was the bill now before the House. Quite clearly, the government had a debt to pay and it
was going to push aside what it claimed had been the No. 1 concern facing it in Queensland to repay
that political debt.
        As we know, the election was called on 23 February by the Premier and on 15 March she
announced the moratorium that we are now debating today. In my opinion—and this has been echoed
by a number of speakers on this side of the House—there is little doubt that the bill before the House is
nothing more than Labor paying the Greens something akin to the 30 pieces of silver that Judas Iscariot
was paid to ensure their support in South-East Queensland to ensure a return to government. We know
that when the election was called in mid-February the Greens had made it quite clear that they were
very concerned that the government had failed to address many environmental issues and concerns.
There was some doubt that the Greens would provide their preferences to the Labor Party, as they had
done in years gone by. We know on the Sunshine Coast—
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hoolihan): Order! I remind the member for Caloundra that we are
debating the Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill. So far I have not heard you
mention the bill other than in your introduction. Perhaps you could get back to the bill.
        Mr McARDLE: Mr Deputy Speaker, my introduction is almost concluded and I will get back to the
bill. As I said, the Greens had refused to enter into an arrangement on the Sunshine Coast because of
the Traveston Dam. As a consequence of the arrangement struck by the announcement on 15 March by
the Premier, we now have the moratorium bill that we are debating tonight.
        This is an unusual situation, because the bill removes significant rights of landowners and their
families—in fact, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of landowners and their families right
across the state—principally on legal grounds, but also on other grounds. It is the removal of those
rights that worries me enormously. At this point this country is involved in a debate as to whether we
should have a bill of rights. That debate was initiated by the federal Attorney-General, Robert
McClelland, towards the end of 2008. It is indeed ironic that we have a federal ALP Attorney-General
raising the concept of a bill of rights and we have an ALP state government, through this legislation,
removing some of the significant rights that will be guaranteed under a bill of rights.
224                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                 23 Apr 2009

        One of the rights that would be secured under a bill of rights would be the right to own and deal
with property. We can leave the debate about the bill of rights being what we want, or not want, for a
later date. To me, it is ironic that we have the ALP at a federal level supporting a proposal and at a state
level refusing to acknowledge the basic rights that reside in landowners throughout Queensland.
        Many speakers on this side of the House have outlined much more eloquently and in much more
detail the impact that this bill will have on employment levels and on the economy and the long-term
impact it will have upon families who own property in regional and country Queensland.
        There are men and women on this side of the House who actually live or have lived on property,
who have owned and worked on property and who actually love and understand property. It is
completely ridiculous to indicate that those men and women, who on some occasions have owned
property and worked it for generations, do not understand what property represents and do not
understand how best to care for property. However, the bill goes a lot further than that and removes
basic legal rights. It removes the right of review. It removes the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. It
takes away the rights of appeal and, critically, it offers no compensation for those men, women and
families who lose either the ability to farm, the ability to use or the ability to derive an income from their
property.
        Perhaps the greatest insult to those men and women who have spent generations working on the
land is the fact that they were not even consulted before the moratorium was put in place. They were not
even deemed worthy of being spoken to to ensure that their aspirations, their dreams and their wants
were taken into account before the government moved to impose a moratorium. There is no doubt that
the moratorium contained in this bill, albeit for three months, will in fact continue for longer, and there is
no doubt that we will debate a bill in this House in the near future to ensure that the terms of this bill are
put into a finite perspective.
        The government has failed one of its basic tenets to deal with the people most impacted as a
consequence of a bill before the House. The government has removed their rights. It has taken away
from them their livelihood. It has reduced their capacity to acquire an asset base for the future and, more
importantly, it has simply denied the bill of rights that we all have when we own property. I oppose the
bill.
        Mr GIBSON (Gympie—LNP) (7.51 pm): I rise to make a contribution to the Vegetation
Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009. I note the purpose of this bill is to protect
regrowth vegetation that is in an endangered regional ecosystem in particular areas and to protect
riparian regrowth vegetation in the Burdekin, Mackay-Whitsunday and Wet Tropics catchments. The
purpose is to be achieved mainly by restricting clearing of the endangered regrowth vegetation and
riparian regrowth vegetation for a period of at least three, but no more than six, months while the state
consults with stakeholders about the optimum way to regulate the clearing of regrowth under the
Vegetation Management Act.
        Let us be clear: the real purpose of this bill is to repay the Greens. There is no other reason why
this bill was brought in. I would like to share with this House, as we discuss the vegetation regrowth
moratorium bill, the negotiations that were occurring with the Greens because I was privy to the LNP
side in dealing with the Greens and understanding where they were at. When we negotiated with the
Greens they were expressing their frustration because Labor refused to talk to them. Indeed, over the
period of 2006 there was no discussion with Labor, and the minister there is nodding. He knows exactly
what I am talking about.
        Mr Robertson: So you were chasing Green preferences.
        Mr GIBSON: No. We were discussing with the Greens—
        Mr O’Brien: Trying to do a sleazy deal.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hoolihan): Order! The member for Gympie will direct his comments
through the chair.
        Mr GIBSON: Thank you for your protection from the member for Cook, Mr Deputy Speaker,
because he is one who desperately wanted those Greens preferences, as others did as well. When did
it change? When was the seed of this bill formed? Was it on 15 March? No. It was on the first poll that
came out that showed Labor was at risk of losing government. I remember that because I was in a
meeting a few days later with Drew Hutton from the Greens and he said to me, ‘Labor’s willing to talk.’
        Government members interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! As with the member for Caloundra, I would remind the member
for Gympie that this is a bill to impose a moratorium on the clearing of particular regrowth vegetation. So
far you have not mentioned the bill. Please come back to the bill.
        Mr GIBSON: Mr Deputy Speaker, I am talking about the formation of the bill—
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Please deal with the bill.
23 Apr 2009               Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                         225

       Mr GIBSON: I will deal with the bill because the bill is about repaying the Greens; it is not about
the vegetation.
       Mr Wettenhall: It’s about protecting the environment.
       Mr GIBSON: It is not about protecting the environment because if it were it would address and we
would be focusing on key elements of the environment. But instead we are talking about some
legislation that attacks the basic rights of individuals.
       Mr O’Brien: Let us hear more about this sleazy deal.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Member for Cook.
       Ms Jones: He believes in climate change, unlike you.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Minister.
       Mr GIBSON: The minister for the environment would be well advised to read the Hansard record
because then she would understand my position on the environment.
       Ms Jones: You don’t believe in climate change.
       Mr Robertson: I think it’s called prone.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Minister. I call the member for Gympie.
       Mr GIBSON: They are agitated across the chamber because they know I am revealing the
grubby deal that set forth this vegetation management bill. Labor was about shoring up preferences in
seats like Barron River, where it desperately needed the Greens preferences to get its candidates in.
       Mr Wettenhall: We had environmental policies in Barron River.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Member for Barron River. I would like to remind members that
the member for Gympie is on his feet and, whilst a degree of robust debate is allowable, let us make
sure that we can hear what he says.
       Mr GIBSON: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Your protection is appreciated because we know
that those across the chamber are desperate for the truth not to get out. We have seen the minister with
his personal slights against people here—a disgraceful way to carry on. But indeed it is important that
we look at what is occurring here. This bill is about paying back the Greens but it is couched in a
veneer—
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: I would remind the member for Gympie that standing orders prevent
personal attacks, and you are sailing very close to the wind with your comments about the minister.
Please temper your remarks.
       Mr GIBSON: I note your advice, Mr Deputy Speaker. This bill is a veneer of protecting the
environment but when we scratch it back we find exactly what it is—payback, because this government
has an atrocious record on the environment.
       Mr Deputy Speaker, do not take my word for it. Let us look at what the environmental groups were
saying in their report Paradise Lost. They condemned this government. When I turn to page 5 I find an
interesting remark. When they talk about protecting vegetation, the environmental groups make
reference to the fact that there are about 14 million hectares of vegetation, primarily regrowth, in
Queensland not protected from land clearing. Who are the authors of this report? Who are those that
were pressuring this Labor government and saying, ‘We will expose your hypocrisy with the
environment on issues such as the Traveston Crossing Dam?’ Who were those groups? It is on the front
of this report for all to see—the WWF, the Queensland Conservation Council and The Wilderness
Society. But it is interesting to note that if you go to their websites to see whether any of these three
groups have put out a recent press release condemning Labor over the Traveston Crossing Dam you
will not find a word. It brings us back to the point that this bill does very little in protecting the
environment but it does a lot in protecting the seats of Labor members. I note the reason for the policy
objectives—
... landscapes that badly need trees to perform their ecological function and address tree-clearing impacting on the Great Barrier
Reef.
It is generally accepted the retention of vegetation either side of a watercourse on riparian areas can assist with improving bank
stability and reduce pollutants within a water system.
      I do not have a problem with this at all. In fact, the Queensland government, through the DPI, had
done some world-class leading research with vetiver grass. Developed in Queensland, this grass is now
used across the world in subtropical and tropical environments to protect run-off from agriculture into
open waters. This grass was developed by our DPI at a time when DPI was well resourced, at a time
when DPI was conducting cutting-edge technology and finding plants that would protect the
environment. But what do we find Queensland using vetiver grass for? Nothing.
      The reports show that this alone would stop the sediment and run-off into the areas. It has been
proven on test cane farms up in the tropics and yet Labor refuses to embrace this. It begs the question:
where is the science? The government is not using the DPI’s cutting-edge science; it is not using what it
226                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                  23 Apr 2009

has worked on to bring forward technology that would be of benefit. No, its science comes from extreme
green groups; its science comes from grubby deals in back rooms to get Labor preferences. It is not
about protecting the environment; it is about shoring up its position.
        Mr Wettenhall: Why don’t you talk about biodiversity and protecting the Great Barrier Reef?
        Mr GIBSON: I take the interjection because the member for Barron River did a deal to ensure
that land that was designated for national park would be pulled out of the national park. So what was his
concern about biodiversity? Let me tell members: there was one concern about biodiversity when it
came to his seat and that was ensuring that there was none—ensuring that there was a Labor member
sitting there. I hear his silence now because he knows that I speak the truth.
        Mr Wettenhall: I don’t know what you are talking about.
        Mr GIBSON: He knows I speak the truth, but let us come back to the details of the bill.
        Mr Wettenhall interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Member for Barron River.
        Ms Jones interjected.
        Mr Horan: Cop the stiff arm and just go off to the sidelines.
        Mr GIBSON: I take the interjection from the member for Toowoomba South.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: You may keep your comments to yourself when I am speaking, thank
you.
        Mr GIBSON: It is not acceptable in a unicameral parliament, without the protections of a house of
review, for members to receive legislation that is of a controversial nature and then be forced to deal
with it in an urgent manner. We do not have the protections within this parliament that exist in bicameral
parliaments. Were this to be introduced in any other state in Australia there would not be the degree of
urgency that we are seeing from this Labor government. Again it begs the question: why, when the
government has made it clear that it is driven by jobs, would it introduce legislation that attacks jobs?
Why would it introduce legislation that deals with the agricultural side of our economy which is, in fact,
one of the few bright shining lights we have during this global financial crisis?
        This is an example of arrogance, in the very first sitting week of this parliament, that I believe sets
a tone that is unfortunate. It is unfortunate for the new members of parliament on both sides of the
House because they are seeing an abuse with legislation that is despicable in its breaches of
fundamental legislative principles. This bill shows contempt for the law-making procedures of this place.
        I want to touch on the element of retrospectivity. As a general principle governments should try to
avoid retrospective legislation on major issues. There are times, however, when the circumstances are
such, and I will accept, that the use of retrospective legislation is not only defensible but also is
justifiable and necessary in the interests of good government. Generally speaking, retrospective
legislation should only be used in extraordinary circumstances. More often than not, it should be used in
circumstances that favour the individual and not the Crown. Yet in this case, as we have seen time and
time again from this Labor government when it uses retrospective legislation, it is not about favouring
the individual. It is not about providing further protection for the rights of the individual; it is about
protecting the Crown and it is about protecting a Labor government that is having to honour the deals
that it has struck with minor parties.
        I would ask new members of the House when they vote on this and other retrospective legislation
to think about this one point: it was retrospective legislation that ensured David Hicks was locked up in
Guantanamo Bay—retrospective legislation that ensured David Hicks faced the crimes. I will not defend
David Hicks or those who engage in terrorist activities, but there is a principle of law here.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can I bring the member back to the bill, please, on relevance.
        Mr GIBSON: I am addressing the principles of retrospectivity and I thank you for your guidance.
Would any member on the opposite side of the House be willing to support retrospective legislation that
takes away the rights of asylum seekers?
        Mr Moorhead: There is no criminal offence in this bill.
        Mr GIBSON: No voice there, but in this case the bill takes away the rights of individuals.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: I will ask you one more time to come back to the provisions of the bill.
        Mr GIBSON: I just did, Mr Deputy Speaker.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: You have made your point. Please come back to the bill.
        Mr GIBSON: If there is a point that you wish to bring—
        Mrs Keech: Do as the Deputy Speaker asks.
        Mr GIBSON: I have come back to the point—
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                          227

        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: I just remind you about relevance.
        Mr GIBSON: The relevance is that on the issue of retrospectivity those sitting opposite are
hypocrites. In this bill they are—
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: I remind the member about unparliamentary language and I ask you to
withdraw.
        Mr GIBSON: I withdraw the remark. In this bill those who sit opposite are willing to strip away
Queenslanders’ basic rights and yet I am certain that they would make noise when it came to the rights
of asylum seekers. Because this bill addresses people who live in Queensland, because this bill
addresses those who are productive members of our society, because this bill addresses those who
uphold the law and those who are willing to embrace the law, they are silent about their concerns.
        On the issue of retrospectivity we undermine the certainty of law. We have heard many examples
here tonight from other speakers who have put forward the views of their constituents when they said,
‘We did not like the original Vegetation Management Act but we at least had a glimmer of certainty.’ We
have seen tonight that that has been stripped away. I do not own any property. I am not a farmer. I live
on a block of 700 square metres. Indeed, the largest block I have ever lived on was an acre block when
we were residing in Bundaberg.
        Mr Dempsey: A great spot.
        Mr GIBSON: I take the interjection from the member for Bundaberg. It is indeed a great spot. For
those of us who live in the city, for those of us who do not have a connection to the land, this bill is
difficult to grasp. I heard a fantastic example on ABC Radio when they put it in terms that would mean
something to ordinary people living in the city. They said that this bill is the equivalent of a person buying
a house with a small vegie patch and a back lawn. They enjoy their vegie patch and decide to extend it
but are then told that they cannot dig up any of their lawn. In fact, they cannot even mow their lawn
anymore. As a result of this their backyard becomes untidy and gets to a point where it is
unmanageable. This example helps those in the city to understand this. As a result they go to sell their
place but now find that the value of their home has dropped and dropped significantly because of the
government’s actions. Most Queenslanders would be outraged if they were told that there were
activities they could not do on their ordinary house block. That is the fundamental principle that we are
finding with this bill. So we look at the issues that this bill will address.
        In my time when I was the shadow minister for the environment—and I am sure the environment
minister, who is silent on this bill—
        Ms Jarratt: So far.
        Mr GIBSON: I look forward to her contribution because I believe she has a right to express the
views from the environment’s perspective. As I travelled around this great state as the shadow minister
for the environment, many people whom I spoke to—both those living on the land and those living off
the land—would begin a sentence something like this: ‘I’m not a greenie but,’ and then they would share
with me the action they were taking on their properties to protect the environment. They were taking
action each and every day to ensure the environment was being looked after, and that action included
clearing regrowth—not because it was something they got fun out of or pleasure in doing, not because
they thought, ‘I’ve got a spare couple of hours so I’ll get on with this.’ It was done because they knew it
added to the productive capacity of their land.
        I put this question to those opposite: what don’t you grasp about sustainability? Sustainability is
about growing and producing food within our region, but you are taking away the opportunity to do that
with this bill. So then as long as we continue with the population growth that we are facing, we will have
a food shortage that will result in us having to import food into this state.
        There was a former member on the opposite side whom I disagreed with on many issues, but
there was one issue we could agree on. The former member for Hervey Bay has since departed—and
may I say that we have a much better member for Hervey Bay now—but one thing he did understand
was the concept of peak oil. Peak oil is that we do not want to be shipping food from too far away
because it will cost us dearly.
        Under this bill, the environment will suffer and the hip pockets of ordinary Queenslanders will
suffer. We will find that the only group that does not suffer is the Queensland Greens because of this
grubby deal to pay them back.
        (Time expired)
        Mr HORAN (Toowoomba South—LNP) (8.12 pm): The debate we are having tonight on the
Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill is one of the most vicious and
underhanded attacks on the hardworking, decent people of Queensland I have ever seen in this
parliament, and I will go through the reasons why. Previous speakers have mentioned the angst that
occurred in moving through to the final act in 2004. There was general agreement in 2004, and rural
organisations, Landcare organisations and private property owners worked together to work within that
act of 2004. The minister himself said on a number of occasions, ‘This gives certainty.’ He also said,
228                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill               23 Apr 2009

‘This gives certainty with regard to regrowth.’ What we are debating here today is this issue of regrowth.
This is where the dirty, grubby deal with the Greens has come in. I contend that that deal is bordering on
corruption, and I will tell the parliament why.
        We saw the Premier stand up with about a week to go in the election campaign and suddenly
announce what they were going to do after the election—that they would have this moratorium on
regrowth. On 16 March, the Greens candidate in the seat of Pumicestone, Ian Bell, was quoted in the
media as saying that the Greens decision was negotiated at a high level on the basis that Labor was the
only party prepared to bargain with the Greens.
        What we have seen is a new system happening in democracy in Queensland. The system was
that a party stands if it has a platform and another party stands if it has a platform, and then people
openly and honestly make a judgement about which way they will vote. But if we have an instance like
this to do with the moratorium on brigalow suckers and other forms of regrowth that is negotiated on the
basis that they get selected seats in the state—I think Labor members were given the preferences in 12
seats and it saved the government from defeat, because they won 10 of those 12 seats as a result of
those preferences—then the good, honest people who voted for the minority party have voted for Labor
because the Greens have done this dirty little grubby deal with the Labor Party so Labor could get into
parliament. I believe it is bordering on corruption because what we are seeing are the views of a
minority party in regard to the moratorium on suckers.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Ryan): Order! There was some unparliamentary language there. I
ask the honourable member to withdraw it.
        Mr HORAN: I withdraw it. On this matter of the regrowth and the treatment of regrowth, that was
all part of the deal. What happens is that a minority group can get what it wants even though it did not
win one single seat—not one single seat—or get close to winning one seat. It can get its views in
through these little deals that are done through a negotiated arrangement. I strongly believe this needs
some independent investigation.
        This legislation is aimed at hardworking, decent Queensland families who have contributed
greatly to the economy and the prosperity of this state. When people go to Beef 2009 in Rockhampton in
a few weeks time, they will see the prosperity there—with sales of trucks, equipment, pipes and pumps,
as well as auction sales and all the associated things in Rockhampton, Central Queensland and
Queensland. There will be things to do with meatworkers, abattoirs, processing, packing, the whole lot.
You can see the prosperity that this has brought.
        That brigalow scheme is a good example because it is one of the key things that will suffer from
this legislation tonight. When it was brought in in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly in the Bowen Basin
area, it gave young men and their families the chance to get on the land and clear the country which
was covered in brigalow. That is now some of the most productive grass-growing country that could ever
be found in the world and it is ideally suited to cattle.
        These young men drew these blocks in ballots and then they lived there in sheds or caravans for
years and years and years. They raised their kids in the sheds, with the tractor at one end of the shed
and a concrete floor and a bit of galvanised iron around it. Now the second and third generation are
there and they have homes, but that was the pioneering spirit that developed the brigalow country.
        All of that was done under the law of this government. The farmers were required to do that. They
had to put up a certain amount of money. In so many years, they had to have so many watering points
and they had to have so much clearing done. It was the law. They had to have so much fencing done.
They had to go to the banks and borrow and get cattle. There were problems with cattle duffers and all
sorts of things that happened there, but they survived and they built an industry which two generations
later is delivering great prosperity to Central Queensland and the rest of Queensland.
        I am using the brigalow as an example of this particular moratorium because so much wrong
information has been spread. It is as though they are going in with D8s and knocking down huge trees.
The brigalow we are talking about is from six inches high to probably two, three, four or five feet high. It
takes 10 to 15 years to get to that. You clear the country, you burn it, you seed it, you leave all your
shade lines, you leave your nature strips, you leave the forest in corners. You have proper property
plans so you have a nice ecosystem where the animals can travel from one lot of shade to the other
because you have a strip left there, you have shade for the cattle and all the rest of it.
        But once you have cleared that country, burnt it, seeded it and the buffel grass grows—or
whatever you plant—then as the years go by the brigalow starts to come up again because of the little
suckers that are still left in the ground, and you cannot do anything with it until it gets to some height.
Then you use a wick wiper or a blade plough. So you have to let it go for three, four or five years to get
it to a reasonable height.
        What about the families during that? Mr Deputy Speaker, you went to a boarding school, and
there would have been plenty of families who had kids at the school you went to who could not afford to
do the wiping out of the suckers because they were paying the boarding fees at the schools or because
there was a drought. That happened all over Queensland with kids at boarding schools. So the family
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                           229

had to wait another five or six years and by then the brigalow had got higher, so they had to blade
plough them instead of going over them with a wick wiper. That is the truth.
        Every 10 to 15 years those suckers would have to be treated again so that the buffel grass could
dominate the pasture. This is the problem that I am getting to with this legislation. Under this legislation
and under the satellite mapping that occurs by the department, once it shows an amount of 10 per cent
or greater of trees from the satellite photos, then it is classed as blue. Our shadow minister held up
some maps today showing all the blue. Have a look at the best Brigalow country in Queensland
particularly from Springsure through to Middlemount and the back of Rockhampton—right up through
that part where all the prosperity and jobs have been created over the years—and have a look at the
blue there. That is part of the normal management practice of operating those practices. You have to let
it come up to a certain height before you treat it. So you might do it after 10 years and the next time it
might be another 12 years. After three or four times you have got pretty well 95 per cent grass and the
number of Brigalow suckers is fewer and fewer.
        I return to what I said in 2004 when certainty was granted. Everybody said, ‘It is tough. We are
going to lose a part of our land. We have paid for this property. We have paid for the development. Our
fathers and mothers have pioneered and suffered hardship. But we are restricted now to what we can
clear and what we can develop; what has to be kept for the environment, for nature strips, what has to
be left on the slopes and all the rest of it,’ and that has all been done. I think they did it with great heart
and great sacrifice. Now out of the blue in the last week of an election campaign, after the deal is done
to stitch up the 12 seats where preferences are going to be given, the government has cast aside
decent, honest, hardworking families who donate to the show society, run junior rugby league clubs and
send their kids to school—heart and soul and salt of the earth people. They have been cast aside by the
government in a bid to do a grubby little deal with the Greens to try to stay in power.
        That is the problem with this legislation, particularly regarding these maps and this moratorium.
What people are frightened of is the fact that it is a three-month moratorium. Then there is an option for
another three months extension. The indications are that it could go on and on unless some sanity,
rationality and fairness are brought into this debate. These are people who have paid with money and
blood, sweat and tears for these properties. They have had family members injured on these properties.
They have had busts off horses and have fallen into barbwire fences. They have worked hard and they
have helped their community of Rockhampton, Blackwater or wherever it is, and they have made this
place and they have made Queensland—to the same extent that mining has made Queensland. We
should treat them decently and fairly.
        That brings me to the point of property rights. It is about time we gave these people some
recognition for their rights—for what they have done, for what they have bought, for what they have
owned. It is either a farm or it is a small business. It could be a corner shop. You could be a plumber with
your ute. It is your own business that you have worked hard for and you deserve to be treated with
decency. That is what should happen.
        We do not agree with this moratorium, but in the time of this moratorium my fervent hope is that
sanity will prevail and there will be a proper, practical understanding of the issue of regrowth so that
regrowth is not politicised to try to be promoted as a pristine blue gum tree when it is only regrowth from
development that was allowed, that was legislated for and that was legal. That is my sincere hope. I
hope that out of this debate tonight and out of the negotiation of the next three months or six months that
is the end of it and they finally come up with something that treats people with decency.
        If you look at places like Toowoomba, where I live, Rockhampton, Townsville, Roma, Emerald and
hundreds of places around the state, I believe we all benefit from the hard work of primary production. It
is our second biggest export earner in the state. It produces about $13 billion worth of production a year,
and thousands and thousands of jobs. In my city alone I see 6,000 tonnes of grain a day go through our
main street. There are 300 extra trucks because Queensland Rail cannot carry the grain, but that is
contributing. There are tractor sales—the same as in Rockhampton, where the sucker business that
I am talking about is, to the west of Rocky. It is the trucks that are being sold. It is the jobs for the
meatworkers, the yardmen in the saleyards, and for people in the advertising agencies for stud sales. It
is about the economy and it is about jobs.
        It is about time we recognise that we are a truly decentralised state. Part of the decentralisation of
Queensland is agriculture and the pastoral industries. In Toowoomba to some extent we have been
shielded from the recession because we have had two good years. In our hinterland there is much of
this country. Go out to Wandoan, Roma and some of the western Darling Downs, which is a different
type of Brigalow. That is the sort of development that has helped our city, our boarding schools, our
solicitors and our accountants. It has meant tractor sales. Welders and boiler makers are all making
gear. There are all the people driving trucks. It is the economy that is being driven by this, and it is only
from the development. If we left it as locked-up, useless scrub we would not have any of that but we
have had development. There have been some mistakes, but with the 2004 legislation everybody knew
where they stood. People had property plans and were able to move ahead to a more sophisticated way
230                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                 23 Apr 2009

of managing properties. People on the land love their places and they want to be able to sell it or hand it
on in that sort of condition that gives it value and productivity.
        The other noxious part of this particular piece of legislation is the way these decent people have
been treated. We are treating these Queenslanders as if they were outsiders: with no right of appeal,
retrospective legislation and a dictatorship regime. If it were Zimbabwe, you would say that is par for the
course but this is Queensland. I have heard maiden speeches from members this week talking about
ideals and why their parents came to Australia. They talked about the freedoms of Australia and the
democracy of Australia. Here are people who have worked hard, done everything right, done everything
legal and they are going to cop retrospective legislation. It is not only retrospective but it is also
retrospective to the point that if they had not applied for a PMAV then they are not allowed to do that
now.
        This legislation takes away all the normal legal rights and protections that everybody should have.
If you think you have been done wrong by, you can front up to court, have your say and win or lose. That
is the fairness of Australia and that is what has attracted people from overseas. We are losing that with
this piece of legislation. It is one of the things that happens the longer a government stays in power,
because it starts to trample over the people it does not care for like they are dirty doormats.
        I am not bad mates with the primary industries minister, Tim Mulherin. We have shared a joke and
a beer a couple of times, but I am disappointed that he is not on the speaking list. He is responsible for
the primary industry producers of this state, and he should front up here and make a speech as to why
he is going to vote for this. He is responsible for these people, and he should front up here and tell us
why he is going to vote for the legislation. He is responsible for the family of primary producers. He
should be saying why this is going to happen. Is he going to stand up in cabinet and try to bring some
practicality to the treatment of regrowth? Is he going to stand up on behalf of the production of these
people? How much production is going to be lost? Is it only in the beef areas? What about in the
horticultural areas and some of the grain-growing areas? Grain has gradually encroached on these
pastoral areas where the Brigalow was cleared.
        I have some real concerns about this legislation and where it is leading us. First of all, I have real
concern about the three-month moratorium and the possible extension of three months. Is it going to
stop there? Are they going to listen to the advice of people? Are they going to take notice of some of the
things that have been said in this parliament? There have been people speaking in this parliament who
know what they are talking about and should be listened to. Are they going to consider jobs or are they
just going to rip away from good, decent Queenslanders all that they have worked for, all that their
parents or their grandparents fought for and built with their own hands, and all the opportunities to grow
and develop their business?
        There is a wonderful opportunity here—and there has been since the 2004 legislation—to be able
to have balanced properties, which everyone talks about. People could have a percentage of their
property that is left in its natural state for the birds, kangaroos or whatever else is on the property, the
right parts of it for grain growing and other parts of it for grazing. As I mentioned before, there could be
nature strips that lead from one patch of bush to another to provide a safe corridor for animals, to protect
the property against fire and to protect the creek banks and slopes from erosion. It could be made into a
lovely place that blends with nature. People can provide for the animals, the birds and the reptiles while
producing food for our society.
        If we are not careful we will end up importing all of our food from cheap labour countries and not
producing food ourselves. Food security is one of the most important issues in the world today. In
Queensland we can provide our own clean, green food and we can also export to countries that need,
want and like our food. At the same time it would bring in some export dollars to this state and provide
jobs for our people.
        I am concerned about the definition of ‘endangered’. I am concerned about the satellite imagery
and the fact that land with 10 per cent or more cover with shrubs becomes blue. I have explained how
the brigalow suckers grow and need to be treated. That must be taken into account otherwise this
legislation is noxious and objectionable and works against good and decent people.
        I conclude by saying that we are facing a very dangerous time in the political democracy of
Queensland when deals can be done with people about selected preferences in selected seats and then
the government can come into the House and put the deals into place and walk all over decent people—
people who could well be twice as decent as the people that the government did the deals with. They
are contributing to jobs and our economy and are making this state the good state that we would like it to
be. It is about time this parliament and the government in particular started to stand up for these good
people who contribute to our state, who work hard, who value the environment and do everything by the
law and stopped treating them as criminals.
        Mr WENDT (Ipswich West—ALP) (8.32 pm): I take this opportunity to congratulate you,
Mr Deputy Speaker Ryan, on attaining the high post of Deputy Speaker. You have certainly earned your
money in the last half an hour.
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                        231

        In rising to participate in the debate on the Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing
Moratorium) Bill, I would like to address the effects of this bill on property maps of assessable vegetation
and exemptions and current approvals applicable under the Vegetation Management Act 1999. As we
all know, the Vegetation Management Act regulates the clearing of native vegetation, including remnant
vegetation on freehold land and both remnant vegetation and some regrowth vegetation on leasehold
land. As such, the act requires that applications to clear such native vegetation can only occur for
certain purposes with a permit.
        The Integrated Planning Act 1997 defines whether clearing of native vegetation is assessable
development or exempt development, called up by regional ecosystem or remnant vegetation maps,
and provides for a number of ‘exempt activities’ that allow for clearing of vegetation without a permit.
Under the current law this includes clearing of regrowth on freehold land and on state leasehold land for
agricultural and grazing purposes when the vegetation has been cleared after 31 December 1989.
        Another important exemption is for fire and clearing for fire management and control activities, as
prescribed by the Fire and Rescue Services Act 1990. As part of the Vegetation Management and Other
Legislation Amendment Bill in May 2004, property maps of assessable vegetation, or PMAVs as they
are commonly being referred to tonight, were introduced. Certified PMAVs replaced regional ecosystem
mapping for a property and determine if clearing of native vegetation is assessable under the Integrated
Planning Act. Landholders can apply for a PMAV over their property. Indeed, since 2004 the department
has processed approximately 4,600 of these landholder requested property maps.
        Unlike regional ecosystem mapping, which is subject to change, landholders can apply to lock in
the boundaries of non-remnant regrowth on their property as a category X on a PMAV. These areas can
be cleared and developed without needing further approvals, which gives landholders a certainty that
they can continue to manage this class of regrowth vegetation into the future without regulation under
Queensland’s vegetation management laws.
        The proposed legislative changes in this bill will give retrospective legal force to the moratorium
on clearing all regrowth vegetation within 50 metres of a watercourse in the priority Mackay-Whitsunday,
Burdekin and Wet Tropics reef catchments, and endangered regrowth vegetation on freehold and
leasehold land in rural areas across the state. Vegetation affected by the moratorium has been identified
on a map produced by the department. This map includes some areas of vegetation mapped as
category X on existing certified PMAVs, and as mentioned these PMAVs were issued to give certainty to
landholders, preserving their future ability to manage these areas without constraint of Queensland’s
vegetation management laws.
        Let me stress that the moratorium bill will not affect landholders who hold existing certified PMAVs
as they can still manage regrowth vegetation on their property that is marked as category X on a PMAV.
PMAV applications lodged with the department before 26 March this year will be assessed as usual
under the existing vegetation management laws. In other words, areas of non-remnant vegetation can
be locked in as category X areas for PMAV applications received before 26 March that contained all the
required material in the application. PMAV applications lodged on or after 26 March 2009, and not
finalised when the legislation commences, will be processed under the provisions of the moratorium bill.
        The moratorium bill will allow the department to defer decisions on existing PMAV applications
received on or after this date until after the moratorium ends if they could lead to the clearing of
vegetation protected by the moratorium. PMAV applications that clearly do not affect vegetation
protected by the moratorium may be decided as previously.
        I should also add that 26 March 2009 is the designated cut-off date because it was the day the
new government was sworn in, and giving effect to a moratorium to further protect native vegetation was
a clear election commitment of the government. These arrangements will protect regrowth vegetation
while the government works with stakeholders on longer term regulatory arrangements to protect high-
value regrowth. Landholders can still apply for a PMAV during the moratorium period and the
arrangements I have just described will apply.
        Landholders with existing development approvals to clear native vegetation, issued before 8 April
2009, are not affected by the moratorium and clearing that is a natural and ordinary consequence of the
development may be carried out as part of the approval. For applicants seeking development approval,
or who received an approval after 8 April to clear remnant vegetation, the existing requirements under
the Vegetation Management Act and Integrated Planning Act will apply. I commend the bill to the House.
        Hon. KJ JONES (Ashgrove—ALP) (Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability) (8.37 pm): I
rise to support the Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009. This bill provides
a clear demonstration of the Bligh government’s strong commitment to protect the most vulnerable of
our state’s significant natural values. I am extremely pleased to have the opportunity in my new role as
the Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability to speak in support of some particular aspects of this
bill that link very closely with my portfolio responsibilities.
        Mr Seeney: Don’t read that rubbish.
232                    Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                   23 Apr 2009

        Ms JONES: If you listen, I will tell you what I think. Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef is not only
one of the great natural wonders of the world; its value also lies in the role it plays in the economy of the
state and the nation.
        As the Bligh government has stated, our No. 1 priority is to protect jobs and the economy. As the
Premier said today, we on this side of the House believe that this does not have to mean that we cannot
also protect our environment. Keeping the reef healthy and making sure that the pressures on the reef
from land based impacts are reduced are what we need to do to protect the reef and the thousands of
jobs that depend on it.
        In supporting this bill I would like to focus on that part of the moratorium that will protect all native
regrowth vegetation within 50 metres of a watercourse in the priority reef catchments of the Burdekin,
Wet Tropics and Mackay-Whitsunday and how this will help achieve the outcomes of the Reef Water
Quality Protection Plan. The moratorium proposed by this bill has come about as a result of two
substantial factors—the first being that on 29 January this year the Premier announced that the
discharge of dangerous pesticides and fertilisers, capable of seriously damaging the Great Barrier Reef,
will be cut by 50 per cent in four years.
        At that time the Premier said that the government was also aiming to achieve a 20 per cent cut to
the amount of soil being washed out of the northern rivers by 2020. In February this year the
government released the annual Statewide Landcover and Trees Study report for 2006-07. This report
showed that significant and concerning rates of regrowth clearing was still occurring in Queensland. The
report also indicated that approximately 30 per cent of the state’s native vegetation clearing occurred in
reef catchments. Responding to the seriousness of this report, on 15 March the Premier made a
commitment during the state election that a new Labor government would introduce a three-month
moratorium on clearing of high-value regrowth native vegetation with a focus on endangered regrowth
vegetation in rural areas.
        The protection of riparian vegetation along watercourses and reef catchments during the period of
the moratorium also supports the Premier’s commitment to reduce the amounts of sediment entering
the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. The Premier’s commitment provided that consultation would be
undertaken with key stakeholder groups during the moratorium to discuss the best way forward for the
longer term management of this high-value regrowth vegetation. The moratorium proposed by this bill
would prevent the potential clearing of endangered native regrowth vegetation in rural areas across the
state and, very importantly, native regrowth vegetation in riparian areas of priority reef catchments.
        The riparian areas affected by the moratorium have been identified on a map produced by the
Department of Environment and Resource Management of the watercourses in the priority Burdekin,
Wet Tropics and Mackay-Whitsunday reef catchments. Landowners will be able to easily access this
information so that they will have no doubt if riparian vegetation on their properties has been included in
the moratorium. These catchments have been identified as high-risk areas due to their pollution loads
and proximity to the Great Barrier Reef. This map uses as its basis watercourses identified on one to
250,000 Geoscience Australia watercourse mapping. The moratorium has effect on all native woody
vegetation within 50 metres of mapped watercourses in these three priority reef catchments.
        To consider the reef and riparian aspects of this bill, it is important to understand what a
watercourse comprises. Under the Vegetation Management Act 1999, ‘watercourse’ is defined as ‘a
mapped river, creek or stream in which water flows permanently or intermittently in a natural or artificial
channel’. The term ‘watercourse’ also includes the bed and banks of the river, creek or stream. This
definition has been applied under the vegetation management arrangements since 2004 and has been
shown to be practical and applicable. Protecting native vegetation within 50 metres of watercourses will
have multiple environmental benefits, including having good vegetation cover—
        Mr Gibson: You’ve let me down. You have let me down!
        Ms JONES: I will never stoop to your level. Watercourses will have multiple environmental
benefits, including having good vegetation cover to help riparian areas to filter run-off from properties
and remove waterborne pollutants before they enter the river system. Protecting riparian vegetation will
also have significant benefits for both land and aquatic biodiversity. In addition, retaining a 50-metre
vegetation buffer on either side of watercourses will improve bank stability which will lead to less
sediment being discharged into our river systems and ultimately into the reef lagoon.
        These measures are an important contribution to the overall sustainability of the reef waterways
and the Great Barrier Reef and assist in directly achieving the aims of the Reef Water Quality Protection
Plan, commonly known as the reef plan. The reef plan aims to reduce the levels of pollutants entering
the reef from various sources, such as sediments and chemicals being discharged from broadscale
land-clearing activities. The moratorium supports the updated reef plan and will help achieve the
government’s target to reduce the level of pesticides and fertilisers reaching the Great Barrier Reef by
50 per cent in four years.
        The current condition of riparian vegetation is well known. The Burdekin water quality
improvement plan, for example, shows a large decline in the conditions of riparian habitats and many
23 Apr 2009                Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                           233

subcatchments due to flood plain and riparian clearing. Similarly, the reef plan has identified that run-off
from broadscale land activities, particularly where vegetation has been cleared or overgrazed, is one of
the primary drivers of long-term decline in water quality and Great Barrier Reef ecosystem health.
         The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem and one of the most complex
natural systems on earth, and we on this side of the House are determined to save it. The area has
significant environmental, social, economic and cultural values and plays an important role in the local,
regional and national economies.
         In summary, a moratorium on the clearing of riparian vegetation in high-risk catchment areas of
the Great Barrier Reef supports the government’s commitment to improve water quality and meet the
outcomes of the reef plan. As I have already said, protecting the reef means protecting the jobs that
depend on it. This bill protects the high-value vegetation regrowth while the government consults with
landholders and key stakeholders on how it can be effectively protected in the longer term, and I
commend the bill to the House.
         Mr Gibson: You disappointed me, Kate.
         Ms JONES: I didn’t want any of your crappy interjections in Hansard.
         Opposition members interjected.
         Mr Seeney: I think you better withdraw that. Come on!
         Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms Farmer): Order! I ask the minister to withdraw.
         Ms JONES: I withdraw that comment.
         Mrs CUNNINGHAM (Gladstone—Ind) (8.45 pm): I rise to speak to the Vegetation Management
(Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009. Like previous speakers, I am disappointed that the first bill
that we debate—indeed, the first emergent bill that we debate—is not about jobs, is not about job
creation, is not about something that is fundamental to this state in terms of debt reduction but is
vegetation management. I am sure that those in my electorate would rather see us debating bills that
will create more employment and job certainty and security. Speakers on the opposition side have talked
in great measure about the fact that this bill is a payback to the Greens for the preference deal that was
done. I have listened with great interest to both sides in relation to this fact, and unfortunately the truth is
that it is a payback.
         The Premier’s comments in relation to this legislation made a great deal of sense. She talked
about the fact that this bill is actually an opportunity for a moratorium to ensure debate and to ensure
consultation, and she is right. But I will be opposing this piece of legislation not because it is an
opportunity for discussion and not because it is an opportunity for consultation but because it is a
fundamental removal of any sense of certainty to landowners who are trying to work productively on
rural and regional land.
         There has been debate in this chamber about vegetation management and vegetation clearing
over a protracted period of time. Landowners in my electorate and further afield have an increasing
sense of uncertainty in relation to the management of their properties. It was said earlier that the current
minister stated when he was minister previously that there would be a line in the sand and that
landowners would know how they could manage their properties. That has proven over time not to be
true. Landowners who believe that they have accepted not only government legislation but also
regulation and who have attempted to the best of their ability to incorporate into their land management
strategies the requirements of government, believing the assurances of government ministers that the
regulations and the obligations being placed on them would be the last ones, have found that not to be
true. After this most recent state election, this piece of legislation further erodes their ability to be
confident that this government is interested in any way, shape or form in the long-term management of
rural land.
         I want to read into Hansard two emails—one in particular. The first one is an email from Peter
Mahony, and I want to read one paragraph into Hansard. Peter Mahony states—
At Clermont we called for a united front from our agricultural lobby groups; a call reiterated at Rockhampton and a call they have
heard loud and clear. The QFF, Agforce, PRA, ABA and CCA are certainly in agreeance that these proposed new laws regarding
regrowth, wild rivers and reef runoff are purely driven by politics and have no economic, ecological or environmental benefit for the
state compared to the status before the introduction of these laws. These political lobby groups have an integral, ongoing role in
turning the tide on this environmental debate. As members I urge you to keep pressure on them to throw all they can at this issue.
        But more importantly, I want to place on the record an email that I received from a family in my
electorate. Larry and Ann Coward own Fairview. It is a significantly sized property in my electorate. They
came in from the west. They bought the property, expecting to be able to manage the property and
provide an income for themselves and their family. They have been buffeted not just by Queensland
legislation but by things such as industrial development in Gladstone, whereby railway lines were going
to traverse their property and make the integrated provision of stock watering and stock access very
difficult. Ann has come to me on a number of occasions in relation to railway lines that will traverse their
property. She has outlined to me the difficulties that they as a family have faced not only economically
but also emotionally.
234                        Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                  23 Apr 2009

      Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms Johnstone): Order! Those who wish to continue having
conversations please leave the chamber.
      Mrs CUNNINGHAM: And I would ask that people respect the family who are being affected in the
way that they are in my electorate. Larry and Ann Coward have been significantly affected by
government decisions. Ann has come in and spoken to me. Larry has not, and in great measure
because he is finding it difficult to manage the impact on his property that government decisions are
causing. They wrote to me on 22 April—yesterday—and said—
As our local member for parliament I am writing to ask for your support in opposing further restrictions and regulation on
vegetation management particularly that of future regrowth control.
My family has a cattle property within your electorate that has been affected by the proposed new vegetation management laws.
We are very angered by this latest attack on the farming sector by the Labor government. This latest attack is nothing more than a
grab for green votes so as to secure another term in office. There is no economic, ecological or environmental reason for this
latest land grab from the current government. Mrs Bligh doesn’t give a toss about endangered regrowth, the Great Barrier Reef or
the welfare of country Queensland—all this is is a grab for power at farmers expense and an agenda from the extreme greens to
stop land clearing altogether.
As a business sector we felt that we had managed the current land clearing (vegetation management legislation) well and had
adjusted our economics and land management practices accordingly. We have been dealt another severe blow to our industry
and cannot trust a government that keeps changing the goal posts and the laws to suit.
Furthermore the mapping that we have been issued that covers the latest land grab (blue spots on the maps) are incorrect. Areas
shown on our maps that are now to be locked up with no further regrowth management are predominantly grass pastures. Other
farmers have said that their blue dots cover the sorghum crop perfectly. The mapping that this land grab is based on is also
incorrect. There are stories of land clearing done under permit that is still not mapped correctly on the RE maps.
We have contacted staff at DNR and have been advised that there is no avenue for us to question the validation of the new blue
areas on our maps even though we feel that they are incorrect. At this point in time we have no right to appeal.
If the government continues down this road of taking away our productive land areas we will be unable to continue to operate
profitable businesses. Queensland’s beef industry is the state’s largest agricultural industry with an estimated value of $3.39 billion
in 07/08 making up the 35% of the total value of agriculture in the state. The Labor government cannot be allowed to continue to
appease the extreme greens at the expense of Queensland farmers and I implore you to support us in our endeavour to make the
government use some commonsense and due diligence to those living and working outside of the south east corner of the state.
I look forward to your support in this matter.
        I acknowledge that so many people might say, ‘Oh, Liz,’ but for Ann and Larry Coward, it is their
livelihood. As I said, they have not only been affected by this legislation, they have been affected also by
other decisions that this government has made in relation to my electorate. Some of those decisions are
very positive, but for the Cowards they have been detrimental.
        In relation to this legislation, there has been no opportunity for the Scrutiny of Legislation
Committee to report on this bill. Therefore, there is no indication as to the bill’s true impact on
landowners. We have no idea how many people will be affected by this bill. We have no idea about the
economic and financial impact of this legislation. We have no real idea of the impact on the productivity
of the land that will be affected by the legislation.
        The retrospectivity that is contained in this legislation is not curative. It takes away the appeal and
litigation rights of affected landowners. It reverses the onus of proof and it gives landowners no
opportunity for compensation.
        There is no indication that the mapping that is being proposed by the legislation will be ground
truthed. We have seen in other pieces of legislation in relation to vegetation management that ground
truthing is essential. It is critical to ensuring that the mapping is accurate. Other vegetation management
legislation falls far short not only on accuracy but also on any attempt to ground truth the decisions that
have been made and landowners remain frustrated by those decisions.
        People in my electorate and beyond are now put in a position of uncertainty. As other speakers on
this side of the House have said, when the current minister was the minister previously, he said that
vegetation management legislation will draw a line in the sand and landowners will know where they
stand. Unfortunately, that statement has proven to be untrue. Landowners do not know where they
stand.
        This legislation brings into sharp focus further uncertainty for landowners. It takes away all the
pre-existing rights and offers no right of compensation, no right of appeal and no right of challenge.
Although this legislation only introduces a moratorium on regrowth vegetation clearing, the fact is that
we are debating a principle and the principle from the perspective of rural landowners in my electorate is
that this government is not offering them fair and reasonable treatment, it is not offering them clarity and
it is not offering them an opportunity to be treated fairly. It is offering them an opportunity of uncertainty,
of not know what the future will hold, and it is offering them a certainty that they will not be able to rely on
this government to give them security in the future. I will not be supporting the legislation.
        Mrs PRATT (Nanango—Ind) (8.57 pm): I rise to speak to the Vegetation Management (Regrowth
Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009. In 2004, the Labor government introduced the vegetation management
bill and tonight in her speech the Premier accused the member for Callide of implying doom and gloom
and that the legislation then and now would bring to an end civilisation as we know it. I think—and I
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                          235

hope—the Premier said that in jest. The vegetation management legislation did not bring the Premier’s
world to an end, but for many it was no jesting matter and it did end the world as they knew it in terms of
how they operated their properties. In some circumstances, it even put an end to their ability to have a
reasonable income.
          Most people may or may not know that most farmers do not have superannuation as most of us
have superannuation. They do not have employers to top up their superannuation for when they retire.
So those landholders look for alternatives to superannuation. They would buy a property that was treed
so that when the time came they could fell the trees and then have a reasonable income for their later
years for themselves and their wives.
         Vegetation management stopped many of them clearing those trees and their properties became
virtually worthless to them. So the government literally robbed them of their future and forced many on
to pensions that they may not necessarily have needed to access in the years to come.
         At the time I believed that, if the government on behalf of the people of Queensland believed that
it was in the best interest of Queensland to close off areas, to stop tree clearing or to do whatever was
necessary for the good of Queensland, then it was up to the government on behalf of all Queenslanders
to pay a price for taking away people’s right to clear land, their right to harvest trees and their right to
develop properties as some people tried to do in the past. Property deals fell through because the
purchaser was unable to develop the land in the way they wanted to. I still believe this is appropriate and
people should be compensated justly for their losses—and they are losses.
         At the time I believe ground-truthing was supposed to be undertaken but it was not undertaken
extensively. To this day many properties that were supposed to be ground-truthed under the original
legislation have not been ground-truthed. Will ground-truthing be done now to make sure that the blue
covers the right areas? As members have heard tonight—and as I have witnessed on maps myself over
the last couple of days and have had many phone calls about—that is not the case. It has not been
ground-truthed in any way, shape or form.
         People have talked about locking in their properties with PMAVs. But many believed that they did
not have to do that because they believed it was cut and dried. The department showed them their map
and if they were happy with it they did not have to lock it in. But, again, the rules have changed and we
are now finding out the reasons why the rules have been changed.
         A gentleman rang me last night. After the vegetation management maps came out, the PMAVs,
he decided after looking at all the properties around the South Burnett area that instead of hanging on to
his small property, which he was holding for his superannuation, he would sell it and invest in equipment
to work the white areas, and he would make a good living. There are a lot of regrowth clearers who do
that; they have their own area. He rang up in a bit of a panic last night saying, ‘Have you seen the map?
The blue colour is all over my area.’ I asked, ‘How much area have you lost?’ He said, ‘In excess of
65 per cent.’ He said, ‘There is no way my wife and I can make a living out of that.’ We are not talking
about just individuals or unknown persons. They are human beings and they will lose their income if
these blue areas become a permanent fixture on the land that they are working.
         If this government does not take these people’s concerns as gospel then they will not be prepared
to listen at all. If this government does nothing to ensure that those whose livelihoods are affected and
depleted are duly compensated, then the government is negligent in ensuring that the welfare of
Queenslanders is protected. Perhaps if they were not farmers or if they had the finances to fight the
government or perhaps if they had voted Labor, the government just might listen to them. They were the
words—cynical words, I might add—that were said to me last night. That was a quote from a landholder.
I think it is a very sad reflection of the state of politics when a percentage of the people feel so
disenfranchised from their government. This government is their government too, yet I sometimes
believe this government forgets that.
         It has been put forward that the banning of regrowth clearing is to protect and provide corridors for
animals and to preserve our forests et cetera. But the blue patches do not cover our forests. They may
indeed provide corridors for our animals and they may indeed protect those animals. But don’t you think
it is incredibly revealing that in a society where we profess to be enlightened we have more concern and
empathy for our animals than we have for our fellow human beings? Animals have more rights than
human beings in this case. It is okay to protect animals and their habitats. But in doing so surely there is
an obligation on the government to ensure that those affected are not unduly penalised, are not made
destitute, are not through no fault of their own forced to go to Centrelink and ask for the age pension and
left to struggle in retirement—living hand to mouth as many do—when in fact only a few weeks ago their
future of a reasonable retirement was assured. If this is allowed to occur, the government has literally
robbed these people of their future, and I think that is a deplorable situation.
         Since being elected in 1998 I have witnessed the gap that exists between the government and
those who oppose bills such as this who are primarily based in the rural sector of the country. That gap
has widened so much that I think it is almost impossible to jump. I have heard that many on the
government side portray farmers as ‘vegetation vandals’. To my knowledge, that is not the case. The
farming sector has cowboys just as there are cowboys in teaching, cowboys in law and cowboy doctors
236                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                   23 Apr 2009

and surgeons. There are cowboys out there in every industry. But the majority of people who live on the
land live by a motto: look after the land and it will look after you. In years gone by I have seen farmers
forced to clear land because it was a government edict and their children have turned around and
replanted areas to prevent erosion and to preserve their land. So to describe them as ‘vegetation
vandals’ is just rhetoric, totally inaccurate and a cheap shot.
         Then I hear others say that they are chemical junkies and that they go out there and willy-nilly
spray chemicals like it is a cheap perfume. Believe me, it is not cheap perfume; it is as dear as poison. I
speak from authority on this because, as most members know, my husband is an ag pilot. He makes his
living from spraying chemicals. I know exactly how far away they spray from watercourses because
there is a law relating to that. I know just how careful they are with the amount of chemicals. So they do
not waste it, believe me.
         Farming is a much maligned industry but every one of us eats because of it. Some member
mentioned the ‘Every family needs a farmer’ campaign, which has been going on for quite a while. But
for some unknown reason this government seems to say, ‘This government needs to flog a farmer,’
because that is what it is doing. It is flogging them daily. It is flogging them into submission. It is flogging
them out of business. I just cannot help but see the double standard between the way this government
treats the man on the land and the way it treats the mining industry. It is just amazing that the
government cannot see the hypocrisy in that particular act.
         While I encourage mining—and I know my area is very grateful to have Tarong Energy there—
although the government is aware of the greenhouse gases emitted, it is allowing the mining industry to
find other ways to mitigate those greenhouse gases. Yet when it comes to the man on the land there is
no allowance. It just shuts them down and kicks them out. I find that incredibly sad. It affects not just the
beef or sheep industry but also the dairy industry and broadacre cropping. All agricultural industries are
affected by vegetation management and this particular bill will affect a lot more people.
         Yes, I know this is an eight-week moratorium but it does not stop the threat, the concern, the
worry and the uncertainty of what the future holds for landholders. If all of this land that is covered in
blue at the moment is entrenched, we will see within every agricultural industry and within every
associated rural industry at least one or two go to the wall. There is a global economic crisis and, yes,
jobs are being lost by the thousands. But the rural sector is holding its own and that has to be
acknowledged. If any jobs are lost in the rural sector, those losses are purely going to be laid at the feet
of the government.
         I despair sometimes when I hear the government say that it wants to have discussions with
industry bodies et cetera, because what the government takes to those discussions seems to be exactly
what gets passed. Yes, the government may have gone out there and had discussions, but did it hear,
did it listen and did it change anything? That is my major concern, because I have not seen a lot of that
over the last 11 years.
         We have heard many reasons why this moratorium bill is being rushed through the parliament
tonight and why debate has been guillotined. I do not see democracy at work here tonight. That is what
I stood for and that is why I continue to stand: to see that democracy is played out. Because we have a
unicameral parliament, that never seems to happen. It just seems to be, ‘This is what we want. This is
what we are going to do and you can all just go suck it.’ That is what it seems like. That is what the
people feel like. They are so disenfranchised and disheartened by this government when it comes to the
rural sector that their cynicism grows not hourly but by the second.
         This bill will pass because the government has the numbers. The only avenue left to those who
oppose it is to oppose it strongly and to try to make the government understand. So I ask this
government to please try to understand the predicament that it is putting many individuals in, be they
landholders or associated businesses. With the passage of this vegetation management bill the
government must recognise that it is actually hurting people—literally taking the money out of their
pockets—and reducing the productiveness of the land and devaluing it. There will be less work for
associated businesses, whether it be supplying tractors or anything else, and they will fold. Industries
that supply steel and machinery will lay off workers because they will be selling less. There will be a
domino effect. In a time when many jobs are being lost, we do not need to be losing any more. We
should be fighting to save every single one.
         I have heard many comments being thrown across the chamber tonight and one adage comes
clearly to mind: it is better to be thought an idiot and not open your mouth than to open your mouth and
prove it. Unfortunately, many of the half-smart comments that have been tossed around from the
government side prove the truth of that. I think it is very sad that those opposite are happy to show their
ignorance in that way. If members do not know anything, they should not comment.
         This pretty blue which has sprouted across all our maps has not been done selectively, as I have
said. It covers cropping areas that have been growing crops for generations, it covers areas marked for
housing developments and it covers five-acre blocks. I cannot imagine any of those opposite wanting to
live on a five-acre block and never be able to mow it to keep the snakes at bay or anything else. People
23 Apr 2009               Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                     237

who own these five-acre blocks have their own little tractors. How will the government police those small
five-acre blocks?
       This pretty blue covers all the watercourses. There are areas in the South Burnett that I am aware
of—and I am yet to find exactly how this affects the Downs, but I think the member for Condamine
outlined it pretty well himself—where these watercourses are so close that 50 metres from each bank
will mean that there might be a footpath between the two if one is lucky. I cannot see a peanut crop
being grown on that little strip. I know that my husband could spray it, but I am pretty sure they will not
grow many peanuts.
       This moratorium is only eight weeks but it has the potential to do much damage. This bill will hurt.
Those affected must be heard and not be sacrificed for a deal with the Greens. That deal and its effect
are reprehensible. It is disappointing that at this time of devastating job losses we are debating a bill that
will mean the loss of more jobs.
       There is no certainty for farmers anymore. The government has taken that away. How can
farmers believe the government? They believed those opposite last time and got on with their lives,
albeit reluctantly. Now they have literally had their dreams blown away. There is no avenue for appeal.
Where are the rights and justice for Queenslanders that those opposite are supposed to represent?
       Mr WELLINGTON (Nicklin—Ind) (9.14 pm): I rise to participate in the debate on the Vegetation
Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009. I refer to the Governor’s speech, delivered next
door on Tuesday, in which she said—
My Government will place a three month moratorium on the clearing of regrowth to allow consultation with landowners about how
best to protect endangered vegetation.
She then went on to say—
My Government will continue to hold Community Cabinet meetings in regional Queensland because great ideas and great ways of
doing things come from members of the community.
My Government will be one that listens and responds to the challenges of the times.
My challenge to the government is: after this bill has been passed—no doubt it will be—will it take a
community cabinet meeting to the regional parts of Queensland directly affected by it?
        I am also disappointed that today—the very first time the Scrutiny of Legislation Committee has
met and before that committee has had any realistic opportunity to consider the implications of this bill
and make a report to this parliament for the assistance of all 89 members of parliament—this bill has
been rushed through. I believe it is totally unnecessary. I do recognise that people have put forward a
very strong case for the support of this bill. Be that as it may, we have no upper house, as other
members have said; we have no house of review. The best we have is our committee system. No-one
during this debate has, in my mind, put forward any convincing case to me, or I believe to any
Queenslander, as to why this committee system is being abused in the way it certainly is tonight.
        There is no reason for this bill to be guillotined this evening. I realise that it is quarter past nine
now and that by half past 11 tonight the debate will be finalised. Can I say, without taking up more of
members’ time, that I will not be supporting the bill and I challenge the government to take a community
cabinet meeting to the parts of Queensland directly affected by this bill now that this bill is out in the
open and Queenslanders have a chance to see what the government is proposing to do.
        Mr McLINDON (Beaudesert—LNP) (9.17 pm): As the former chairman of environment and
sustainability for Logan City Council, I was extremely pleased to see that one of the first bills I was to
have the privilege to speak to related to vegetation management. Unfortunately, I was extremely
disappointed to see the devil in the detail and came to the conclusion that it should be called the ‘biting
the hand that feeds bill 2009’.
        I had a phone call from a constituent on Saturday as I was heading across to a community
meeting. He was in dire straits. He said, ‘Aidan, come out to Boonah, mate. There’s an endangered
roundabout.’ I said to him, ‘No worries. I’ll get the local councillor’s direct number for you and we’ll get it
sorted.’ He said, ‘No, no, it goes bigger than that. This is a state issue.’ After two or three minutes on the
phone I said, ‘No worries. I’ll head out there as soon as I can.’ That afternoon I went out there and met
him. He saw me, pointed over to the roundabout and said, ‘Aidan, that is endangered.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He
pulled the map out and sure enough it was. There was no fig tree, mind you—just grass. I thought to
myself that maybe they were protecting the grass so that they could smoke it before they did the next
bill. Then I looked to my left and I saw six cocos palms lining a football field.
        Government members interjected.
        Mr McLINDON: I cannot hear from here, sorry, but thank you for tuning in. Then on the far right,
the Boonah Information Centre with rolling flat green grass was also classified as endangered. This,
mind you, was fit to have afternoon tea on with Queen Elizabeth herself. Has the government written to
the council? Has the government written to landowners? Have you bothered to put a 55 cent stamp on a
letter to at least let them know what you intend to do?
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Wendt): Order! I ask the member not to use the word ‘you’.
238                  Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill               23 Apr 2009

        Mr McLINDON: My apologies, Mr Deputy Speaker. I thought I could get away with it in my first
speech, but I will make sure I do not do it again.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I ask the member to take my direction.
        Mr McLINDON: The Labor Party, which boasts about catering for social justice and the rights of
the individual, needs to understand that it does not govern to the people; it should govern with the
people. Clearly this bill does not do that. The only conclusion I can come up with as to how the
government got these marks on the map is that the members of the cabinet had a night on the turps,
blindfolded each other and played pin the tail on the donkey.
        The founders of the ALP will be turning in their graves to see Labor members completely
undermining the basic fundamentals of social justice and the rights of the individual. The centralised
ideology has catered for 10 per cent of Queenslanders but it will take future governments decades to get
out of this mess. One thing I do give the ALP credit for is that it has pocketed something in a slick
marketing campaign and reduced something as serious as this into two words and called it ‘vegetation
management’.
        Society is very busy these days and most households need two incomes to support a mortgage,
so now the government has targeted its message in an eight-second grab on television or a 250-word
media release and it has been completely sidelined by the reality of what this will do to each and every
one of these people’s lives it will affect. In fact, it has come to the point where the whole of Queensland
has become crown land. We will now be referred to as ‘crown’s land’, and you may as well create a new
numberplate while you are in the process.
        Let me outline three things that have happened to these people who put food on our plates.
Firstly, this government landlocked their properties, then you turned around and you means-tested them
at an unrealistic price—
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I ask the member to refrain from using the word ‘you’.
        Mr McLINDON: I apologise. I will refrain. Then to rub salt in their wounds, the government
dictates an act about what they can and cannot do with their land without having the courtesy of letting
them know. On top of that, if the landowners do accidentally find out, the government turns around and
charges them for the map. In fact, a PMAV would cost $330. These people put food on our tables and
they pay their taxes, but the government has the audacity to turn around and charge them for a map
which will let them know what the government will do to their property.
        On a very serious issue, the brother of this gentleman who took me out and gave me a ground-
truth in the Boonah area took his own life four years ago because of what the government had done and
the financial constraints that he was under. This is the reality.
        A government member: That is outrageous.
        Mr McLINDON: You are right; it is absolutely disgraceful.
        Mr CHOI: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to a point of order. I find the member’s comment offensive
and I ask that it be withdrawn.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member has asked for you to withdraw because he found it
offensive. Do you withdraw?
        Ms SIMPSON: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to a point of order.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Excuse me, Member for Maroochydore. I am dealing with the first point
of order. The member has asked that it be withdrawn because he found the comment offensive.
        Mr McLINDON: I found the statement offensive too because of the reality of it. I withdraw. The
reality is that it is offensive and I do withdraw it. It offends me as well that people get caught in these
circumstances and take their own lives because of the bills the government brings into this parliament
without considering the reality and the unintended consequences.
        What is even more bizarre is the lantana. There are acres and acres and acres of it, and I have a
picture of it here. Lantana actually prevents the vegetation that they are trying to save from growing.
How does that make sense? So the government says, ‘We will protect the lantana so the riparian
vegetation cannot grow, and we will call it vegetation management.’ It is nothing more than vegetation
mismanagement.
        Mr ROBERTSON: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to a point of order. That is untrue and I ask the
member to withdraw.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is not a point of order, Minister. Please continue.
        Mr McLINDON: I have covered most of my points here tonight. If I had had more time, I would
certainly have covered more.
        Government members interjected.
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                          239

         Mr McLINDON: These people are in dire straits. The people from Boonah have suffered enough
under this government. Let me just mention one more example. I will stretch it out if you want me to—no
worries.
         Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I have asked the member not to use the word ‘you’, please.
         Mr McLINDON: Sorry, Mr Deputy Speaker. I will stretch it out even further if the government
wishes me to. The reality is that, if the mowing man is subcontracted from the Scenic Rim Regional
Council to mow the roundabout that is endangered, who will get dragged through the court system? Will
it be the council? Will it be the man on the mower? This is the stupidity of this bill, and the government
certainly did not give it much time or thought before it brought it in here. It was a last minute, two-worded
bill to impress those people who thought it was actually going to protect the vegetation.
         Also, potentially costly inaccuracies have been exposed by the local AgForce chair and Bunburra
grazier Errol Stenzel. He estimates that in his area alone local moratorium maps with dark blue overlays
showing what is supposed to be regrowth are an astounding 70 to 80 per cent wrong. These are just on
the maps we have actually had an opportunity to study. Imagine what we would find if we pulled out a
map of Queensland. We on this side of the House probably support the 15 or 20 per cent that we have
the potential to get right; it is the 80 to 85 per cent that are wrong where each and every one of us on
this side of the House will speak up for the whole of Queensland.
         I am absolutely disgusted that a party that prides itself on and boasts about social justice has
completely undermined these landowners. I am embarrassed to be part of a parliament which has
introduced a bill—the first bill that I get a chance to speak to—in which the government has completely
undermined the people who have made a living in Queensland. All I can say is that hungry people do
not stay hungry for long. We will be sitting here in a couple of years waiting for the boats to come in for
our imports that have been sprayed with a glossy wax that makes the fruit last for another 10 months.
That is exactly where we are heading. I hope I have made my point clear. I urge the government to
review the bill and withdraw it immediately.
         Mrs SULLIVAN (Pumicestone—ALP) (9.26 pm): I want to say at the outset that I am extremely
disappointed at some of the comments that have been made in this chamber tonight about preference
deals from the Greens. I believe that in recognition of my Greens credentials I was one of the sitting
Labor members who was very fortunate to get Greens preference deals—sorry, Greens preferences in
this election.
         Opposition members interjected.
         Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Wendt): Order! I remind members that if they are not in their seat
they should not be interjecting.
         Mrs SULLIVAN: Thank you for your protection, Mr Deputy Speaker. I am very happy to admit that
I was one of the sitting Labor members who got Greens preferences at this state election. I have to also
admit that the Greens candidate spoke to the LNP before the state election but the Greens candidate
chose to preference me. As I said, that was not for one single piece of legislation. I was given the
Greens preference because of what I have done for the environment over the years. At the end of the
day, I actually did not need the preferences but I was very proud to have them because it just proved
that, if you have looked after the environment for the amount of time that I have, you will get the Greens
preferences.
         I rose in this House in April 2004 to support the government’s Vegetation Management Bill which
did put an end to large broad-scale clearing of remnant vegetation in this state. I am certainly proud to
rise again to support this bill tonight. The same minister who introduced the 2004 legislation—the Hon.
Stephen Robertson—has now introduced this bill tonight. As part of my speech in 2004, I congratulated
the minister for introducing the bill that would take a significant step in Queensland’s tree-clearing laws.
Protection was afforded to of-concern remnant vegetation on freehold land for the first time.
         The significance of this cannot be underestimated. I did quote at the time from a publication which
was jointly funded by the Queensland Conservation Council and the Wilderness Society titled ‘We’re
clearing like there’s no tomorrow’. It points out, among other things, that land clearing in Australia has
resulted in considerable erosion, salinity and the strangling of several major river systems. The
outcomes of this clearing are well documented—land degradation, worsening of droughts, and the
death of many millions of native animals and the extinction of many specific species. These are the
issues that will cost jobs.
         The publication went on to state that Australia is the sixth highest land clearer in the world. Every
hour an area of native Australian bush the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground is destroyed. We are
now in the top 10 with Third World countries like Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Burma, and we are the second
worst forest destroyer in the OECD countries after Mexico. Although there has been a decrease in the
number of hectares cleared over the past five years, the amount is still too high. It is a great concern and
is not sustainable. Therefore, I wish to congratulate the minister again for introducing this bill, which is a
step in the right direction toward improving our environmental outlook, assisting in the reduction of
greenhouse gases and helping to combat global warming, which affects our health and our overall
240                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                 23 Apr 2009

economy. We need to work together to do our bit to improve Australia’s environmental image in the
world and the future of our planet.
       A scientific paper titled ‘Environmental crisis: climate change and terrestrial biodiversity in
Queensland’ sounds a stark warning about the impacts of climate change on the environment, our
health and safety, primary industries and water quality. It clearly states that widespread clearing of
natural vegetation exacerbates gas build-up and reduces the resilience of the landscape to the effects of
climate change. The opposition would have us believe that we do not care for the bush; that we do not
look after the welfare of country Queensland. I recall in 2004 that the state Labor government under
Peter Beattie’s leadership was the only government which offered compensation packages to those
rural producers who were adversely affected by the vegetation management bill. We could not convince
the federal Liberal government of the day to contribute in any way to our offer of $150 million.
       The bill we are debating today is a commitment made during the state election as part of our
environmental platform. We promise to further protect existing vegetation, and the introduction of a
moratorium on clearing of around one million hectares of regrowth vegetation will achieve just that.
During this moratorium this bill extends the existing band on broadscale clearing of remnant vegetation
to now include important high-value regrowth, some of which is so mature and has not been cleared for
many years that it has the same ecological and conservation values as remnant vegetation.
       We will also protect endangered regrowth vegetation on freehold and leasehold land in rural
areas across Queensland for a minimum of three months and all native regrowth vegetation within 50
metres of a watercourse in some northern priority catchments to assist in the reduction of pollutant
levels affecting the Great Barrier Reef.
       The moratorium must be put in place to enable time to consult with stakeholders on long-term
arrangements that will achieve the best possible objectives of this legislation. But there are exemptions.
Landowners can legitimately continue to clear regrowth vegetation in the moratorium area for most
property management activities that are already exempt under the Integrated Planning Act 1997.
Among other things, these exemptions include burning off and fire breaks to protect life and property.
Bushfire management and public safety are paramount, as has been shown in the devastating recent
Victorian bushfires. Can I take this opportunity to thank all the Queenslanders who donated to the
Victorian bushfire appeal. Despite the fact that we had our own tragedy in North Queensland with
floods, we still found plenty to give to our southern neighbours. I attended fundraisers by several groups
in my local area. The Bongaree Bowls club raised $5,000, the Caboolture Bowls Club raised $500, and
the Pumicestone Country Music Club raised $4,000. What generosity their members and friends
displayed.
       I concur with the member for Barron River’s comments. No land, no matter where it is, no matter
who owns it or whether you lease it comes unconditionally. No-one has a God-given right to expect a
100 per cent yield from land or expect to do whatever they like. Those days are gone, and we are far
better educated now to understand that this attitude is simply not sustainable. We do not have this
legislation wrong, like the opposition would have you believe. People were aware of it before they voted
and we received the support of the majority of Queenslanders.
       I commend the bill to the House.
       Mr DICKSON (Buderim—LNP) (9.34 pm): I rise to speak to this bill with great concern about the
impact on our state. What our farmers and other landholders need is an economic climate with more
certainty. This bill will create huge uncertainty. We do not know what permanent decisions about land
use will result from this proposed moratorium which affects more than one million hectares of land. The
government says that the three-month moratorium may need to be extended by another three months in
case further consultation is required. There needs to be further analysis of economic and environmental
impacts—a measure that may be implemented at the end of this moratorium period.
       The bill further states that the aim is not to unduly affect the interest of developers or landholders.
How can they not be affected when they face six months of being unable to use their land, and after the
moratorium will see these measures introduced to prevent them from using their land at all? How can
landholders plan ahead in the face of this uncertainty? The government introduced its Vegetation
Management and Other Legislation Amendment Bill in 2004 claiming that it would ensure greater
certainty for landowners in the management of regrowth. This bill flies in the face of those claims.
       This bill will inhibit farming of food production. It will, in turn, help promote imported food product
such as imported bananas and the like. If we prevent farmers from maximising food production we will
ensure more job losses. Was it not this government’s big election promise that it would save jobs and
create 100,000 more? This moratorium could impact on jobs in rural and regional Queensland for six
months and beyond. We know that our agricultural sector is resisting the economic downturn. The
recent rain has given farmers reason for optimism about their future production. Primary industry was
Queensland’s second most important export earner in the last financial year. It employs over 100,000
people. We have more land use for agriculture than any other state in Australia. Of course we need to
protect our environment and our river systems but not at the expense of industry that is so vital to our
economic viability. This is yet another example of a government pretending it wants to protect the
23 Apr 2009               Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                          241

environment. It continues to say that it will construct the Traveston Dam, which will flood some of the
state’s most valuable farming land. Food security is something that we need to take more seriously.
       Recently the CEO of Woolworths stated publicly that it should be at the top of the federal
government’s agenda. He believes the role of the farm sector needs to be better recognised. Food
security is not just a problem for Australia. Global output needs to double by the year 2050 if we are
going to feed the world’s population.
Tabled paper: Article from the Queensland Country Life, dated 16 April 2009, titled ‘Woolies Tells Rudd: Help Australian farmers’.
        This is not just about this year or next year. This is about the long term and future generations.
They are the ones who will have to live with the realities of food security. If we do not protect and
promote what we do better than most countries—our primary industry—this will be a major problem for
future generations. Like climate change, it is not something you put on the backburner. We should
actively ensure that our land is being used in the best possible way to maximise production. Leading
primary industry stakeholders like AgForce and the Queensland Farmers Federation have already
expressed concern about the potential effects of this moratorium. They point to the impacts of jobs and
the potential of some of our most productive land to be made unavailable for farming. They also
question the environmental outcomes of this moratorium.
        Queensland announced this moratorium in March in the election commitment. I believe
consultation with stakeholders like AgForce and the Farmers Federation did not take place until April.
Further, I note that in the explanatory notes prior to consultation with the government departments it
apparently did not include primary industries. That is a bit of a shock to the system. Surely that is one
department that should be protecting and promoting the future of farming land in this state.
        It is difficult not to see this election announcement as a cynical ploy for green votes. This
government is sending out a message that it regards farmers and landholders as irresponsible vandals
who clear land with no thought for the environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone who
takes even a passing interest in the current farming issues knows that sustainability, landcare and
management are essential to modern farming. Rather than rushing this retrospective legislation, why
would the government not undertake consultation with these key stakeholders on the best way to
ensure outcomes that would be both environmentally and economically sound? Perhaps because they
would not have been such a catchy election vote grabber.
        We need to see this legislation for what it is—a threat not just to Queensland jobs but the whole
long-term future of one of the state’s most important industries. The Labor government has done a deal
with the Greens and sold out the people of Queensland. How can a regrowth clearing bill stop the
Traveston Dam or create jobs? Why do the Labor Party and Greens not amalgamate and call
themselves the ‘Job Destruction Party’.
        This bill before the House is not urgent. No-one will die if it is not passed tonight. Why is this
government not concerned about Queensland jobs? If it were, it would not be debating this bill. One
would expect that this government would be talking about fast-tracking hospitals, talking about fixing a
rusting desalination plant on the Gold Coast, talking about how to help local government with their
enormous cost blow-outs due to forced council amalgamations. How will this regrowth bill help them pay
their bills and create employment opportunities? The Labor government needs to remember who it is
working for. Is it working for the Greens or is it working for the taxpayers and the workers of
Queensland?
        Ms SIMPSON (Maroochydore—LNP) (9.40 pm): When rapists and paedophiles have greater
legal rights to protect themselves than Queensland farming families, something has gone amiss. This
week Premier Bligh introduced draconian new laws which threaten the food security and jobs of
Queenslanders and the economic development of Queensland under the smokescreen of protecting the
environment. These radical changes to the Vegetation Management Act mean that existing cropping
and grazing land will be shut down throughout vast areas of Queensland’s food production areas with
no reference to science, no right to appeal and no right to compensation for loss of livelihood.
        When did farmers become so demonised, so expendable in the eyes of a Labor Premier who did
not even bat a botoxed eyelid as she sold them out for Green preferences? Queensland’s food
producers are the new untouchables who, under Premier Anna Bligh’s leadership, are treated lower
than the lowest of a new caste system. They are the new have-nots as they have no rights. The Labor
elite are the new haves—a government of 11 years returned to power on Green party preferences which
it bought in a secret backroom deal confirmed by the member for Pumicestone tonight. It disregarded
the damage of Traveston Crossing Dam and the oil spill in Moreton Bay.
        Fundamental legislative principles have been thrown to the wind in a wash of Green hypocrisy.
We say that the mark of a compassionate democratic society is one that protects the most vulnerable.
Today we see that the vulnerable includes those who do not vote for the government in power as they
do not have the same legal rights as those who do. This is simply because they own food production
land and live in rural and regional Queensland.
242                   Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill               23 Apr 2009

        I know people who have already lost their jobs because of this retrospective legislation before the
parliament today. If there was a genuine public benefit from changing the law, then a fair government
would compensate people. If the law needed changing, a fair government, which is acting in the public
interest, would give regard to and apply the same legal rights and principles to the farmers as it applies
to others who do not live in rural and regional Queensland.
        If the aim in this legislation was truly about achieving good environmental outcomes then genuine
consultation and cooperative engagement would ensue. Premier Anna Bligh has not done any of these
things as her goal is political protectionism rather than environmental protectionism. Every time she
attacks the LNP for challenging the scientific basis of these laws and their fundamental legislative flaws,
her true motives are laid bare. It is about political bastardry and selling out some of the most oppressed
people in this state.
        Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms van Litsenburg): Order! Would the member please withdraw
that unparliamentary language.
        Ms SIMPSON: I withdraw. Ten years ago Labor ignored our warnings about looming water
shortages in Queensland as the state’s population grew. Labor members in this parliament laughed, but
we were proven right. Tonight we not only warn about the ruthless and unjust marginalisation of an
oppressed minority; we also warn about the impact this will have on the Queensland economy,
individuals’ livelihoods and future food security.
        We have always had enough food—like we used to have enough water in South-East
Queensland in previous generations. But that is not necessarily the way of the future if foolish,
popularist Labor governments keep making these poor quality decisions. The world faces looming
global food shortages. By 2025 global food output must increase by around 75 per cent. The world
faces a global financial meltdown which will impact upon those in rural and regional areas even worse
than it has on those in our urban areas. It is predicted that there will be a 20 per cent drop in regional
economies and even higher unemployment.
        To lose substantial areas of existing farming land from production without compensation or due
process will cause poverty and hardship. I support sustainable environmental management of
Queensland’s land resources which respects the rights of landowners as well as the need to ensure
food security. Heavy-handed dictatorial regimes seldom achieve sustainability in anything, whatever the
social system or jurisdiction. They certainly never drive innovation and improvement. Why does this
Labor leadership think environmental innovation in food production is going to come out of a heavy-
handed regime such as this? It has not happened historically and it will not happen in the future.
        It is time that Queensland farmers, who are producing our food, were no longer used as political
pawns by Labor governments and that their skills and abilities were respected and engaged for the
future of this state, because we need them. I have heard a lot of new Labor members in their first
speeches just about cry into their microphones about social justice and helping the oppressed. They are
laudable aims if they are also extended to those who do not vote for the Labor Party.
        I oppose these laws before the parliament. I oppose the underlying principles which are about
oppressing people who do not have a voice within this government. I support a future where we have
environmental sustainability and food security. I am talking about Australian and Queensland grown
food, not imported food, not food that comes in from places where we do not know what they spray on it.
I am talking about true food security that recognises that we need the food producers of this nation and
we need the food producers of this state. It is about engaging with them rather than ignoring their voice
when it comes to the best way to manage their land in the future.
        Dr DOUGLAS (Gaven—LNP) (9.46 pm): The Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing
Moratorium) Bill allegedly protects all regrowth vegetation within 50 metres of a watercourse in the
priority Mackay-Whitsunday, Wet Tropics and Burdekin reef catchments and endangered regrowth
vegetation in rural areas of Queensland. Over a period of three months, more than one million hectares
is proposed to be covered by this moratorium. It is proposed that this legislation be followed by a later
bill that may further entrench this plan. It may be extended to six months.
        Regrowth was defined under the Vegetation Management Bill 1999 as non-remnant vegetation.
The bill is based on a view that there is a continued concern about the continuing high rate of clearing
when endangered regrowth is a threat to biodiversity and allows for the continued release of significant
levels of greenhouse gas emission.
        The Bligh Labor government claims that its election mandate allows it to proceed with this
promise. The word ‘moratorium’ is Latin and is defined as a legally authorised postponement before
some obligation must be discharged or suspension of some activity by stealth of the enforceability of a
deed. It suspends the right of a property owner to obtain developmental approvals while the local
legislature takes time to consider a draft.
        This bill aims to appeal to populism and amounts not just to hollow policy but to bad policy. I have
also heard that there was a referendum on this issue. There was no referendum on this issue. In
Australia a referendum is a ballot question or plebiscite in a direct vote where the entire electorate is
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                          243

asked to accept or reject a particular proposal. This was not a referendum and, in fairness, honourable
members of the government should cease using this term.
        I am sorry to tell all honourable members opposite that in Gaven the Green preferences failed to
return their candidate. Just because they shored up votes elsewhere, there is no precedent to destroy
other constituents’ livelihoods which will occur under this bill.
        The topic polarises people—either in support or in outraged rejection. It is easy to ignore the
rights of those who live outside the urban confines of Brisbane. The majority of our population lives
outside the confines of the Brisbane City Council area. We have a global crisis, Australia is in recession
and here we have a bill that impacts on an industry, as the member Condamine has said, that generates
$15 billion in income for this state. It is the second largest single provider of income for our state and has
helped us recession-proof our country, yet here the parliament is introducing a bill that locks up land,
preventing primary production. Honourable members opposite falsely claim that they are doing it for
tourism and to save the reef. Where is the evidence to support these claims?
        The basic principle of Keynesian economic theory is that in a severe recession the role of
government is not necessarily one of being interventionist but is to revive private industry and trade,
maintain budgetary equilibrium but provide capital to improve liquidity, and should generate employment
so as to reduce unemployment. This bill opposes conventional economic theory. It is voodoo
economics. Firstly, it attempts to reduce private industry and trade; secondly, it provides no fair
compensation to provide liquidity; and, thirdly, it generates unemployment. Fundamentally, the Labor
Party exists to generate employment for the workers, so this bill is bad economics, especially at this
time. What sort of example is Queensland trying to set here? Do honourable members think that people
in other places will not notice what is occurring? Speaker after speaker on the other side play short-term
politics, but who suffers? The electorate suffers. I think this bill is really about jobs—it is about job
destruction, it is about promoting unemployment and it is bad policy. It is also a bad bill.
        The Premier herself came in and supported the bill. The Premier’s response to this bill today
followed very much the populist line—motherhood statements regarding the desire to reach Kyoto
Protocol targets and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With this bill, the Bligh Labor government is not
saving the planet, nor is it saving any specific or endangered species.
        The Premier again raised the issue of panic clearing before the last bill became law. This did not
happen. There is no statistical evidence that it actually occurred. In fact, the contrary appears to be the
case. The actual numbers of trees appear to be increasing. More than 85 per cent of Queensland
remains in its remnant state. There are major scientific flaws in Labor’s reasons for bans regarding
salinity, biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions. The fact is that, in order to achieve the greenhouse
targets according to Kyoto, it is cheaper and electorally safer for the Labor government to lock up
Queensland bush than to force industry and the masses to cut back on fossil fuel consumption. In other
words, there is no decision to do anything about coalmining. But the government has got a bit stuck
because clean coal has not turned out to be as good as it wants it to be.
        Today in the House, either by ignorance or by oversight, the member for Toowoomba North
claimed that there was no evidence to support our position. Unfortunately, he provided no evidence, and
there is no evidence, to support his position. I would love to see it. He tabled none. The member for
Toowoomba South has clearly described those areas of brigalow country in an area known as the
central tablelands. Do honourable members have any idea what is going to happen in towns like
Banana, Biloela, Moura, Blackwater and Monto when this bill is passed? These long-suffering country
people will lose confidence and the will to go on. I have family members who are farmers who will be
severely affected by this policy. They are small business people with children who want to follow them
onto the farm. I would recommend that all honourable members check the maps and also check their
families to see if they are going to be affected by the bill.
        Why propose a bill that takes away confidence from an area that is racked by a devastating loss
of jobs, particularly in the mining areas that have shed staff as people move back to the farms and coal
prices head south? This seems to give new meaning to that Australian concept of giving everyone a fair
go and ‘young man, go north’. You would not go north, because they are going to lock the country up.
Are the families and workers less deserving because the government chooses to create a politically
inspired map that takes away their livelihood? Ramming this shameful piece of legislation through
today—the last day of the first week of the 53rd Parliament—reflects poorly on the House.
        This is a democracy. It is set up to protect the interests of all Queenslanders. Members here
represent all Queenslanders, whether they think they do or not. I have never heard it said that we have
a right to pick winners and losers. It is not a right for anyone in this House to choose. The bill is bad
legislation. I have counted 10 major reasons it is bad legislation, beginning with retrospectivity and
ending with an attempt to circumvent common law. It disappoints me that a bill such as this was deemed
urgent and has been dressed up as vegetation management. It is economically anti-Keynesian. It is
rejected by an overriding Australian law. It hurts people who cannot afford it and who cannot understand
why a city-centric, newly elected government would punish them. Each parliament should build on the
244                        Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                           23 Apr 2009

success of previous parliaments, not destroy those things that have been carefully constructed over
time.
       The word ‘certainty’ has been mentioned many times today. Farmers need certainty in order to
plan. The minister seems to think certainty is a transient phenomenon. Agriculture is a tough and harsh
industry. It is one of the greatest risk-taking ventures of all. Farmers are the biggest gamblers that we
have, but fortunately we need the fruits of their labour. We need farmers. They provide us with the food
we eat at a reasonable cost. Farmers are in decline. Is this merely an attempt in Queensland to
accelerate the exodus from their endeavour and the death of country towns and their lifestyles? I ask
members to please consider their votes tonight very carefully.
       The proposition that the protection of regrowth protects our environment for future generations is
not supported by evidence. That is fact. The maps are arbitrarily drawn. Earlier tonight a member
demonstrated the fact that there are roundabouts included on the maps, for God’s sake. I say to
members opposite that ignorance is no justification for turning a blind eye to those who are looking for
assistance in their desperate hour of need.
       Mr CHOI (Capalaba—ALP) (9.57 pm): I rise in support of the Vegetation Management (Regrowth
Clearing Moratorium) Bill 2009. In doing so, I first of all want to thank the Premier for appointing me as
parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade.
I have truly enjoyed the last few weeks of my work and I am looking forward to the numerous challenges
that come with this portfolio. I also want to thank my minister for entrusting me with some interesting and
demanding issues facing the state.
       This bill is a result of an election commitment by the Premier to further consult the community on
the important matter of improving vegetation clearing laws in Queensland since the original law was
introduced. This bill will introduce a moratorium on the clearing of endangered regrowth vegetation and
riparian vegetation within 50 metres of a watercourse in priority reef catchments in Queensland. The
moratorium will be in place for a period of three months and can be extended, as the opposition pointed
out, for a period of three months beginning on 8 April 2009. Many of my learned colleagues in this
House have already contributed to this bill in a variety of ways, and because of time restrictions I will
confine my comments to a few issues.
       Firstly, I refer to a comment made by the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon. When the
member for Surfers Paradise went to the election he supported the ending of clearing of remnant
vegetation and our tree-clearing legislation. Today he said that he cannot, and what is the reason? The
member for Surfers Paradise said that science is absent with this legislation. He said—
Either the reason is science based or it is done for other reasons.
      I thought the contribution by the Leader of the Opposition was sincere and genuine. After all, the
member for Surfers Paradise is clearly looking for science to continue his previous support for stopping
vegetation clearing. He said that it must be based on science, so here it is. I table the Statewide
Landcover and Trees Study 2006-07 for the benefit of the opposition leader.
Tabled paper: Report by the Queensland Government, Natural Resources and Water, titled ‘Land cover change in Queensland
2006-07: Statewide Landcover and Trees Study Report’.
       I draw the attention of the opposition leader to page 1 and page 25 of the report. Two things jump
out from the pages of this report. Firstly, there is the good news that the Labor government’s tree
clearing laws, enacted in 2006, have worked. There has been a substantial reduction in clearing of
remnant vegetation, in some cases up to 50 per cent from the previous year. Unfortunately, it is also
noticeable that the percentage of clearing of regrowth has not benefited from the tree clearing
legislation. Not only was there no reduction in the clearing of regrowth, in fact, there was a four per cent
increase since the tree clearing legislation was introduced. That is the science and those are the facts.
That is why the Premier has acted in the way she did.
       If the Leader of the Opposition is true to his word that this bill must be based on science, then
after reading this report there is only one conclusion that he can arrive at and that is that endangered
regrowth is being cleared too quickly and that there is an argument for endangered regrowth to be
properly managed in order to protect the biodiversity of this state. This is what this legislation is all
about. In view of the time, I commend the bill to the House.
       Division: Question put—That the bill be now read a second time.
AYES, 43—Attwood, Boyle, Choi, Croft, Dick, Farmer, Finn, Grace, Hoolihan, Jarratt, Johnstone, Jones, Kiernan, Kilburn, Lawlor,
Male, Moorhead, Mulherin, Nelson-Carr, O’Neill, Palaszczuk, Pitt, Reeves, Roberts, Robertson, Ryan, Schwarten, Scott, Shine,
Smith, Spence, Stone, Struthers, Sullivan, van Litsenburg, Wallace, Watt, Wells, Wendt, Wettenhall, Wilson. Tellers: Keech,
Darling
NOES, 35—Bates, Bleijie, Crandon, Cripps, Cunningham, Davis, Dempsey, Dickson, Douglas, Dowling, Elmes, Emerson, Foley,
Gibson, Hobbs, Hopper, Johnson, Knuth, McArdle, McLindon, Malone, Menkens, Powell, Pratt, Rickuss, Robinson, Seeney,
Simpson, Sorensen, Springborg, Stevens, Stuckey, Wellington. Tellers: Horan, Messenger
        Resolved in the affirmative.
23 Apr 2009             Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                           245

                                             Consideration in Detail
       Clause 1—
       Mr SEENEY (10.10 pm): In addressing clause 1 I move the following amendment—
1      Clause 1—
       omit—
       Insert—
       ’This Act may be cited as the Vegetation Management (Political Preference Deal) Act 2009’
        Honourable members, clause 1 of the legislation sets out that the act may be cited as the
Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Act 2009. The amendment circulated in my
name deletes those words and inserts that the act may be cited as the Vegetation Management
(Political Preference Deal) Act 2009.
        During the second reading debate extensive reference was made to the fact that this legislation is
the product of a greasy political deal that was done during the election campaign between the Australian
Labor Party and the Greens movement. That was where this legislation had its genesis. There has been
nothing produced in the extensive debate we have had in this House to prove otherwise. It would be a
reasonable expectation that, if this legislation were based on fact and demonstrated need, those facts
and that demonstrated need would have been outlined to this House. That has not happened. We would
have expected to see some scientific material. We would have expected to see some facts and figures
presented to the parliament to justify the urgency of this legislation. That, of course, has not happened.
        The member for Toowoomba South referred extensively to the newspaper reports that recorded
the deal that was done between the Australian Labor Party and the Greens to ensure that the
preferences were made available for those seats which the Labor Party subsequently won. The other
side of that deal is the imposition of this legislation on the landholders of Queensland. The other side of
that deal is yet again to use the issue of vegetation management as a political opportunity for a
desperate government. The only data, if you like, that has been made available to this House was tabled
by the very last speaker in the debate. The latest speaker tabled the latest SLATS report. The SLATS
report, for those members who are not familiar with it, is a routine report that certainly does not provide
any basis for this legislation.
        If the government is not going to support this amendment, if the government is going to continue
with the charade that somehow or other this legislation fulfils a long-held desire of the Labor Party, that
this legislation is a product of a suppressed desire that it has had to bring about this change in
legislation, then the minister has an obligation to stand up in the consideration of this amendment and
provide us with the basis for the legislation. Tell us where this legislation originated, if it did not originate
in the second week of an election campaign. We all know that it did. If the minister is not going to be
honest with the people of Queensland and more particularly with the people who are adversely
impacted, then tell us the alternative. Where did this legislation originate? Whose idea was it? Where
are the reports? Where is the concern that has been expressed about regrowth clearing? Where is the
basis for the legislation? Of course there is none.
        The minister will no doubt oppose the amendment. But in opposing the amendment he will
confirm what we all know: that this legislation was all about a grubby political deal. As I referred to in my
second reading contribution, that is why it is so offensive to the people who are so adversely affected by
it. Their livelihoods have been affected. Their assets have been devalued. Their lives have been turned
upside down, as the member for Nanango quite accurately illustrated in her contribution to the second
reading debate. For what? For a grubby political deal.
        If we are going to retain any integrity in this parliament, let us have the piece of legislation that
does that accurately named. Let us have the short title of the bill accurately reflect what we all know the
legislation is about. That is what this amendment sets out to achieve. It will, if nothing else, recover a
small amount of the integrity that I believe this parliament has lost today. It will in a very small way make
up for the dishonesty that is so inherent in this legislation. Be honest about what the legislation is about.
Be honest enough to call it what it is. It is a political preference deal. That is what the legislation is. It is
the completion of a political preference deal and it was the priority for the government. In the first week
parliament sat the political preference deal needed to be completed. That was the government’s priority.
Nothing else had a greater priority—not jobs, not infrastructure, not transport, not health. All of the
problems that beset Queensland have been relegated to second place behind the need for the Labor
Party to complete its political deal with the Greens.
        The member for Pumicestone confirmed it when she stood up here and said that she was a
recipient of the Greens preferences and thanked the Greens for the fact that she was able to return to
this place. There are a whole lot of other members on that side of the House who should be equally as
honest and who should stand in this parliament and support the amendment to accurately name the
piece of legislation that completes the deal that got them here. I commend the amendment to all
honourable members.
246                        Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                23 Apr 2009

       Mr ROBERTSON: Not surprisingly, after due consideration, we will be opposing this amendment.
       Opposition members interjected.
       Mr ROBERTSON: Surprise, surprise. I gave it my best shot. There are 19 new members in this
parliament, as I understand it. This is the first piece of legislation that they will have witnessed since
being sworn in only two days ago.
       Mr Cripps: More’s the pity.
       Mrs Stuckey: It’s a sham.
       Mr ROBERTSON: It is your time. It is your time that you are wasting.
       Mr Horan: It should have been legislation about jobs and transport and hospitals and a few other
things. Fix up the hospital mess you left.
       Mr ROBERTSON: As I said, it is your time that you are wasting. If I could ever give the new
members of the LNP a piece of advice, my best advice would be that, when the member for Callide
takes a piece of legislation to the party room and tells them what it contains, they should read it for
themselves, because they will be surprised to discover that the fiction they get told in the party room by
the member for Callide bears no relationship to the reality of the bill. Remember the mock outrage
earlier today that we were guillotining the bill.
       To the new members I say that what you have just seen is the cynicism of the argument that was
put forward earlier today. The first 10 minutes after 10 o’clock was spent on a ridiculous and time-
wasting division that proved nothing. Now another 10 minutes gets wasted by this
ridiculous amendment.
       Opposition members interjected.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr O’Brien): Order! Members on my left will come to order, please.
       Mr ROBERTSON: The member for Callide has challenged me, as he does—not intellectually but
nevertheless challenges me.
       Mr Messenger: You’ve got a big brain.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for Burnett will cease interjecting. The member for
Burnett will resume his seat and he will cease interjecting.
       Mr ROBERTSON: I have been in this place for 17 years and seen a lot of members move from
the back to the front, but I have never seen a member move from the front to the back.
       Opposition members interjected.
       Mr Gibson: Where is Kerry Shine? You are not very observant, are you?
       Mr ROBERTSON: He started at the back and moved forward.
       Mr Seeney interjected.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!
       Mr ROBERTSON: As I said, it is your time.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Callide!
       Mr ROBERTSON: The member for Callide challenged me to indicate that what we are debating
here today is not a result of some allegedly ‘grubby political deal’. I am happy to do that. I will table the
press release from Premier Anna Bligh dated 18 February when the SLATS data was released.
Tabled paper: Ministerial Media Statement, dated 18 February 2009, titled ‘Bligh welcomes new tree clearing data’.
       When one talks about what evidence supports the legislation we have brought to this parliament
today it is the SLATS data. When the Premier released that data on 18 February, well before the election
being called, she said—
Data shows over 100,000 hectares of regrowth was cleared in the year and twice as much of this occurring on freehold as is
occurring on leasehold. The worrying factor in today’s data are these regrowth clearing figures. While legal, the types of vegetation
being cleared for a second time are of concern and I want government to consult rural producers, scientists and environmentalists
on ways to make the clearing laws even better.
       That is the genesis of the legislation we are debating here today, not the alleged grubby political
deal that has been referred to. What a nonsense! When the member for Callide talks about what went
on in the election campaign and what various members have said in this debate, I remember very well
what the member for Gympie said during this debate. He said that he, too, as the environment
spokesmen went to meetings with the Greens to try to get the grubby political deal happening but failed.
The only difference between that side of politics and this side of politics is that you failed.
       Mr Seeney: And you succeeded. It is a concession that you succeeded.
       Opposition members interjected.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                         247

       Mr ROBERTSON: You were in that trough, the snout was down, the little wiggly tail was up in the
air and you were just scoffing at that trough.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Minister, you will refer to the member by his correct title.
       Mr ROBERTSON: Member for Gympie, what hypocritical nonsense. What absolute hypocritical
nonsense.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The minister’s language is unparliamentary. I ask him to
withdraw.
       Opposition members interjected.
       Mr ROBERTSON: I said what hypocritical nonsense.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Minister, I have asked you to withdraw.
       Mr ROBERTSON: I withdraw.
       Mr Horan interjected.
       Mr Johnson interjected.
       Mr ROBERTSON: Excuse me? Yet another racist comment coming from you. I suggest you
withdraw that. That is offensive and you should withdraw.
       Mr Horan: What did I say?
       Mr ROBERTSON: The ‘slanty eyes,’ is that what you said? The ‘little slanty eyes’. You are a
disgrace.
       Mr Horan: That’s what little piggy’s have got—little piggy eyes.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! We have about an hour to go on this debate. I suggest that we
need to settle it down a bit so that we can get through as much of this consideration in detail as possible
in that hour.
       Mr ROBERTSON: That tabled press release clearly shows the intention of the Premier and Labor
to bring these laws into the parliament at the earliest opportunity. That was further confirmed by the
announcement during the election campaign. The words of the Premier on 18 February clearly show
that the intention of her government was to bring in further controls in relation to the clearing of regrowth
vegetation and would do so by consulting with landholders. What does this moratorium bill provide for?
A moratorium to achieve exactly that. She is true to her word and this legislation reflects exactly that
statement that was made before the election. Let us not hear any more of this nonsense. Let us deal
with the facts just for a change, member for Callide. I know it is difficult, but let us just try because we
have another hour and 10 minutes to go and maybe you will strike the truth just once in the next 70 or so
minutes.
       Mr SEENEY: As the minister indicates, the debate has been foreshortened and guillotined by the
government so I will not labour the point. However, for the record I point out that the minister has
confirmed the proposition that I put forward as the basis for this amendment. The Premier’s press
release was made at a time when all of us knew we were going to have an election. We all knew an
election was imminent, as did the Premier. Even then there was posturing and manoeuvring trying to get
Greens preferences.
       The press release that the minister referred to referred to consultation with landholders and
stakeholders. We have been arguing all afternoon that that is what should have happened. As part of
the negotiation with the Greens the deal that was hammered out was that this legislation would be
drawn up to bring about an immediate moratorium rather than the proper negotiation and consultation
process that should have happened.
       Even in the explanatory notes themselves there is the absolute concession that no consultation
was undertaken before the legislation was compiled. The minister’s contribution confirms the
proposition that this act should be cited as the ‘Vegetation Management (Political Preference Deal) Act
2009’. Despite the minister’s protestations, that is what it will be known as by everybody who has taken
an interest in this debate tonight.
       Mr ROBERTSON: I have done no such thing. Every member of the opposition who spoke on this
bill spoke solely about the announcement during the election campaign. Not one member of the
opposition mentioned the press release of 18 February. Why? Because, members of the LNP, you were
all misled by the member for Callide. In the briefing notes that he provided not once would he have
mentioned 18 February. Why? Because, one, you are either lazy or, two, you are dishonest.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!
       Mr ROBERTSON: I will withdraw. Any fair reading of the 18 February statement by the Premier
confirms exactly that. If you are so dismissive of 18 February why did you not mention it at any time
during your debates? Why? Because you were not briefed about it and you would not tell them.
248                          Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                23 Apr 2009

         Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I have asked the minister to refer to the member by his correct
title.
       Mr ROBERTSON: The member for Callide.
       Mr HOBBS: The minister says that the member for Callide has not been able to read legislation.
Can he explain why hundreds of people in the broader community are strongly protesting against this
bill? They cannot all be wrong. They have all read it and they know what the government has done. It is
purely a grubby political deal. The minister knows that, we know that. February 18 is less than a month
from when the election was finally held. The reality is that it is the minister who is the one who is trying to
mislead this parliament and the people of Queensland.
       Division: Question put—That Mr Seeney’s amendment be agreed to.
AYES, 33—Bates, Bleijie, Crandon, Cripps, Davis, Dempsey, Dickson, Douglas, Dowling, Elmes, Emerson, Gibson, Hobbs,
Hopper, Johnson, Knuth, Langbroek, McArdle, McLindon, Malone, Menkens, Nicholls, Powell, Rickuss, Robinson, Seeney,
Simpson, Sorensen, Springborg, Stevens, Stuckey. Tellers: Horan, Messenger
NOES, 47—Attwood, Boyle, Choi, Croft, Cunningham, Darling, Dick, Farmer, Finn, Foley, Grace, Hoolihan, Jarratt, Johnstone,
Jones, Kilburn, Lawlor, Male, Moorhead, Mulherin, Nelson-Carr, O’Neill, Palaszczuk, Pitt, Pratt, Reeves, Roberts, Robertson,
Ryan, Schwarten, Scott, Shine, Smith, Spence, Stone, Struthers, Sullivan, van Litsenburg, Wallace, Watt, Wellington, Wells,
Wendt, Wettenhall, Wilson. Tellers: Keech, Kiernan
         Resolved in the negative.
         Non-government amendment (Mr Seeney) negatived.
         Clause 1, as read, agreed to.
         Clause 2, as read, agreed to.
         Clause 3—
         Mr SEENEY (10.41 pm): I move the following amendment—
2        Clause 3(1)—
         Omit—
         insert—
         ’The purpose of this Act is to-
         (a)       honour the deal with the Greens Party, done during the election campaign, whereby Greens’ preferences were
                   allocated to the Australian Labor Party in exchange for the vegetation protection in this Act, and other legislative
                   changes.
         (b)       protect regrowth vegetation that is an endangered regional ecosystem in particular areas; and
         (c)       protect particular riparian regrowth vegetation in the Burdekin, Mackay Whitsunday and Wet Tropics catchments.
                   Note—
                   At the date of assent, a map showing the Burdekin, Mackay Whitsunday and Wet Tropics catchments can be
                   inspected on the department’s website at <www.derm.qld.gov.au>.’
      Clause 3 lists the purpose of the act and its achievement. In the bill as tabled in the House, the
purpose of the act is set out in subclause (a) and (b), and they talk about protecting regrowth vegetation
and riparian regrowth vegetation. The amendment that I have moved inserts a new subclause (a) and
subsequently renames the two existing subclauses (b) and (c). The new subclause (a) states that the
purpose of this act is to—
(a)      honour the deal with the Greens Party, done during the election campaign, whereby Greens’ preferences were allocated
         to the Australian Labor Party in exchange for the vegetation protection in this Act, and other legislative changes
        I think the crux of the amendment was proven by the debate that was conducted in regard to the
previous clause. Because we are conducting this debate under restricted time limits that the
government applied, I will not repeat that debate. I think we have well and truly established here this
afternoon the genesis of this legislation. I think we have well and truly given the government ample
opportunity to put a contrary case, which it has subsequently failed to do. One single press release that
made a comment about the SLATS data certainly does not provide any confidence that this legislation
was well planned, well thought out and was in response to an established need. Of course it was not. It
was all about honouring the deal with the Greens. The purpose of this legislation is to complete that deal
and to honour that deal, and the section of the bill that sets out the purpose of the legislation should be
honest enough to say so. That is what this amendment does.
        The two subsequent subsections listed as (b) and (c) in my amendment are also worthy of some
comment. If the minister is going to respond to this amendment, there would be some value in his
indicating to the House, and subsequently thereby to the people of Queensland, why the particular types
of legislation listed there have been chosen for inclusion in this bill. There is no basis for their inclusion.
They could have chosen anything in terms of listing the types of legislation that the bill set out to protect.
There has not been any thought, I would contend, as to why those particular classes of legislation have
been chosen. This legislation is simply to complete that deal that we have well and truly spoken about
this afternoon. The amendment that I have moved is about ensuring that the purpose of the legislation is
accurately recorded in clause 2.
23 Apr 2009                 Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                              249

       Mr ROBERTSON: I must confess that I do feel sorry for the member for Callide on occasions
because he is clearly unable to move on in a debate, despite facts to the contrary that demonstrate that
his argument holds no water. I have already tabled the press release of 18 February from the Premier
that clearly shows the intent by this government to move down the path of restrictions on the clearing of
regrowth. Despite that factual basis, he continues with the position that he does, even though it has
been exposed as an absolute nonsense.
       I actually feel sorry for him. I have been debating him now for nearly 10 years. Frankly, whilst I
may have been interrupted for a number of years, it is clear that he just not has been able to move on in
terms of what is happening in the state’s natural resource management. The thing that distinguished the
debate tonight was that what we witnessed was the last-gasp breath of the former great Liberal Party.
This is the Liberal Party that in 2004 supported the Vegetation Management Act. We heard already from
the Premier the words of the now Leader of the Liberal National Party when he supported—
       Mr SEENEY: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to a point of order. Both the minister and I have been in
this House long enough to know that, while the second reading debate is allowed to be a wide-ranging
debate, the question of relevance is very pertinent to the consideration in the clauses. I ask you to rule
on the relevance of the minister’s contribution to a debate on my amendment to clause 3 of this bill.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr O’Brien): Order! The minister is perfectly within order and has the
call.
       Mr ROBERTSON: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. It was not just the member for Surfers
Paradise who claimed that vegetation protection was part of his DNA. It goes a bit further than that,
because the then Leader of the Liberal Party—a man of some principle, I am sure some members of the
LNP will agree—Mr Quinn, said this during the same debate when we introduced our vegetation
management laws back in 2004. He said—
I will do this and the Liberal Party will do this because it is consistent with our approach over the past three years. I have
consistently said we need to reduce the amount—
        Mr Hopper interjected.
        Mr Elmes interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Warrego! Member for Noosa! Can you cease interjecting?
        Mr ROBERTSON: I will start again. What he said was—
At the outset the Liberal Party will be supporting this legislation in the House today. I will do this and the Liberal Party will do this
because it is consistent with our approach over the past three years. I have consistently said that we need to reduce—
        Mr SEENEY: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to a point of order. I once again raise the issue of
relevance. It has been a long tradition in this House for the consideration in the clauses to be relevant to
the particular clause. I myself have been corrected by a range of people who have sat in your position
on very many occasions—too many, as most members of this House would know. I submit that the
minister’s response is not relevant to the question and should be ruled out of order.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The clause in question refers specifically to matters discussed
during the election campaign and to the Vegetation Management Act, which the minister is referring to.
He is well within order and I ask him to continue his response.
        Mr Elmes interjected.
        Mr ROBERTSON: It is your time. I can keep doing this all night. If you would just be quiet I will
finish what I have to say, but if you keep interrupting me I will keep going. It is kind of simple. What Bob
Quinn said is that—
        Mr Hobbs: What has Bob Quinn got to do with it?
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr O’Brien): Order! Member for Warrego, I ask you for the second and
final time to cease interjecting.
        Mr ROBERTSON: What he said was—
I have consistently said that we need to reduce the amount of tree clearing across the state in order to protect our biodiversity, our
endangered species and our species of concern.
That is what two Liberal leaders said.
       Mr Elmes interjected.
       Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Member for Noosa, I ask you for a final time to cease interjecting.
       Mr ROBERTSON: Let us go for the trifecta because I am pleased to see that Dr Flegg is here
tonight. He is the third Liberal leader who had something to say in 2004 when we brought in the ban on
broadscale tree clearing. He said in the same debate—
... I will make it clear at the outset that we support the bill. It is important that, when the government presents legislation that has—
wait for it—
250                      Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                            23 Apr 2009

wide-ranging and far-sighted benefits for Queensland, non-government members are willing to give support and give credit where
credit is due.
That is one, two, three leaders of the former great Liberal Party.
        Opposition members interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!
        Mr SEENEY: I rise to a point of order.
        An opposition member interjected.
        Mr ROBERTSON: I ask for that to be withdrawn.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: I did not hear the unparliamentary remark, I am sorry.
        Mr SEENEY: I once again raise the issue of relevance. The minister’s contribution has nothing to
do with consideration of the amendment that I have moved. I ask you for a third time to rule that the
minister’s contribution is out of order on the basis of relevance.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: It will be the last time you ask, member for Callide; otherwise I will rule
that your point of order is starting to be vexatious. It is you in your amendment who has raised the
spectre of political parties and political deals. That is why the minister’s response is entirely in order.
        Mr ROBERTSON: So what we saw during this debate, after the former great and late Liberal
Party got subsumed by the National Party, is that the member for Surfers Paradise had to come in here
with his tail between his legs and recant everything he and two former Liberal leaders had to say about
tree clearing in 2004. Didn’t he do it in style! Members can imagine what happened when we put this bill
into the parliament. Big ‘Lozza’ and the member for Callide, knuckles scraping on the ground, knocked
on his door and made him an offer he could not refuse. What happened later on in this debate was really
telling. That was when the member for Clayfield made his contribution. I invite all members to read it
because they will never find a better National Party speech than that provided by the member for
Clayfield.
        That speaks volumes about how Mr Langbroek got outflanked in the debate today. Despite his
DNA calling out to try to protect trees in this state, he knew that his own political survival required him to
come in here today and recant. But he got outflanked by the member for Clayfield, who ‘out-National
Party’d’ him. What we saw today in this debate was the death of the Liberal Party—the last vestiges of
principle and environmental protection in this state gone forever.
        There was one interesting contribution made earlier this week. That was the contribution by the
member for Indooroopilly, who avowed his environmental values. I am sure the member for
Indooroopilly is tonight in absolute shock. The party that he belongs to has just trashed any
environmental credibility it may have had at any stage. What we have as a result of the debate tonight is
not the Liberal National Party but the National Party. The boys are back in town.
        Mrs CUNNINGHAM: I rise to support the amendment. I opposed amendment No. 1 because I
thought that renaming the bill was over the top. However, I believe amendment No. 2, which indicates
that the purpose of the bill is to honour the deal with the Greens party done during the election campaign
whereby Greens preferences were allocated to the ALP in exchange for the vegetation management
protection in this bill and other legislative changes, is accurate. The minister’s contribution to this debate
confirms that that was the deal that was done. Our legislation should be honest. It should reflect the true
contribution that is made by both the Labor Party and the National Party. On that basis I will be
supporting the amendment.
        Mr SPRINGBORG: It is very obvious, from listening to the minister here tonight, that he has been
all but subsumed into the Greens party in Queensland. What he has sought to do is to absolutely
recreate history and misrepresent what actually happened in this parliament in 2004.
        Members on all sides of this parliament in 2004 expressed their particular views on various
principles contained in the vegetation management legislation. This minister has a history of completely
misrepresenting and recreating history and even changing the context of Hansard to suit himself. He is
prepared to change history again tonight. This is a person who, when confronted with his own obvious
maladministration in the past, seeks to not only rewrite history outside this place but also rewrite the
permanent record of this place. He goes after, repudiates and retaliates against those people who raise
points of concern. He has done it over and over again in the portfolio that he administered prior to this
and also in his previous administration of this portfolio.
        As has been indicated in this parliament earlier today, when those members he referred to stood
in this place in 2004 and provided support for that legislation it was for the protection of remnant
vegetation as outlined in that legislation. They had been convinced, as many other landowners
throughout Queensland had been as well—I must admit that I did not trust one thing he said because of
his reputation—that this would be the line in the sand and that the landholders of this state would be
able to go about the routine management of their property and the routine management of regrowth.
23 Apr 2009              Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                                       251

Those areas were the ones that had been marked white. Those areas had been categorised as not of
concern.
       What this government and this minister have done is completely rewrite history, completely
rewrite the principles of that legislation and completely change the assurances which had been provided
to this parliament and its members at that time. That is the fundamental misrepresentation which we
have seen not only in the last few minutes but throughout the course of this debate by this minister and
also others. They gave assurances at the time that it would actually apply only to remnant endangered
vegetation in Queensland, of-concern vegetation and not-of-concern vegetation. Regrowth vegetation
was not to be regulated in this way and was able to be managed in a routine way by landholders
throughout this state.
       That is where this minister continues to misrepresent what happened in the parliament in 2004.
For him to simply stand up here and recreate the intent of members who spoke in that particular debate
I think actually says more about this minister and his capacity and his capability than it says about any
other member in this place.
       Honourable members: Hear, hear!
       Mr ROBERTSON: I note some people who are saying, ‘Hear, hear,’ were not even here for the
debate. You are not bad. I table the speech made by the member for Surfers Paradise, the speech of Dr
Flegg and the speech made by the member for Robina.
Tabled paper: Extract of Mr Langbroek’s speech in Hansard, dated 21 April 2004, in relation to the Vegetation Management and
Other Legislation Amendment Bill.
Tabled paper: Extract of Dr Flegg’s speech in Hansard, dated 20 April 2004, in relation to the Vegetation Management and Other
Legislation Amendment Bill.
Tabled paper: Extract of Mr Quinn’s speech in Hansard, dated 20 April 2004, in relation to the Vegetation Management and Other
Legislation Amendment Bill.
        This was not a position of principle on the part of the Liberal Party; this was a position that it
actually voted. So when the bells rang where did they come? They came from over there to over here.
        Opposition members interjected.
        Mr ROBERTSON: The once great, now late Liberal Party locked itself into a position of
supporting the government’s vegetation laws, and today is a repudiation of that position. It has squibbed
on it! The member for Surfers Paradise has taken a position to save himself before the environment.
That is what his contribution was all about today.
        Mr Dickson interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr O’Brien): Order! The member for Buderim will cease interjecting.
        Mr ROBERTSON: Every word he uttered was a complete contradiction of what the member said
in this place in 2004, and the only construction you can make based on the contribution by the member
for Clayfield is that he was trying to save his own skin. He was trying to find the middle part between his
true values and political protection. That is what the speech was about today, and you cannot read it any
other way. Today is the day we finally bury the Liberal Party!
        Honourable members interjected.
        Mr ROBERTSON: Today is the day that every environmental principle that the Liberals ever took
to the LNP is gone forever.
        Mr Wallace interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The Minister for Main Roads will cease interjecting.
        Mr Wallace interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Minister for Main Roads will cease interjecting.
        Mr ROBERTSON: As I have said constantly, today is a day that will go down in history. It will be a
day that political commentators and analysts will look back on in years to come and say, ‘That was the
day that the Liberal Party finally disappeared.’
        Mr Dickson interjected.
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Buderim, my final warning.
        Mr ROBERTSON: It was also the day that the clock started ticking for the member for Surfers
Paradise. Having been outflanked today by the member for Clayfield, who demonstrated that he is just
one of the good old boys when it comes to tree-clearing policies, he has been left stranded and
friendless in his own party. The clock is now ticking. I said in the debate today that I did not think that he
would make it until the end of the year. I do not think he will make it to the end of the month.
        Division: Question put—That Mr Seeney’s amendment be agreed to.
AYES, 37—Bates, Bleijie, Crandon, Cripps, Cunningham, Davis, Dempsey, Dickson, Douglas, Dowling, Elmes, Emerson, Flegg,
Foley, Gibson, Hobbs, Hopper, Johnson, Knuth, Langbroek, McArdle, McLindon, Malone, Menkens, Nicholls, Powell, Pratt,
Rickuss, Robinson, Seeney, Simpson, Sorensen, Springborg, Stevens, Stuckey. Tellers: Horan, Messenger
252                       Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                             23 Apr 2009

NOES, 44—Attwood, Boyle, Choi, Croft, Dick, Farmer, Finn, Grace, Hoolihan, Jarratt, Johnstone, Jones, Kiernan, Kilburn, Lawlor,
Male, Moorhead, Mulherin, Nelson-Carr, O’Neill, Palaszczuk, Pitt, Reeves, Roberts, Robertson, Ryan, Schwarten, Scott, Shine,
Smith, Spence, Stone, Struthers, Sullivan, van Litsenburg, Wallace, Watt, Wellington, Wells, Wendt, Wettenhall, Wilson. Tellers:
Keech, Darling
       Resolved in the negative.
       Non-government amendment (Mr Seeney) negatived.
       Clause 3, as read, agreed to.
       Clauses 4 to 17, as read, agreed to.
       Clause 18—
       Mr SEENEY (11.10 pm): In the consideration of clause 18, I move—
3      Clause 18(1)—
       omit—
       ‘26 March 2009’
       insert—
       ’8 April 2009’
        Clause 18 is where I have chosen to address this issue of retrospectivity, which has also been
referred to extensively in the second reading contributions made by a number of members. Clause 2 of
the bill is the initial area of retrospectivity in that it says—
This Act is taken to have commenced on 8 April 2009.
        As I indicated in my second reading contribution, it is possible to make an argument, albeit not a
very convincing one, for this legislation to be made retrospective to that date when the minister
announced the moratorium. I am not endorsing that argument, nor would I be convinced by it, but it is at
least possible to make an argument no matter how tenuous. But the other retrospective element that is
contained within clause 18 is, in my view, totally unarguable.
        Clause 18 deals with the making of PMAVs, property maps of assessable vegetation. These are
the things that the member for Ipswich West spoke about for some time without any clue at all about
what they were or what they meant. He came in here and read a speech that was obviously written by
somebody down in the department somewhere and he spoke about PMAVs, property maps of
assessable vegetation—quite accurately as it happens, but it was clear that the poor honourable
member did not understand a thing about what they meant.
        PMAVs are very important documents for landholders and they have become increasingly
important with the proposition of the moratorium that is contained within this legislation that we are
considering tonight. A property map of assessable vegetation was used by property owners who were
concerned about the transition of vegetation from a regrowth categorisation to a remnant categorisation.
The Vegetation Management Act based the categorisations of regrowth and remnant on the percentage
of foliage density—a ridiculous concept, but that is what is contained within the act. Because of that
ridiculous concept, there was an enormous concern about that reversion of regrowth classified
vegetation to remnant classified vegetation. So the PMAVs were the solution to that. The PMAVs gave
landholders security. Landholders were able to lock in—and that is the term that is most commonly
used—the regrowth areas, the productive areas that I spoke about extensively this afternoon, and have
them categorised as category X so that there was no possibility of that reversion.
        That was something that landholders who had on their property a range of vegetation types took
the opportunity to do, because landholders who had a range of vegetation types were confronted with
that issue. But for a great many landholders, it was not an issue. For a large number of landholders,
their properties were in completely white areas on the map. All of the area was regrowth. So there was
no need to protect particular areas from that move from one category to another.
        This afternoon in the parliament I tabled a map that showed those extensive areas that have been
classified as regrowth. But this particular bill overlays on that white area on the original regional
ecosystem maps this new classification of so-called endangered regrowth. All of a sudden there was an
imminent threat to the regrowth classification that had existed for so many landholders since 1994. So,
of course, landholders, faced with that imminent threat, then tried to protect themselves with the
mechanism that had been available to them and to other landholders since 2004, and that is the
PMAV—the property map of assessable vegetation.
        In the explanatory notes to this legislation the government admits that there was an increase in
the number of applications for PMAVs after this moratorium was announced by the Premier in the
middle of the election campaign. Why would there not be? Of course, anyone who understands the
process and who understands the system would anticipate that landholders would seek to protect
themselves from the adverse impacts that were going to be visited upon them. So the government took
the extraordinary step of introducing this second element of retrospectivity that cannot possibly be
justified. Rather than backdate the valid application date for the certification, the registration, the
lodgement of PMAV applications to even the date of the commencement of the legislation, clause 18(1)
23 Apr 2009           Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing Moratorium) Bill                        253

backdates that date to 26 March 2009. It backdates it further. It makes the legislation even more
retrospective when it comes to the consideration of the application for PMAVs simply to deny as many
landholders as possible the right of protection that had been offered in the legislation in 2004.
        That is why the amendment that I move is one that should be accepted by all reasonable
members, because it changes that date for the PMAV registration to the date of the commencement of
the legislation. As I said, even that is a very tenuous position to try to justify because of the
retrospectivity of the moratorium. It should be from the passage of the legislation through this House
tonight, or when the Governor signs the legislation sometime next week, which is the usual process.
        But this legislation has been made retrospective to 8 April 2009. Although I do not support that
retrospectivity, it is even more outrageous to then impose upon those people who have made
applications for a PMAV—for a property map of assessable vegetation—even further retrospectivity
back to 26 March 2009. It cannot be justified. It is unjust, it is unfair, it is unwarranted and it is not
something that should be within this legislation.
        The amendment that I move tonight would change that date in clause 18(1) from 26 March to 8
April 2009 to make that consideration of property maps of assessable vegetation relevant, or to coincide
with the date that the legislation begins. I think that is a proposition that should be accepted by the
minister and by the parliament.
        Mr ROBERTSON: I will not be accepting the amendment moved by the member for Callide.
When introducing this legislation I made it clear that we thought that the appropriate date for it to take
effect, or to have a retrospective effect, was the date that this government was formed on 26 March by
our attendance at Government House. That was appropriate, given the announcement made during the
election campaign and I have decided to ensure that there would be no applications to panic clear, as
we have seen in the past. That is responsible and it has minimal impact. Despite the contribution by
many members in this place over the past number of hours, I want to take the opportunity to go through
what the situation is in relation to PMAV applications that are in the system.
        Those applications that were lodged prior to 26 March that are in the system will be assessed
under the existing legislation. So this moratorium will not impact on those applications that are already in
the system. It will impact on those applications that were lodged after 26 March but only to the effect of
the provisions of this act in relation to endangered regrowth that will not be allowed to be cleared as a
result of the moratorium. So, if a landholder turns up tomorrow looking for a PMAV and they have no
endangered regrowth vegetation on their property, that PMAV will go through.
        Members stand in this place and say that we have brought the state to a standstill. That is arrant
nonsense, because what I did was ensure that this moratorium did not impact on those applications that
were already in the system prior to 26 March. Either those applications lodged after 26 March that do
not contain endangered regrowth could go through an assessment or those applications that do contain
endangered regrowth where the landholder agrees to amend that application to exclude it would also go
through. So that means works can continue. That is in direct contrast to what a number of members
have said in this place tonight. It is simply wrong and untrue, and I encourage members, particularly the
new ones, to read the bill before they start making comments.
        In relation to the situation in 2004 when I introduced the PMAV concept—and it was my concept
that I introduced—what I specifically said was that existing PMAVs would be respected. That was my
guarantee in 2004, not the interpretation of what I said by the member for Southern Downs. I urge him to
read what I said in the summation speech for that 2004 legislation. What I said was that PMAVs would
provide a long-term guarantee, and they continue to do so. So those 4,611 PMAVs that have gone
through the system since 2004 remain untouched. That was my guarantee and that remains the case
today.
        Mr Seeney: Why did you backdate the date to stop people getting them?
        Mr ROBERTSON: Do I need to go through it again? I explained that situation. It is about stopping
any panic clearing. We have seen panic clearing in the past and there is not a member in this place who
will deny that. So by simply going back a couple of weeks we effectively block that off for the purposes of
a moratorium, for a pause of three months. This does not bring the state to its knees, as has been
suggested by some members.
        An opposition member: So you’re not going to bring on another three months?
        Mr ROBERTSON: Works can continue. Assessments will continue so long as they meet the
purposes of this moratorium or they are pre-existing applications for PMAVs. That is a responsible
position to take, that is a fair position to take and indeed that is a balanced position to take.
        Division: Question put—That the amendment be agreed to.
        In division—
        Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr O’Brien): Order! Honourable members, if any further divisions are
required the bells will ring for two minutes.
254                                                     Adjournment                                            23 Apr 2009

AYES, 38—Bates, Bleijie, Crandon, Cripps, Cunningham, Davis, Dempsey, Dickson, Douglas, Dowling, Elmes, Emerson, Flegg,
Foley, Gibson, Hobbs, Hopper, Johnson, Knuth, Langbroek, McArdle, McLindon, Malone, Menkens, Nicholls, Powell, Pratt,
Rickuss, Robinson, Seeney, Simpson, Sorensen, Springborg, Stevens, Stuckey, Wellington. Tellers: Horan, Messenger
NOES, 43—Attwood, Boyle, Choi, Croft, Darling, Dick, Farmer, Finn, Grace, Hoolihan, Jarratt, Johnstone, Jones, Kilburn, Lawlor,
Male, Moorhead, Mulherin, Nelson-Carr, O’Neill, Palaszczuk, Pitt, Reeves, Roberts, Robertson, Ryan, Schwarten, Scott, Shine,
Smith, Spence, Stone, Struthers, Sullivan, van Litsenburg, Wallace, Watt, Wells, Wendt, Wettenhall, Wilson. Tellers: Keech,
Kiernan
      Resolved in the negative.
      Non-government amendment (Mr Seeney) negatived.
      Clauses 18 to 39 and schedules 1 and 2—
      Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Honourable members, under the provision of the resolution agreed to
by the House and the time limit for consideration in detail of the bill having expired, the question is that
clauses 18 to 39 and the schedules, as read, be agreed to.
      Division: Question put—That clauses 18 to 39 and schedules 1 and 2, as read, be agreed to.
AYES, 43—Attwood, Boyle, Choi, Croft, Darling, Dick, Farmer, Finn, Grace, Hoolihan, Jarratt, Johnstone, Jones, Kilburn, Lawlor,
Male, Moorhead, Mulherin, Nelson-Carr, O’Neill, Palaszczuk, Pitt, Reeves, Roberts, Robertson, Ryan, Schwarten, Scott, Shine,
Smith, Spence, Stone, Struthers, Sullivan, van Litsenburg, Wallace, Watt, Wells, Wendt, Wettenhall, Wilson. Tellers: Keech,
Kiernan
NOES, 38—Bates, Bleijie, Crandon, Cripps, Cunningham, Davis, Dempsey, Dickson, Douglas, Dowling, Elmes, Emerson, Flegg,
Foley, Gibson, Hobbs, Hopper, Johnson, Knuth, Langbroek, McArdle, McLindon, Malone, Menkens, Nicholls, Powell, Pratt,
Rickuss, Robinson, Seeney, Simpson, Sorensen, Springborg, Stevens, Stuckey, Wellington. Tellers: Horan, Messenger
        Resolved in the affirmative.
        Clauses 18 to 39 and schedules 1 and 2, as read, agreed to.

                                                     Third Reading
      Hon. S ROBERTSON (Stretton—ALP) (Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and
Minister for Trade) (11.35 pm): I move—
That the bill be now read a third time.
        Question put—That the bill be now read a third time.
        Motion agreed to.
        Bill read a third time.

                                                         Long Title
      Hon. S ROBERTSON (Stretton—ALP) (Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and
Minister for Trade) (11.35 pm): I move—
That the long title of the bill be agreed to.
        Question put—That the long title of the bill be agreed to.
        Motion agreed to.

                                                SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT
      Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Acting Leader of the House?
      Mr Seeney: Come on, Craig, ‘I move that I’m stupid and dumb.’
      Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Member for Callide, will you please withdraw those remarks.
      Mr SEENEY: Mr Speaker, I withdraw.
      Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Acting Leader of the House?
      Hon. CA WALLACE (Thuringowa—ALP) (Minister for Main Roads) (Acting Leader of the House)
(11.35 pm): I move—
That the House, at its rising, do adjourn until 9.30 am on Tuesday, 19 May 2009.
        Question put—That the motion be agreed to.
        Motion agreed to.

                                                   ADJOURNMENT
      Hon. CA WALLACE (Thuringowa—ALP) (Minister for Main Roads) (Acting Leader of the House)
(11.35 pm): I move—
That the House do now adjourn.
23 Apr 2009                                   Adjournment                                            255

                                           Country Racing
       Mr JOHNSON (Gregory—LNP) (11.37 pm): I want to draw to the attention of the House the
deplorable state of country racing in Queensland. The situation in my own electorate of Gregory is one
where country racing is on its knees because the people who are running the organisation are more
concerned about the major clubs in the major areas rather than about the individual clubs in the bush.
       The Central Highlands Regional Council, as it is now known, hosts the Sunflower Festival in
Emerald every Easter. On Easter Saturday, the Emerald Jockey Club hosts a big race meeting. It
appears now that Queensland Country Racing wants that date pushed out for 2010, which will not
correspond with the Sunflower Festival. This is causing chaos in the organisation of many of these
country events.
       We witnessed two years ago the Springsure Jockey Club lose its St Patrick’s Day race meeting,
which has been a part of the history of that centre ever since racing has been run. That meeting has
gone to Rockhampton. These are situations that are causing absolute chaos to the management of
racing in country areas. One has to bear in mind that trainers, owners and jockeys are integral players in
this operation. The Quilpie Diggers Race Club in my own home town has had its meeting taken from it
this year. There is no meeting at all on the fourth Saturday. We have Birdsville on the first Saturday of
September, Bedourie on the second Saturday, Betoota on the third and the fallout from those meetings
can go on to Quilpie on the fourth Saturday in September. The meeting from Quilpie has been
transferred to Longreach. Longreach has nine meetings and Quilpie has none.
       The local community organisations run these events, as well as the local jockey clubs. When is
fair going to be fair in relation to country racing? I have spoken with Bob Bentley and Paul Brennan
about this. I hope these two management committees can get their heads together and resolve this
deplorable, sorry mess. If we do not see something happen in a very short while we will see the total
demise of racing in country Queensland. It has been the social fabric of many of our communities over
the last 100 years. The situation is unacceptable. I call on whoever may be responsible in the
government to show some leadership and bring about a concept where we can once again enjoy racing
as we used to in our country towns. We once took racing for granted but not anymore.

                                     Bribie Island Orchid Club
       Mrs SULLIVAN (Pumicestone—ALP) (11.40 pm): The Bribie Island Orchid Club was formed in
1987 to promote good fellowship amongst anyone interested in orchid culture and to further the
advancement of all that pertains to orchids. The past 22 years have seen a number of major
accomplishments which include a continuing growth in membership, currently standing at 151, annual
orchid extravaganzas, the highly successful Island Orchid Fantasy in 2007 and, most recently, the Q150
Easter Orchid Show in April this year with the release of the Q150 orchid plant, the Doritenopsis Bribie
Q150, propagated by show organiser and judge, Mel Wheeler. When it blooms for the first time in
October the flowers are expected to be a deep pink.
       The Bribie Island Orchid Committee applied to the state government for funding to host this 2009
Q150 Easter show and was granted $6,500 to assist with staging the two-day event. The management
committee included president Judith Carleton, secretary Lyn Hauck, treasurer Ian McLaren and
members Florence McLaren, Val Anderson, Gwendella Cooper, Stephanie Mailer, Marie Webster, Jenny
White, John and Beverley Hopgood, Diann Sirett, Ken Carleton, Jim and June McKinnon, Tia O’Donnell,
Janet Watson, Ro Clyne, Margaret McMurdo, Tom Pritchard, Malcolm Hauck, 17-year-old Kirk Lambie,
Don and Margaret Neldner, Rita Sandford, Allan Budge, Wal Corney and Merve Andersen, who kindly
adorns the Pumicestone electorate office with a different orchid each week. They all worked tirelessly to
ensure the Q150 Easter show was incredibly successful.
       Members from several orchid societies who form the Sub Tropical Orchid Council of Queensland,
along with Bribie Island members, benched hundreds of fragrant colourful orchids, foliage and floral
arrangements at the Bribie Island State School Activity Centre for over 1,000 visitors to enjoy. Visitors
also commented on the beautiful home-made morning teas and the venue, with its wheelchair and
walker access as well as plenty of safe, off-street parking. Seniors who came to see the displays
certainly enjoyed the ‘stepping back in time’ theme.
       I was proud to officially open the Q150 Easter show on behalf of Premier Anna Bligh in the
company of the federal member for Longman, Jon Sullivan. It is fitting to launch a new orchid on
Queensland’s 150th birthday. Not only is it a milestone in our history; of course the Cooktown orchid is
also our state emblem. President Judith Carleton and I cut the Q150 Easter Orchid Show cake, which
was made and decorated by member Beverley Hopgood.
       The Bribie Island Orchid Society prides itself on being a very friendly club and continues to
support and participate in other orchid related activities as well as community events whenever possible.
I take this opportunity to wish the members well in their endeavours to find a permanent home for a
meeting place to house their equipment and hold future activities.
256                                                      Adjournment                                              23 Apr 2009

                                                Gold Coast, AFL Team
       Mr STEVENS (Mermaid Beach—LNP) (11.43 pm): I rise tonight to salute the arrival of
Queensland’s second Australian Football League team to the Gold Coast. In a monumental move for
the Gold Coast region, the AFL has granted a licence to the GC17 Gold Coast franchise to start playing
in the top competition in 2011. This could not have been possible without the upgrade of the Carrara
Stadium, which I urged the government to commit to in December of last year. I am pleased the Bligh
government took my advice and announced during the recent election campaign the top-up funding for
the redevelopment of the stadium. I congratulate them for taking that difficult decision given the current
suffocating economic climate.
       It takes many people to bring a sporting dream to fruition and I hail them all, even down to the last
person whose invaluable signature was added to the list of 42,000 supporters. However, I must make
special mention of some individuals who were the driving force behind this outcome and who worked
tirelessly and selflessly to bring this iconic Australian game to the Gold Coast at the highest level.
       My long-term friend Mr John Witherif headed the bid team and, as a senior partner with the pre-
eminent legal firm of Minter Ellison, sacrificed countless hours of business and family time to see this
wonderful acquisition to the Gold Coast’s sporting arsenal become a reality. He is a great Gold Coast
citizen who would make his dad, Bill, another fine Gold Coast citizen, very, very proud.
       Graeme Downey, Bob Gordon, Dale Dickson and Dr Alan Mackenzie also made outstanding
contributions to this fantastic GC17 team effort, while the Premier did nothing. If our new team shows
the same tenacity and teamwork in their debut season that these gentleman displayed in achieving the
granting of that licence, then an instant premiership in 2011 is not out of the question.
       Another person who has supported the bid team at every opportunity is Mayor Ron Clarke, whose
Gold Coast City Council has made a massive financial commitment of $20 million to the development
and who intends to shortly cede ownership of Carrara Stadium across to the state government. Although
Ron is a beloved Essendon supporter, I am sure he will be tempted to pick the Gold Coast when the
tipping competition decrees a winner between Gold Coast versus Essendon. However, being witness to
his tipping prowess, I am reserved as to whether this is a good option or not.
       To all involved in this fabulous outcome, to the 40,000-plus members of the GC17 and to the AFL
fraternity on the Gold Coast, I congratulate you on entering Australia’s sixth largest city into the AFL
competition. Along with all of you, I eagerly await our first bounce of the ball in 2011. Go the Rays!

                                            Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve
       Ms MALE (Pine Rivers—ALP) (11.45 pm): I rise this evening to talk about the Steve Irwin Wildlife
Reserve and the ongoing campaign by Terri Irwin to protect this beautiful wilderness spot. After Steve
Irwin’s tragic death, the federal government provided funds for the purchase of the leasehold on a
wetland conservation property of approximately 135,000 hectares in Cape York Peninsula in honour of
his great conservation work. I have visited the reserve and have had the opportunity firsthand to see
the amazing uniqueness and biodiversity that abounds there.
       The rangers and conservationists have identified 158 terrestrial vertebrate species, 12 rare,
threatened or Cape York endemic animals and 24 plant species. The Wenlock River runs along the
boundary of the reserve for 65 kilometres and supports populations of the endangered spear-tooth
shark, freshwater sawfish, freshwater rays as well as estuarine crocodiles. More importantly, five
perched bauxite springs have been found on the reserve. These have not been found anywhere else.
The intricate linkages between the land, the springs and the river, which is the lifeblood of so many
species of plant and animals, mean this land must be protected.
       So what is the threat? Cape Alumina Pty Ltd has lodged mining lease applications over 12,300
hectares of the reserve and wants to mine over 50 million tonnes of bauxite starting next year. So what
happens if you remove the bauxite from the perched bauxite springs? You kill the springs and everything
that relies on them for support. Cape Alumina has said that it will rehabilitate the area after it has strip
mined it. Interestingly, Bindi Irwin, who is only 10 years old, understands the problem. She said that the
only way you can rehabilitate the springs is to put the bauxite back in.
       I have received from Australia Zoo 1,889 postcards addressed to the previous minister for mines
and energy detailing people’s objections to allowing the mining to go ahead. I table a copy of one for the
House and I will be forwarding these postcards to the new minister as soon as I can.
Tabled paper: Flyer, titled ‘Save Steve’s Place’, regarding the proposed mining area on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.
       I have sponsored a parliamentary online e-petition which has attracted 2,587 people who also do
not want to see mining on the reserve. Visitors to the zoo’s website are also able to sign their online
petition, and they have currently attracted 140,911 signatures. This has to be a record and it sends a
very clear message that no mining should go ahead on Steve’s place. Terri Irwin and her team will be
putting their own money into significant research incorporating research on crocodiles, fire management
and feral animal control, including flora and looking at its medicinal qualities.
23 Apr 2009                                    Adjournment                                              257

       The whole reason behind obtaining the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve is to protect the country and
its diverse and unique plants and animals. Australia Zoo is working with leading experts in carbon
credits and climate change to conduct a total economic valuation of the reserve. I call on Cape Alumina
to stop the nonsense and the incorrect information it has been peddling and withdraw its applications,
because if it were able to mine it would simply destroy a remarkable wilderness area to the detriment of
the environment and all Queenslanders.

                                           BrisConnections
       Mr DICKSON (Buderim—LNP) (11.48 pm): The Brisbane Airport Link is one of Australia’s single
biggest infrastructure projects. It is also in danger of being Australia’s biggest financial float disasters.
The BrisConnections debacle has been a nightmare for small investors who risked bankruptcy if they
were forced to meet their instalment payments. I hope the proposed Macquarie Bank bail-out plan will
bring that nightmare to an end.
       If there was ever an example in Queensland of toxic debt, BrisConnections is it. This project was
incubated here, with the blessing of the state government. The government adopted—apparently
without question—a grossly flawed financial strategy. So great was the regulatory failure that ASIC and
the ASX have taken measures to prevent a similar scheme in the future.
       This does not excuse the government from its role in this fiasco. There is a tangled web of interest
involved in this project too complex to describe here. I applaud the media for being diligent and bringing
to public attention the BrisConnections story and the problems facing the unit holders. The Chairman of
BrisConnections, Mr Trevor Rowe, is also the Chairman of Queensland Investment Corporation, which
is a unit holder in this project. He is also a director of the Australian Stock Exchange, a member of the
Board of Guardians for the federal government’s Future Fund. Mr Rowe is also the Chairman of the
United Group, which is allied with Thiess John Holland, the builder of the Airport Link. Nicholas Bolton is
a 19.8 per cent shareholder in BrisConnections. He sold his voting rights to Leighton Holdings. Then
there are the underwriters—Macquarie Bank and Deutsche Bank.
       On the day of the state election the Premier promised—core, I hope—that she has heard the
electorate and will have an open and more accountable government. Well, Premier, the opportunity to
show integrity on this promise is now. I call upon the Premier to set up an independent inquiry into this
fiasco. Any government receptive to open and transparent government should be concerned about
BrisConnections, which represents billions of dollars in infrastructure investment. The Queensland
parliament and mum and dad investors deserve nothing less than an independent inquiry.

                                        Gold Coast Waterways
       Ms CROFT (Broadwater—ALP) (11.50 pm): The Gold Coast waterways of the beautiful
Broadwater are a complex network of naturally shallow areas and artificially deepened channels. Many
areas are constantly shifting and shallowing through natural estuarine processes. Many of these areas
are located within and adjacent to high-value environmental areas such as the Moreton Bay Marine
Park and fish habitat areas. It is essential for navigational channels to be maintained to ensure access
and safety. I have been closely involved in advocating for and securing funding for the 2008-10 dredging
program, which amounts to $5.5 million. The Queensland government has committed $3.1 million
towards this program and has negotiated contributions from the Gold Coast City Council and industry
comprising the remainder.
       Current dredging works include dredging of sand near the south channel near the seaway
entrance and the South Wave Break Island channel in the southern Broadwater. From this dredging
works, nearly 100,000 cubic square metres of sand will be used by the Gold Coast City Council for the
foreshore reclamation of the Southport parklands. The dredging program for 2009 also includes
maintenance dredging of navigational channels at Slipping Sands, the main channel near Jacobs Well,
the Coomera River from the mouth to the Sanctuary Cove channel, and the West Crab Island channel.
       Recently I met with Marine Queensland general manager, Mr Don Jones, to discuss the Gold
Coast dredging requirements. I outlined to Mr Jones my commitment to continuing my work to establish
a funding base that enables further planned and ongoing programs for dredging maintenance. I look
forward to continuing these discussions with Gold Coast city stakeholders in coming weeks.
       The access needs study has involved state and local government representatives and the marine
industry to develop consensus on what is required for the boating industry to remain viable and to reach
some agreement on a joint funding commitment. The report from this study is due to be finalised and
considered by the minister later this year. The report and other work associated with the costing of
dredging needs will form the scope of the longer term dredging program and help identify funding
sources. I believe that Gold Coast boaties and the marine industry will benefit greatly from a joint
commitment from the state government, their local council and industry to fund such works on an
ongoing basis. This is what I will continue to focus on achieving for the Gold Coast and all Gold Coast
boaties.
258                                                   Adjournment                                            23 Apr 2009

                                        Southern Freight Rail Corridor
       Mr RICKUSS (Lockyer—LNP) (11.53 pm): I rise in this House to highlight some issues in relation
to the southern freight rail corridor, and I table some documents.
Tabled paper: Bundle of documents regarding a complaint referred to the CMC and ASIC in relation to the Southern Freight Rail
Corridor.
       The time lines in these tabled documents raise a lot of questions that need to be answered. I have
referred these issues to the CMC and to ASIC. There has been talk of a standard gauge rail hook-up to
the freight port in the Amberley-Purga area and interstate rail line. The southern freight rail corridor
started in August 2005 with a desktop study by Queensland Transport and other state departments. The
desktop study recommended option NI. On 14 March 2006 ministerial briefing note 3210 states that the
northern route is the most feasible and viable, and was signed off by Minister Lucas. On 18 December
2006 Minister Lucas changed it to route C3, which went through Rosewood, Mutdapilly, Peak Crossing
and Bromelton, away from Labor electorates and through two LNP electorates.
       On June 2007 Maunsell Property Consultants were appointed to undertake the stage 2 study. On
29 August 2007 the ministerial briefing note changed the realignment further west to encroach more
upon my area, around Rosewood. On 1 October Minister Lucas publicly announced the southern freight
rail corridor route C3. On 6 October the southern freight rail corridor draft assessment report was
handed down. Now it really gets interesting. The government’s Property Services Group buys rural land
at Mutdapilly—Lot 2, RP 178994 in Parish Jeebropilly, purchased for $2½ million, valued at $192,000.
That is $16,892 a hectare.
       In November 2006, Doyle Group subsidiary, Cunningham Industry Precinct Pty Ltd, as trustees
purchase adjoining lots—RP 220388 in Parish Mutdapilly for $15,460,000, valued at $1.75 million,
$58,000 a hectare—six weeks before ministerial briefing note 5518 put the railway line through
Mutdapilly. On 9 March 2007 the government bought Mutdapilly vacant land—C43 31676 in Parish
Mutdapilly for $5 million, valued at $440,000, 135 hectares at $44,000 a hectare. These adjoined the
above land.
       On 2 March the Doyle Group releases a plan for an industrial subdivision incorporating two
adjoining government blocks of land—one day after Minister Lucas announces the SFRC study. On 2
October 2007 Mirvac announces that it has agreed to terms to purchase this off-market acquisition of
five industrial properties—the largest by far being the Mutdapilly land from the Doyle Group for
$255 million. This decision to move the corridor benefits landholders such as Craig Doyle and Property
Services Group. The minister must come clean on this. What is going on in the Property Services Group
and the southern freight rail corridor? There were no appropriate environmental corridors—
       (Time expired)

                               Barron River Electorate, Election Promises
        Mr WETTENHALL (Barron River—ALP) (11.56 pm): I would like to advise the House on the
outcome of two key election commitments for Barron River made during the 2006 election campaign
that have now been delivered. The first was to upgrade the Smithfield Police Station. This $1.3 million
has transformed the station into a state-of-the-art facility required for policing in the 21st century. The
refurbishment includes new conference rooms, holding cells, breath analysis apparatus, fully equipped
interview rooms and new interior fittings to improve operational efficiencies. The refurbishment provides
much-improved working conditions for police and, very importantly, enables police to reduce the time
taken to transfer offenders to Cairns Police Station so that police can be back on the beat faster than
ever before. Over the past 2½ years I have supported calls for extra police in Cairns and have lobbied
for this outcome in the Barron River electorate, so I am delighted with the decision to allocate an
additional two police officers at Smithfield to take up their work in these first-class new facilities.
        The other 2006 election commitment delivered in Barron River that I am particularly pleased
about is new sporting facilities in the Freshwater Valley at Redlynch. Redlynch is one of the fastest
growing communities in Queensland and now boasts new sports fields and courts for Australian Rules
football, rugby league and netball funded by a $900,000 grant by the state government matched by a
similar amount from the Cairns Regional Council. The project was made possible by a unique
collaboration between the state government, the Cairns Regional Council and St Andrews Catholic
College, on whose land the facilities have been built for the benefit of the entire community. I
congratulate the vision and determination of all who were involved in bringing that project to reality.
        The other announcement which I want to briefly mention is a major refurbishment of science
laboratories at Smithfield State High School. This $1.273 million project will completely refit all existing
science labs in the school to provide the high-quality facilities and modern equipment that students need
to achieve their best and to prepare them for careers in science. First-class science facilities in schools
will play an important part in encouraging students to pursue science and help to arrest the decline in
students taking science as an option. Improved police facilities are going to make our community safer.
23 Apr 2009                                   Adjournment                                             259

New sporting facilities are going to make our community happier and healthier, and new science
facilities will contribute to making our communities smarter.

                                             Volunteering
       Mr ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (11.59 pm): I rise to address the House tonight about a very special
group of people, our volunteers, and acknowledge the remarkable contribution they make. National
Volunteer Week will be celebrated between 11 and 17 May. The theme this year is: ‘Volunteers:
Everyday people, extraordinary contribution’. From the Volunteering Australia website I learned that
about 34 per cent of our adult population are volunteers. Volunteers are the backbone of any
community. They help us achieve our vision of being a more caring society. They support business and
organisations that carry out vital community projects. Most importantly, they bring a diversity and first-
hand knowledge of their own skills to any venture they undertake.
       The benefits of volunteering can be intangible. However, I can state with certainty that there
would not be one member in the House tonight who would not join me in paying tribute to each and
every community volunteer and thank them for their contribution to making our communities safer,
greener, cleaner, brighter and happier.
       In the Noosa electorate alone, there is a very long list of community groups that operate very
successfully. In no particular order I would like to thank the members of the SES, the Coast Guard, the
Noosa Parks Association, the Noosa Integrated Catchment Association, RSPCA Noosa, Safety House,
Neighbourhood Watch, all the hobby and sporting associations, wildlife carers, service groups, the
hospital auxiliary, senior citizens and youth groups, ex-servicemen and women groups, Vietnam vets,
the Cooroora Historical Society, the Eumundi Historical Society, arts and theatre groups, tourist
information centres, Friends at Court, JPs and C.decs. Other groups include the Save the Mary River
group, PAGE, Friends of Noosa, the EDV Group, resident and community associations, surf lifesaving
clubs, local ambulance auxiliaries and many many more.
       Collectively, these fantastic Queenslanders devote thousands of hours of their time for the benefit
of others and for the betterment of their community. Volunteers, through their selfless dedication and
goodwill, are what makes our state and our nation great and it is their fine example that will serve to
inspire future generations of Australians.

                                            Telford, Mr JR
       Mrs KIERNAN (Mount Isa—ALP) (12.01 am): On Tuesday, 21 April 2009 I sat and listened to the
Governor of our state address this new parliament. At this time, James Rutherford Telford was laid to
rest in Cloncurry. Jimmy lived his 72 years with love, humour, good intention and courage and he was a
man proud that he had two careers in his lifetime. For three decades he was a bushman and then from
Melbourne Cup Day 1967 he started his second career and became, in his own words, a humble
publican.
       Whilst these lifestyles could not have been any more different he nonetheless remained
unchanged from the time of his birth in dusty Winton on 7 September 1936 until his death last Friday
morning.
       Mr Johnson: Great man.
       Mrs KIERNAN: I will take that interjection. Jimmy had a depth of character and strength of
conviction. He was a man of integrity, honesty and compassion. He lived by the values instilled in him as
a child. Jimmy grew up with a strong Catholic faith and commitment to God which he maintained for his
life.
       Jimmy was everything to his family and he was the world to them. Jimmy and his wife Billee were
married for 49 years. Today they would have celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary. There is little
doubt that their union could not have been more successful. Their marriage was built on mutual love and
respect and their children, Grant, Gregor, Trish, Andy, and their families are a testament to their great
love.
       Jimmy and Billee not only raised a wonderful family but built a family business. In terms of
publicans he was probably the last of his generation. That fact is not lost on the industry. In 2008 he and
Billee where inducted into the Queensland Hotels Association Hall of Fame. In a separate honour,
Jimmy was chosen as the hotelier of the year.
       Jimmy was a keen pilot and aeroplanes of all shapes and sizes and the freedom of the skies left
him in awe. Throughout his illness Jimmy remained at all times humorous, dignified and gentlemanly
toward all those with whom he came in contact with right to the very end. Phil’s and my friendship with
the Telford family spans some 30-odd years. My colleague the honourable member for Gregory and I,
along with our families, convey our sincere condolences and say farewell to a man who touched and
enriched the lives of many. James Rutherford Telford, rest in peace.
       Question put—That the House do now adjourn.
260                                           Attendance                                  23 Apr 2009

      Motion agreed to.
      The House adjourned at 12.05 am (Friday).

                                          ATTENDANCE
       Attwood, Bates, Bleijie, Bligh, Boyle, Choi, Crandon, Cripps, Croft, Cunningham, Darling, Davis,
Dempsey, Dick, Dickson, Douglas, Dowling, Elmes, Emerson, Farmer, Finn, Flegg, Foley, Fraser,
Gibson, Grace, Hinchliffe, Hobbs, Hoolihan, Hopper, Horan, Jarratt, Johnson, Johnstone, Jones, Keech,
Kiernan, Kilburn, Knuth, Langbroek, Lawlor, Lucas, McArdle, McLindon, Male, Malone, Menkens,
Messenger, Mickel, Miller, Moorhead, Mulherin, Nelson-Carr, Nicholls, Nolan, O’Brien, O’Neill,
Palaszczuk, Pitt, Powell, Pratt, Reeves, Rickuss, Roberts, Robertson, Robinson, Ryan, Schwarten,
Scott, Seeney, Shine, Simpson, Smith, Sorensen, Spence, Springborg, Stevens, Stone, Struthers,
Stuckey, Sullivan, van Litsenburg, Wallace, Watt, Wellington, Wells, Wendt, Wettenhall, Wilson




                                    GOVERNMENT PRINTER, QUEENSLAND—2009

				
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