In the Media

33 Senators reduce transparency and accountability

Social Services Legislation Amendment
Cashless Debit Card Trial Expansion – Bill 2018

How on earth did 33 members of the Senate that are entrusted to ensure good governance; remove and reduce transparency and accountability of this government on this highly contentious social policy?

How on earth did 33 members of the Senate vote ‘AYE’ when there are way too many questions unanswered?

For example:

  • Who was/is on the Reference Panel?
  • The Department signed off on Indue terms and conditions which are implemented to each card holder.
  • Not the same as a normal debit card. Merchants are excluded unless put on the white list. (Individual agreements with merchants).
  • $7.9m Indue
  • $1.6m ORIMA
  • $24m trial 2 sites
  • CDC $10k per person
  • CDC $2k per participant now the program is expanded to Hinkler.
  • What is the per capital calculation?
  • Underpinning run cost per card per capita?
  • $17.8m trial 2000 participants
  • Cost to gov per capita?
  • Program cost?
  • Trial cost? Bundaberg / Hervey Bay (commercial in confidence) 6,700 card holders for Hinkler
  • Goldfields / Ceduna trial cost? Details unavailable (numbers published 4yr cycle).
  • What services will the Government invest in?
  • What are the relationships between the Government, Indue and the big 4 banks?
  • Where are the employment opportunities?

How on earth did 33 members of the Senate vote ‘AYE’ when not even knowing how much this is costing taxpayers?

Senator WATERS (Queensland) (13:11): This is still not my first speech. Minister, forgive me if we’re going over some ground that we’ve already covered, but, just for clarity, can I ask: what is the estimated cost of expanding the card to the Hinkler region?
Senator FIFIELD (Victoria—Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister for Communications and the Arts) (13:11): I’m advised that it’s an additional $4 million. Sorry, let me just go through for you and let me just correct that number that I gave you. Funding for the Goldfields and Bundaberg and Hervey Bay trial areas was secured in the budget in 2017-18. The cost to establish the trial and operate for one year in Ceduna and the East Kimberley, as you probably already know, was $17.8 million, with about 2,200 people on the trial in those sites from 2016. The additional cost for the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay trial areas, as negotiations are still underway, can’t be finalised or advised.
Senator WATERS (Queensland) (13:12): Thanks, Minister. Sorry, but you said there was a budget line item. Was there no estimate for the Hinkler rollout?
Senator FIFIELD (Victoria—Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister for Communications and the Arts) (13:12): There would be, but at this stage it’s commercial-in-confidence.
Senator WATERS (Queensland) (13:13): Thank you. Just staying with that theme, you did say an extra $4 million before, but you’ve pulled that back.
Senator Fifield: Correct.
The TEMPORARY CHAIR (Senator Sterle): Sorry, Senator Waters. The minister just answered your question: ‘Correct.’
Senator WATERS: Yes, thank you. I’m just trying to get the figures straight.

How on earth did 33 members of the Senate vote ‘AYE’ when they had not read the community feedback reports?

Senator FIFIELD (Victoria—Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister for Communications and the Arts) (12:29): I will have to check the status and nature of the report, if it does indeed exist. If it’s possible to then of course we will.

How on earth did 33 members of the Senate vote ‘AYE’ to people conforming to the governments wishes without most of them even visiting the region and undertaking their own consultation?

Senator WATERS: Indeed. I just have a few questions—and, forgive me, I’m somewhat new to this area. I have just been in Bundaberg and had some fabulous consultation with the Say No to the Cashless Welfare Card Hervey Bay region people. They are dead against this card. They feel that it will increase stigma, it will reduce their autonomy and it won’t help them pay their bills. It will make it harder for them to live their lives. It certainly doesn’t empower them to make financial decisions about what they do with their own money. Is this just an ideological commitment from the government to tell people how to spend their money? There seems to be a disconnect there. I don’t think the minister has even been to the region and asked these people what they think.
There was a Senate inquiry that didn’t even get to the area. I managed to go and Senator Siewert managed to go. My predecessor, Senator Andrew Bartlett, managed to go, and I hear that a number of Labor senators have managed to go as well. When is the government going to send its minister to this region to actually listen to the community and hear that they don’t want this draconian approach to them spending what are already limited funds?
I note that yesterday Senator Siewert introduced her bill to increase Newstart and youth allowance, because they are clearly already below the poverty line. Then you are cracking down further on people who are doing it tough and who are doing their best, and who don’t need the patronising, dead hand of this painful Liberal government telling them what to do.

How on earth did 33 members of the Senate vote ‘AYE’ when they are still waiting on questions on notice?

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia—Australian Greens Whip) (12:22): Can a trial participant stop being a trial participant if they become a full-time student studying away from the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay area or become a new apprentice after being placed on the card?
Senator FIFIELD (Victoria—Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister for Communications and the Arts) (12:23): I need to take that on notice.
Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia—Australian Greens Whip) (12:23): You mean that your advisers don’t actually know the answer to that pretty important question?
Senator FIFIELD (Victoria—Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister for Communications and the Arts) (12:23): It’s an individualised circumstance, so they would need to check and take advice.

Read the full transcript here, see for yourself what questions where asked and learn the responses. Hansard

Judge for yourself. Don’t let party politics blind you. Be informed.

#cashcow #CashlessCardCosts

SAVE Fraser Island Dingoes before they are extinct!

Normally a population is considered to be genetically unsustainable if the effective (breeding) population is below 200. On K’Gari (Fraser Island) the estimated total population is unknown due to many of the policies outlined in the Program not being implemented and research funding and planned projects for the Island have come to a halt.

Recently there have been only nine (9) on the western side and seven (7) sightings; five (5) adult dingoes and two (2) juveniles on the eastern side. A more accurate population estimate is needed. This can be achieved by the use of strategic DNA profiling and other non-invasive methods, such as facial recognition technology. This approach could also potentially identify relatedness between individuals and groups. In addition, a facial recognition app could be utilised by visitors to the island to assist in the non-invasive recording of individual dingoes.
If we don’t change what “we” are doing then this unique population of dingoes is at risk of extinction. This includes a need for more research into the health and sustainability of the dingo population.

Considering the importance of K’Gari (Fraser Island) as a World Heritage listed National Park research must remain a priority and innovative methods of conserving and protecting the Fraser Island dingo should be constantly explored. Genetic research has identified K’Gari (Fraser Island) dingoes as being a unique lineage that are at risk of inbreeding. However, despite the importance of the population, there is little data on the levels and trends in genetic diversity. Although we have plenty of data on deceased dingoes there is no birth register. The potential consequences of lower levels of genetic diversity include reduced fitness and concerns for the long-term adaptability of the population. Therefore, to ensure the conservation of a self-sustaining viable population, and to assist with management decisions this much needed research should be considered a priority. Management of dingo/human behaviour remains a contentious issue with animals still being destroyed. There remains a large knowledge gap in understanding the causes of human-dingo conflict on Fraser Island and the factors that may lead to a negative encounter. We suggest that additional research be undertaken with a focus on eliminating the continued destruction of animals. Many of the policies outlined in the Program have not been implemented and that research funding and planned projects for the Island have come to a halt.

Do we have to get to the stage of a genetic rescue or is it the Government’s intention to rid the dingoes off K’Gari all together?

The determination of native title was a testament to the strength of the Butchulla people and their ongoing connection to the land when Native title rights were granted by the Federal Court in 2014. The Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC) who provides advice to the Fraser Island World Heritage Area Management Committee on matters relating to the protection, conservation, presentation and management of the Fraser Island World Heritage Area must be just as frustrated with the protection of their dingoes as we all are.

I am absolutely appalled at the Queensland Government for its continuing mismanagement of the Fraser Island dingo population and believe it is at crisis point. I call on Fraser Coast Regional Council to support Save Fraser Island Dingoes Inc (SFID Inc), Ted Sorensen and our community and apply pressure to save our distinct dingoes before they are extinct.

#dingoes #FraserIsland #kgari #politicalnews

Long term inaction and cover-ups

PUBLIC INTEREST DISCLOSURE – A MUST READ

Many documents were tabled in Qld Parliament today by Member of Parliament Rob Pyne – not only putting Cairns FIRST; also putting every other region First. Representing all Queenslanders.

The only politician standing up for transparency and integrity.

Here is one of the many tabled documents to give you an idea on why an Independent Commission Against Corruption should immediately be established. Fraser Coast Regional Council is not the only Council in Queensland that needs investigating.

“The Department of Local Government and the Crime and Conduct Commission (CCC) have exacerbated the situation by their long term inaction and cover-ups which has left the staff and community at unacceptable risk physically, financially and emotionally.” Anonymous

Region ripe for the new-age industry

Click here to see Fraser Coast Chronicle article

#million$crop #trillion$industry #FARMacyNOTpharmacy #politicalnews

Rob Pyne responds to FCRC

ICAC style inquiry needed

Last year Rob Pyne called for an inquiry into local government in Queensland, stating that bullying, nepotism and toxic working environments are common. For more than a year he has been tabling examples of these matters and it is most disappointing that it has taken this long to legislate for change. Councils could be employers of choice—model employers. Mr Pyne reliably informed the House that Queensland councils are in many cases toxic workplaces that have damaged, and will continue to damage, people.

I stand with Rob Pyne in calling for a ICAC style inquiry into Local Government so that this harm and the many other offensive actions of Councils will be stopped.

Rob Pyne 

#toxicculture #icac #politicalnews

Our time is now

time-is-now

RALLY TO END COUNCIL CHAOS!

#HadEnough – FCRC we call on you to end the chaos in Council.

If you care at all about fixing the ongoing dysfunction in the FCRC you must turn out in force on Wednesday morning at 8:30am, City Hall, Maryborough. Democracy can be reasserted here if we make the council hear our voice. Rally to End Council Chaos!

Bring signs or just bring yourselves and your friends but turn out as this is our time, they must listen.

Wednesday 9th November, 2016
City Hall
Maryborough

Enough is enough Fraser Coast. Our reputation, our economy and our community is being destroyed by the infighting between the CEO and the Mayor and between councillors. We can no longer afford our council and CEO to be focusing their energies on attacking each other and point scoring rather than working together to better our wonderful region.

We also can not tolerate that the staff of OUR council are forced to work in such a “toxic” work environment and that there is a culture of “favouritism” and “reprisals”. The CEO needs to take responsibility for the HR problems and toxic work culture. The CEO and the Mayor can not work together in any positive way. One of them must go. The Mayor is elected, the CEO is an employee, whatever the many faults with the Mayor, its the CEO who must resign or be sacked for there to be any chance of this community rebuilding faith in the council.

Apathy has hurt our community for too long, if you care this may be your only chance to really stand up and make change happen.

Our demands:
1. We ask the CEO of the Fraser Coast Council to resign immediately.
2. Should this not happen we ask the council to pass a resolution in open chambers requesting the resignation of the CEO.
3. If not passed or CEO does not resign, we request the Mayor to use his powers to sack the CEO.
4. If this doesn’t happen immediately we request Deputy Premier Jackie Trad to sack the entire council, appoint an administrator, sack the CEO and call fresh elections for March 2017.

This rally is just prior to the council meeting starting with Public Participation at 9am, please stay and make your voice heard if you can.

Thank you for caring about our region and I urge you to make sure you attend and bring friends so we can make our voice powerful as one.

Michael Weekes & Jannean Dean
Rally Organisers
Email Michael
Email Jannean

Council should at least explore de-amalgamation

MEDIA RELEASE

Study after study has found that the benefits of regional amalgamation have failed to materialise. Costs generally increase after amalgamation, largely due to a harmonisation of costs and wages, and increases in service-efficiency remain elusive. The transitional costs after amalgamation are often quite high and, in some cases, reduce or even eliminate any anticipated immediate cost savings.

Mounting evidence suggests that amalgamation on the Fraser Coast – Three quarters of the Wide Bay is part of this Council and has not led to more efficient service production or delivery. Regional mergers reduce competition between regions, which weakens incentives for efficiency and responsiveness to local needs, while also reducing the choice for residents to find a community that best matches their ideal taxation and service rates. Since regional mergers rarely result in boundaries that encompass the entire region, externalities may still exist in transportation and land-use planning. Regional amalgamations have sometimes forced rural residents to pay for urban services they do not have access to.

With so many negative aspects, it’s no surprise that local restructuring proposals have often been met with stiff resistance from local residents. It also comes as no surprise that many residents argue that their communities were better off prior to consolidation. In the wake of lingering resentment regarding amalgamation, de-amalgamation is often suggested as a solution.

We have seen the call for de-amalgamation emerge in many cities and towns across Queensland. There is no reason why de-amalgamation cannot be pursued. Provincial governments have the ability to amalgamate regions and, therefore, also have the ability to separate them.

The difficulty in successfully implementing de-amalgamation means that amalgamation is something that cannot, and should not be easily entered into. More care needs to be taken in finding the best institutional structure for our local government.

Chris Loft was asked for his standing on a referendum for de-amalgamation of Maryborough, Tiaro and Woocoo Shires and boundaries joined to make one city pre-election and writes “Yes let the process begin. We must listen to community.” So why did he vote against it?

Anne Maddern Councillor for Division 2 sitting under the allocated Small Communities portfolio is trying to represent her communities aspirations, but unfortunately not many of her fellow colleagues do not seem to be supporting her which in turn means they are telling the community we are not listening. We don’t care, we will do what we want!

What are they scared of? Is the Council worried they may get a drop in pay? There is no reason why Council cannot have a conversation about this with people and initiate a poll considering in excess of 9,000 people wanting it that I know of. Under the LGA Councillors have to listen and report back to the people. They have failed Chapter 14,2 C Democratic representation, social inclusion, and meaningful community engagement.

Click here for Fraser Coast Chronicle article – Monday 20th June 2016

Cliff petition_Bruce

Clifford Thomas handing Bruce Sanders Maryborough MP 8000 plus signatures

Council vote for Pialba Memorial Hall to stay put

PMH_2
Our ‘No Deal’ campaigned worked – Together we saved our historical buildings. 🙂

 

Special thanks to Kenneth Hall, Bev Price, Jeanette Maynes, George Seymour, John Anderson, Mark Norfolk

THE Fraser Coast Regional Council has voted unanimously to keep the historic Pialba Memorial Hall and Pialba Railway Station in their current positions at Freedom Park.

The result of the vote was praised by Deputy Mayor George Seymour, who said he had opposed the decision of the previous council to move the two historic buildings.

“These two heritage buildings help tell the story of Hervey Bay,” Cr Seymour said.

Jannean Dean, who campaigned for the buildings to remain in their current location, said she was delighted by the Fraser Coast council’s decision yesterday.

She said the two buildings were among the last remaining remnants of Hervey Bay’s early years.

“It’s a massive win for the community,” she said.

“I’ve got to congratulate this council for representing the majority of the community.”

Ms Dean said she would be approaching the council with a development and tourism strategy designed to make the most of the heritage buildings in the coming months.

Ms Dean said it was also pleasing to see the Hervey Bay cenotaph was placed on the Queensland Heritage Register this month.

She said while the railway station and memorial hall had missed out on being listed, it was pleasing to see the council taking the necessary steps to preserve the buildings.

Cr Seymour said the railway station and the hall were both listed on the Fraser Coast Heritage Register.

He said when the Pialba Railway Station was opened in 1896, the trains that disembarked there transformed Hervey Bay into a popular tourism destination.

He said the memorial hall was built in 1906 and was first known as the Pialba Shire Council Hall.

The hall was the only surviving building of the short-lived government authority.

“These two buildings add character to our CBD and are extremely well utilised by the community,” Cr Seymour said.

“The railway station is used as the Veterans Advice and Social Centre and the Memorial Hall is utilised by a wide range of community groups and activities.

“By preserving them and recognising their historic significance we are maintaining a link with the past.”

Article Fraser Coast Chronicle 26th may 2017

PRS_1

Push for hall state heritage continues

FFC_30-04-2016_EGN_09_FRA111114remembrancehb8_fct960x720x29.0_ct620x465

THE push to add Pialba’s Memorial Hall to the State Heritage register will continue after the neighbouring cenotaph was recognised.

The heritage council has recommended the cenotaph be added to the state’s register due to its historical significance.

Last year Jannean Dean submitted the application to add the cenotaph and the Memorial Hall to the state register.

While “thrilled” to see the cenotaph recommended, Ms Dean said the goal was to secure the hall for the future.

“Chris Loft told me the council has no intention of moving it but regardless, we need to lock it in,” Ms Dean said. “I’m hoping the community will come forward with more historical information or pictures. It’s got significant local heritage but we’ve got to get it across the line.”

The submission to the Queensland Heritage Council comes after the previous Fraser Coast council indicated the hall could be moved to an undisclosed location.

Fraser Coast councillor for heritage George Seymour said the hall was a “vital community hub”.

He will move a motion at next week’s council meeting to prevent it from being re-located. “It’s the only surviving building of the Pialba Shire Council,” he said.

Ms Dean hopes to have most of Freedom Park heritage listed. “Once we get the hall listed then we’ll have a better chance of getting the railway station done,” she said.

Article Fraser Coast Chronicle

Breakfast: Fraser Coast Council

The issues, the candidates and all you need to know for the 2016 Local Government election. Fraser Coast Council.

Sound Cloud

_MG_1327

#vote1 #JD4Mayor #TripleR – rates rubbish roads