Queensland Tourism stalls
Premier Campbell Newman’s budget cuts have been blamed for the stagnated growth in Queensland Tourism as other states forge ahead. Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor’s Survey for the June Quarter showed international visitors rose by 1 percent, with Victoria up 11pc, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia all up 7pc, Tasmania up 4pc and Australia Capital Territory up 2pc. The results concern the Queensland Tourism Council who highlighted the $24.94 million cut to Tourism and Events Queensland’s (TEQ) in the 2014/15 budget. They also stressed that marketing was not the only factor involved in the lacklustre response.
As confirmed with ABC online business reporter Michael Janda, the currently falling dollar should be aiding tourism to pick up across the nation.
— Michael Janda (@mikejanda) September 21, 2014
Queensland Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey hid from the media until Tuesday. With Campbell Newman by her side. She ignored the bad tourism numbers and proudly announced that 27,000 jobs that had been created in the industry over the past three years.
— Amber Austin-Wright (@AmberAW) September 16, 2014
However, as Brisbane Times state political reporter Amy Remeikis revealed, the announcement had been regurgitated from a few months prior in April. Premier Newman commented that Queensland was “the safest place in the world” to visit.
Ban the bins.
In response to the hightened alert on terrorism across the nation, Premier Newman ordered bins at several major Brisbane rail and bus stations welded shut. All bins were ordered closed at train stations between Bowen Hills and Toowong.
“I said we would would act and you can see that action taking place,” said Newman.
However, commuters labeled the ban “ridiculous”, “silly” and the action didn’t make them feel safer.
“Where are you supposed to put your rubbish? Who’s going to pick it up?” one passenger told @9NewsBrisbane.
Whilst bins are out of action, commuters can still pick up their copy of mX newspaper right along side the banned bins.
BIN BAN more: Plus Milton and Nerang and Robina during big events pic.twitter.com/0ey8kpL2Ha
— Peter Doherty (@PeterDoherty7) September 15, 2014
A brief shining moment – By far, Campbell Newman’s best speech.
Over the last two and a half years, Campbell Newman has made a lot of stupid comments, among the many linking asylum seekers to criminal gangs ahead of the 2013 federal election.
However, on Thursday he was on the front foot sending the message that bigotry would not be tolerated. In the wake of the terrorism arrests, he headed off any potential bigoted comments from his MPs by publicly making it clear that verbal attacks on the Muslim community were not acceptable.
If you can’t stop the boats or know when one is going to appear off Geraldton you can’t be trusted to deal with gangs #qldpol
— Campbell Newman (@theqldpremier) April 18, 2013
The government has been caught up in controversial comments made by LNP MP Vaughan Johnson who derided Asian drivers and LNP Leader of the House Ray Stevens who labeled Labor’s Jackie Trad a ‘jihadist’ in reference to her Lebanese heritage.
After thanking Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart for the efforts of police this week, Newman had a warning against attacks on the Muslim community.
“It’s this thing again…. about, if people start to lash out at a particular group then we immediately start to break our community apart and let’s not allow that to happen,” he said.
“Let us recognise that we’re only, we’re dealing with some criminals who using a particular religion, the Muslim religion, as a badge to try and convince other people to get on board. You know, they are rejected by the leaders of that religion and all freedom loving, you know, members, the majority of people of that religious group, they reject those things equivalently.”
“I would encourage Queenslanders who love our democracy, who love our multi-cultural community to actually turn up as a gesture of good faith, as a gesture of fellowship to show the people in that community that all Queenslanders on the whole are right behind them a 100 percent understand exactly the difficult issue that confronts us all.”
Indeed, on Friday the Holland Park Mosque south of Brisbane City opened it’s doors to questions from the public with around 200 attending. Born in England, local Imam Uzii Akbar addressed the assembly and explained that extremists have actually broken ties with their Mosques.
“Islam is innocent of the crime committed by Muslims in the same way that Christianity is innocent of the crimes committed by Christians,” he told The Brisbane Times.
A wave of reprisals has been directed across Queensland at Muslim women since counter-terrorism operations were carried out.
From asset sales to asset leasing – A game of poles and wires.
Asset sales are now off the table ahead of the Queensland election in 2015. In favour now is asset leasing. Government owned ports were always scheduled to be leased with parts of the electricity network to be sold. Now, everything is up for 50, 60 or 99 year leases. Treasurer Tim Nicholls told the media that the state feels more “comfortable” with leasing rather than selling.
“Queenslanders in the feedback we’ve received, and I’ve received it personally, feel more comfortable around a lease than an outright sale,” he said.
However, whilst in Opposition in 2010, Nicholls opposed the Bligh Government’s asset leasing intentions saying a long-term lease was “as good as giving away the farm”.
Boss, Peter Simpson told the media, “It’s the whole kit and kaboodle. $33 billion, and put that into context the Bligh (Government) privatisations were $15 billion, so we’re talking over twice the amount of Queensland assets there’s not much left in the silverware cupboard.”
Campbell Newman has always felt uneasy about selling assets.
“I’ve always had great concerns about asset sales as do Queenslanders,” he said. “The electricity industry is heavily regulated in Australia and frankly it will continue to be strongly regulated.”
Over to you, Queensland.
Overcrowding in youth detention centres
A Queensland Department of Justice draft report released to ABC News Queensland has revealed overcrowding in youth detention with almost every girl suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of sexual abuse. Operating above safe capacity could increase the risk of escape, youth worker injury or self harm/injury to detainees. Centres are operating above 100 percent capacity for a third of the year.
Up 36pc in three years, the overcrowding is fueled by a surge in detainee numbers as the Newman Government persists in its’ “get tough on crime” policy. The youngest detainee is eleven with the number of girls tripling.
There are no plans to build more centres until 2018 so interim arrangements include mattresses on the floor of single cells, use of police watchhouses as lodgings and converting the disused Brisbane Children’s Court complex. The complex was closed by the Newman Government in March 2014, with cases now being heard in the Magistrates Court in Brisbane City.
Not appearing on camera, in response Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie issued a statement to the ABC saying he was “appalled” and blamed the previous Labor Government for a lack of investment in the system. The architect of Queensland’s youth boot camps, he rejected the interim suggestions saying that a new blueprint for youth justice would be published soon.
Tweet of the week – Hi-vis vending machines installed.
Get G20 ready at the Brisbane Convention Centre with hi-vis vending machines.
You can have your weird vending machines, Japan. Brisbane has hi-vis vests. So there. pic.twitter.com/Nv7UCWZLS2
— Amy Remeikis (@AmyRemeikis) September 17, 2014