OPINION: Most people want a secular Australia
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
WHAT is going on in this country with all this "religious freedom" all of a sudden?
People in this country have always had the freedom to practise whatever religion they want, but now Christians, and yes it is mostly Christians, believe they somehow should have special rights to discriminate against anyone they deem unworthy.
Where are my rights to have freedom from religion and to live in a secular country?
Where are the rights of children not to be indoctrinated when they are too young to work out fact from fiction?
Too many politicians on both sides are too quick to come out and appease people of faith.
I'd like to see some of them show some guts and stand up for the majority who want to keep a secular Australia.
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Government asleep at the wheel
LAST month former Defence Force chief Chris Barrie said Australia would be seen as the "land of opportunity" for many people affected by climate change.
Speaking as defence strategist and as a member of the Global Military Advisory Council on climate change, he went on to say we could face as many as 100million people attempting to come our way and as he points out our resources simply won't cope.
That's a national problem, yet another one being swept under the carpet by our government which still attempts to pretend that we don't have big problems coming and that short term, piecemeal efforts to appease the broader population will suffice, a collection of ticking time bombs.
But what about more locally?
While many of us, and our alleged leaders, still prefer to see the long-lasting drought as such and not the new normal, and while extreme weather is increasingly making life on the land more difficult, are we in Gympie and surrounds likely to see our own climate refugees coming from places out west, where the effects of changing climate are making life too difficult?
If so, as I suspect we may be seeing already, are we ready for it?
Have we got any real plans for any of the growing population likely to be coming at us from all directions? Those escaping soul-destroying and expensive cities and those escaping drier areas where even town water can no longer be assured?
All levels of government seem to be asleep at the wheel.
The Feds blame the states and states blame the Feds for lack of water storages being built and our council wants to welcome both tourists and new residents while seemingly not thinking about the lack of water security a growing Gympie could face if the Mary River gets to low levels it has in the past.
This week, the IPCC, the best authority on climate change-based on science, pointed out that land use and what we eat will be important changes needed in attempting to not leave those following us a dire earth that struggles to feed its population.
But our state MPs are more interested in clearing more land to do more of the same as now (and giving farmers automatic guns they don't need).
Meanwhile, smart overseas investors have been bailing out of owning grazing land in Australia and more smart money is very close to perfecting manufactured "meat".
The luxury of the status quo is one we can't afford but a scared and uncertain population is being led and fed a cruel hoax that we don't need to change our habits and methods.
Populist politics and misplaced pride is not an answer but that's all we get from our 'leaders'.
We need leaders, not reflectors of the fear they create to serve their short term political ends. If we don't grow up and wake up soon it's going to be too late!
Ratepayers' $6billion rip- off?
TWENTY-SIX years ago approximately, Gympie council made a horrendous decision by locating five gun clubs on residential A ratepayers' land.
Unbelievably, council with a choice of gun club sites from hundreds of square kilometres located the five gun clubs on the wrong town plan zoning, right next to existing residential houses in Gympie.
For the last 26 years this has provided excessive noise and misery to nearby residents and koalas.
Ron Owen, Cooloola Range Gun club president and previous councillor and Gympie ammunition and guns supplier, described the ratepayer rip-off in The Gympie Times on July 7, 2018 by indicating that the lands could have been 4000 residential A blocks worth $4billion in 2007.
Today's increased land values puts this ratepayer rip-off in favour of gun clubs at $6billion.
And to add insult to injury, Mr Owen in The Gympie Times on July 27, 2019 has the audacity to request more money from ratepayers to expand his presidential gun club empire, thus improving his ammunition and gun supply business.
Every time I hear or read of Gympie tip fee increases, rates increases, levy increases, roadworks required and sewer on hold, I think of the $6billion ratepayer rip-off in favour of gun clubs.
Council has recently been asking ratepayers to provide their opinion on the next town plan.
Outraged, ripped-off ratepayers should demand council go back in time 26 years, rezone the land residential A, remove the gun clubs, develop the 1000 blocks and pocket the $6billion.
This would hold back rates, levies and tip fees for years to come and bring roads and sewer to the standard ripped-off ratepayers deserve.
Fishing quotas threaten industry's future
HUNDREDS of commercial fishers will be forced out of the industry by the Palaszczuk Labor Government's unfair changes to fisheries regulations.
Under Labor's proposed changes to quotas, the take for certain species will be reduced well below viable levels for fishers to make a living.
The damaging impacts of Labor's changes will be felt up and down the coast.
Reducing quotas to unsustainable levels will lead to job losses and fishing businesses that have been around for generations won't survive.
All these changes are being imposed on fishers without a cent of compensation.
The LNP is calling for a halt to the regulation changes after it became clear Labor was no longer listening to industry.
The Palaszczuk Labor Government hasn't completed modelling the impact the proposed quotas would have on local and domestic seafood supply.
If there isn't enough local seafood to meet demand then imported produce will increase.
The last thing Queenslanders want is less local seafood and more overseas produce at the local supermarket.
LNP spokesman for fisheries
A STRONG manufacturing sector means more Queensland jobs, and more jobs means a stronger Queensland.
More than 171,000 Queenslanders are employed in this $20billion sector, and numbers are set to keep rising.
The Palaszczuk Government has been working tirelessly to grow local manufacturing jobs since we were first elected in 2015.
For example, our $46million Made in Queensland initiative is helping small-to-medium sized business expand their operations and hire more Queenslanders.
Made in Queensland has supported beloved local businesses like Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, Packer Leather and Pixie Ice Cream - and that's just the beginning.
In total, MiQ has backed 78 manufacturing projects across our state, 40 per cent of those in our regions, which will generate more than 1000 new jobs.
Recently we committed more than $7.7million over four years to establish Australia's first robotics manufacturing hub in Brisbane's north, which will offer support to manufacturing businesses across Queensland.
And our 15-year planning protection for the XXXX Brewery will protect 150 jobs at the iconic Queensland business.
We've also invested $30million to establish manufacturing hubs in Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton, localised to the strengths of each city.
Jobs in our regions is one of this government's top priorities, and initiatives like these hubs will strengthen our regional workforce and help attract more private sector investment to our state.
Incredibly, in the face of this positive progress, Deb 'do-nothing' Frecklington has promised to slash state support for manufacturing by more than half if elected.
Only Labor has done the heavy lifting when it comes to protecting manufacturing jobs in Queensland, and only Labor will ensure Queensland manufacturing continues to grow and thrive.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
Drying up crucial Queensland infrastructure
LABOR once again has shown its true colours when it comes to water infrastructure in Queensland.
The Palaszczuk Labor Government crushed the Nullinga Dam project with the oldest trick in the book by fudging the numbers to push the project into the never-never.
The LNP were also able to get out of the SunWater CEO in Estimates that the Rookwood Weir project timeline has blown out by three years from expected completion in 2021 to 2024.
News that the state will fund the remaining $13million out of the $84million ($47million Commonwealth funding, $23.4million private) for the Emu Swamp Dam project in the Southern Queensland Granite Belt is welcome, but Labor only came kicking and screaming after months of heavy lobbying from the LNP and local communities.
Annastacia Palaszczuk would rather see Queensland dry-up than build crucial water infrastructure. She doesn't give a damn about dams.
Labor's priorities are all wrong.
Cross River Rail in Brisbane has blown out by more than $1billion but Labor can't find a cent for Nullinga Dam.
Ten new or higher taxes have been slugged on Queenslanders, cost of living has soared, unemployment is the worst in mainland Australia and farmers can't cope with the crippling cost of water.
Only the LNP is committed to region-defining projects such as raising Burdekin Falls Dam as well as building Nullinga and Urannah dams as they will kick-start the regional economies, create new jobs and provide water security for generations to come.
The LNP has a plan to create a government-owned Queensland Dam Company (QDC) based in Townsville to construct new dams and unleash the economic potential of regional Queensland.
This anti-regions, anti-jobs and anti-dams Labor Government will make-up any excuse not to build job-creating dams in Queensland.
LNP spokesman for natural resources