Today we released our policy on Indigenous issues impacting the people of FNQ. As usual the Cairns Post are not interested in reporting anything that does not help their old colleague. Here is the release in full
The Australian Party Candidates have called for a greater focus on the needs of indigenous Australians in FNQ
The Australian Party Candidate for Cairns Mr Darren Hunt said “Throughout the campaign there has been a policy vacuum in terms of indigenous needs and policy from the major parties. The LNP contract for FNQ does not include a single commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, other than to take away their traditional hunting rights. This shows the contempt they are showing for this section of our community.”
“By comparison, The Australian Party has been working with indigenous people and organisations to meet the needs of people in FNQ. As a result we have committed to-
Pushing for constitutional reform so that any referendum includes questions on issues of removing race based exclusions and formal recognition of councils.
Provide a system of interpreters for Indigenous Australians in our court system
Increase the employment opportunities of indigenous Australians through more trainee/bridging type courses for people to join the Queensland Police and Queensland Corrective Services so there is a greater representation in the legal system and processes.
Support and recognise successful health programs and initiatives conducted by Indigenous health organisations, such as WuChopperen, into our local health reforms so that funding can be directed where it achieves the best outcomes for Indigenous health.
The Australian Party is committed to ensuring that first Australians are not forgotten in our political process and will provide an inclusive process that gives them confidence they can take part in our democracy and get their voice heard.
Still no coverage from Cairns Post about our Bruce Hwy announcements. Here it is for you to consider.
The Australian Party candidate for Cairns, Darren Hunt, says the release of the Reconstructing Queensland policy document highlights the party focus on areas like FNQ.
Mr Hunt said “The people of Far North Queensland finally have a political party that has proven its focus will not be on Brisbane and South East Queensland. The Bruce Highway is vital to Cairns and FNQ. As a result of the Bligh government selling off our rail system we have seen a decrease in the amount of freight being moved by rail which has meant more trucks on the Bruce Highway.
“Year after year we get cut off. The Bruce Highway has continued to deteriorate to unacceptable levels, placing lives in danger. The other political parties continue to try and pork barrel the southern electorates instead of addressing what has become a national disgrace. Only The Australian Party is prepared to stand up and say, no more.”
“The ALP can only commit to some pie in the sky, half chance, maybe, 20 years down the track. Not good enough. Last night LNP candidate Robyn Quick let the cat out of the bag at the Cairns Chamber of Commerce forum that the LNP promised upgrades for the Bruce Highway will only go ahead if they get Federal funding over ten years. What happens to Cairns and the Bruce Highway if the Federal government doesn’t commit to their demands? Cairns and FNQ would be forgotten about again. They are as hopeless as each other.”
“Only the Australian Party has the courage to put the needs of the State of Queensland above pork barrelling southern electorates to win elections. The Australian Party has committed to stop the new proposed rail system for Brisbane and divert that money to where it is needed most.”
“The Bruce Highway needs to be repaired and upgraded. It is now clear that a vote for ALP or LNP is a vote for Brisbane. Only a vote for The Australian Party is a vote for Cairns and the needs of Far North Queensland. The Australian Party will deliver the much needed upgrades to the Bruce Highway.”
Katter’s Australian Party candidate for Cairns, Darren Hunt, has called the lack of support services for people with a disability in Far North Queensland a disgrace.
“We have had the Premier announce a new special school for Cairns and we applaud that as something very much needed up here. But we can’t just have a pharaoh like monument where they get to cut the ribbon and no other support or funding is given.”
“Where are the teachers and teachers’ aides coming from? Who is going to fund it? What training and professional development is being provided for teachers and principals to deal with children with special needs. These are all questions that need to be answered. The waiting lists for children to get access to much needed speech therapists and Occupational Therapy are horrendous but there’s nothing mentioned about that.”
“We have the ridiculous situation that children with autism for example have support up to the age of 7 years of age, but then once they reach school age it practically ceases, unless the family reaches crisis stage. Then the support kicks in again once the child is over school age as we try to assist them get into the workforce and independent living. They are virtually forgotten about for ten years, put in the too hard basket, and parents and families are left to deal with the fall out on their own.”
“This has to end. To address the shortfall of speech therapists and OT providers we will work to establish a training program for these professions at JCU. This will address the huge shortfall we currently face and give kids with autism a greater chance to become part of the school and community. This will also benefit cancer sufferers and victims of strokes. With local stroke incidents in general and the problems faced by the indigenous stroke unit there is an urgent and immediate need that such a program could help to address.”
“We also need to ensure that we have sufficient hours allocated to teacher aide hours, specifically for use for special needs children, in schools. By ensuring these are budgeted for on a yearly basis sufficient arrangements can be made to give these kids some structure and stability and not allow these hours to be diverted to other parts of the education system which are also lacking.”
“Finally we need to ensure that this school has the required funding and allocations to operate the proposed special school. It also needs to be able act as a support network for the children who are not as high needs and can be placed in mainstream schools, as well as the principals, teachers and aides that will teach them. There has to be a commitment to ongoing professional development and training of staff so that kids who do have special needs have every opportunity to be able to have an education and learn the social skills to be able to work towards independent living where possible.”
As this has hit the Courier Mail let’s compare the potential candidates and their party stances on the issues raised here-
Diversification-Civic leaders are calling for diversification of our economy and new industry. Only Katter’s Australia Party has proposed this. Both the other parties continue to focus on tourism at the detriment of all other parts of our economy. We have called for the establishment of an ethanol industry. We have called for greater support for our manufacturing industry with calls for things like Navy patrol boats to be built here by local companies such as NQEA.We have called for our local companies to have a greater weighting to ensure money stays in our economy.
Business support and red tape reduction- It says here the LNP are making the right noises about reducing red tape. Show me where they actually say how they will change it. ALP candidate says nothing as she would not know and says nothing. KAP said we would increase threshold for payroll tax from $1million to $2Million helping 7,500 businesses. We said we will reduce red tape by having a team made of actual business people that know what they’re talking about to reduce red tape by 30%
Law and order/crime-Clearly a big issue for Cairns by this and many other new reports. The ALP candidate says there are no crime issues in Cairns and claimed at the Cairns candidates forum the biggest crime issue in Cairns was scaremongering about crime. Sorry, ask the people on the streets and they’ll tell you differently. The LNP offer little more. They have committed to 1,100 new police over 4yrs but yet they have not advocated for a review of the police staffing model to ensure we get a fair share of those police. They have not proposed any legislative reform to address repeat offenders or weak sentences other than to increase some maximums which does nothing. KAP has proposed legislative reform to the Bail Act, Juvenile Justice Act and the way in which parole is issued and administered which will address repeat offenders. We have announced measured to ensure victims are not put out by the actions of criminals and for offenders to have to pay for their crimes. KAP advocated for effective monitoring of sex offenders. KAP advocated for police helicopters.
Fuel and power bills-Neither party has a strategy for FNQ fuel bill reduction. Both parties will sell our state electricity assets which will see prices go up.
KAP is the only one with solutions to these very important issues. We won’t allow sale of our assets so that will ensure prices don’t go up. KAP has advocated for the introduction of ethanol which will reduce prices and reliance on overseas imports. KAP has advocated for power to be generated from sugar mills using the by product burnt off to generate power, making power prices cheaper.
Grocery and household bills- KAP have said we will bust up the duopoloy of the two supermarkets to provide better savings to households. Reducing fuel costs reduces transport costs which reduces grocery costs. Neither the LNP or ALP candidates have any solutions for reducing grocery prices. Neither of the other candidates understand the presure on families in relation school costs etc
Putting Cairns first-The ALP has shown they are only focussed on Brisbane and Townsville. Newman has shown he is only focussed on Brisbane. He does not know where Cairns and Bowen are on the map. He does not know how many people live in our city. How can we get the resources we need if he thinks we have half the population we actually have? Do they think we forgot when the LNP Cairns candidate said he would fund the CEP and match the ALP funding, only to have his Brisbane focussed master come on 5seconds later and say know they wont? Their Cairns candidate has no power and must bow to this southern masters. KAP candidates get to put their electorate first. We called for government departments to be relocated to regional areas like Cairns but the ALP Premier said it was too hard because the poor old public servants had their lives established in Brisbane. But now she is happy to move them to Townsville. Not good enough. We are still calling for government departments like tourism, A&TSI affairs, fisheries etc that could be located in Cairns
HEALTH-KAP announced on 13/12/11 our policy to have Cairns Base Hospital allocated Tier 1 funding to ensure we get the resources we need. We identified the need for urgent action to be taken in relation to the disaster management planning needs of CBH. We announced a new hospital to be built at Edmonton. We announced job sharing and child care arrangements to encourage and support working mothers. We announced an increase in the rural scholarship scheme for doctors and nurses. We announced a range of efficiency measures that will improve service delivery. We announced a review of the Patient Transfer Subsidy Scheme. The LNP waited two months and then announced tier 1 funding like we did, but nothing else. But the announcement of the campaign came from the Cairns ALP candidate who claimed our health woes would be cured by dropping the word “BASE” from Cairns Base Hospital. Speaks volumes that one.