MR ENTSCH: Mr Speaker, vary rarely I use these speeches to vent my spleen but I need to set the record straight and start calling out the Queensland Labor Government.
The Cairns Port and the Cairns Shipping Development Project has been a hot topic for many years now.
But sadly there are those in my community that have drunk the “kool-aid” dished up to them by others whose only interest is throwing mud.
However, I am one that likes to deal in real facts.
The Queensland Labor Government has made a big song and dance about the fact they own the Cairns Port.
Mr Speaker, given this, it is high-time they are held to account.
The Cairns Port and associated dredging is wholly and solely the responsibility of the Queensland Government.
Annastacia Palaszczuk held a press conference on November 5, 2015 where she announced Queensland’s four strategic ports.
The Premier’s announcement ultimately consigned Cairns Port to “boutique” status.
It was then announced on November 12, 2015 the Sustainable Ports Development Bill had passed the Queensland Parliament.
I note Katter’s Australian Party State MPs, who held the balance of power at that time, did absolutely nothing to stop Cairns Port being relegated to “boutique” status.
I might also add the Queensland Government can change Cairns Port’s status at any time it wants.
Mr Speaker, fortunately, the Queensland laws did not capture the Cairns Shipping Development Project and the associated Environmental Impact Statement as it was underway before the legislation was introduced.
Fast-forward three years and the likes of Curtis Pitt and Michael Healy made all types of promises during the 2017 State Election about dredging funds for the Cairns Shipping Development Project.
However, six months later, the Queensland Government did not allocate a single cent towards the dredging project in their 2018 State Budget despite all the promises.
But they did give Townsville Port $75 million dollars for dredging and expansion.
Mr Speaker, why is the Queensland Government doing everything in its power to stifle millions, if not billions of dollars’ worth of investment in Cairns?
Why has the Queensland Government continually neglected Cairns and in favour of Townsville?
The answer is pretty simple – they are doing Bill Shorten’s bidding for him.
The Queensland Labor Government is making conscious decisions to withhold funding and support, not just on this project but on others surrounding strategic roads and water security projects in my electorate, so Bill Shorten can fly in and make grandiose announcements in a bid to embarrass the federal government.
I fully intend to start calling out this morally corrupt and abhorrent behaviour on the part of the Queensland Government for what it is.
It is about time the Queensland Government start putting the interests of Cairns and Far North Queensland ahead of their mates in Canberra.
Imagine the outrage if a Liberal State Government was caught doing this – the outrage and ongoing condemnation would be deafening.