It wasn’t only the Queensland Premier who came under fire when Australian House of Representatives MPs spoke to a motion by the Member for Capricornia.
Here is Federal Labor’s Janelle Saffin in Hansard on 26 November 2012:
Ms SAFFIN (Page) (11:40): In listening to the honourable member for Flynn speaking—can I say I like the honourable member for Flynn and he seems like a good fellow—how can it be a good idea to cut jobs in your own electorates? It is never a good idea no matter who does it. People can claim all sorts of mandates, but the fact is there is no mandate for the Queensland Premier to do it. I am speaking in support of this motion for a number of reasons. I live in New South Wales, not in Queensland. I live in the Northern Rivers.
Mr Neumann: She comes from Ipswich.
Ms SAFFIN: Yes, I grew up in Ipswich as the honourable member for Blair said. I am in an area where I see all this happening just over the border. I have been watching all the things that Premier Campbell Newman has been doing by taking the axe to the public service, to services, to the community and to projects and programs that matter in the community. What can matter more than recreational fishing? Recreational fishing is huge Australia-wide. It is huge in my seat of Page. We have recreational fishers everywhere. Even if you were not able to make a decision on policy grounds, why would you go and put the axe through recreational fishing programs on political grounds alone? Equally, it is also an industry. It is a huge industry with a huge economic base in regional areas. That is an important point to focus on and remember. By cutting their programs, cutting money to them, it has an impact at a regional economic level and it does not make sense to do it.
In watching what is going on in Queensland, some of it was going on in New South Wales with Premier O'Farrell. But Premier Newman seems to have emboldened Premier O'Farrell even more. He has taken the axe to programs left, right and centre. Anything that is not bolted down is up for the axe. In my area alone we have had the issue of Grafton jail. It was to close and then they wound it down and nearly 100 jobs would go. Jobs are going in TAFE. There are billions of dollars going out of TAFE.
Honourable members interjecting—
Ms SAFFIN: Well, there is a jail and it provides a lot of jobs to local people. You cannot replicate those jobs easily and they have gone. There is the whole spin-off effect in the local area. Also the slasher is going through TAFE.
Government members interjecting—
Ms SAFFIN: It is a shame. People can say, 'We want smaller government.' But this is ridiculous. These are front line people who deliver services. The ambos have been affected too as well as the firies.
Honourable members interjecting—
Ms SAFFIN: Yes, the rural fire brigade as well as the fire service are all being affected. On Friday night in Lismore I opened a fine art exhibition at Lismore TAFE which was called 'Last Draw'. It was actually the last of its kind because the program that they run is also being axed. There were over 100 students there and some of them were from a whole range of backgrounds, and a lot of them end up with work. We have a huge creative industry in my area. It is an industry in its own right and it provides enormous economic benefits to the community. It is really short-sighted to put the axe through programs like this. There were over 100 students there from a whole range of diverse backgrounds. It has given some of them a whole new life. Some of them were in recovery. They have done this course. It has given them a place to belong; it has also given them skills that they can go out into the community and earn money with.
When I look at what is happening to recreational fishing in Queensland I look with alarm, and I realise what it has done to Sunfish Queensland Inc. I have read all of their statements and they say:
The Queensland Government fully supports recreational fishing in Queensland.
Then why is its first act to cut funding to voluntary community recreational projects?
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