Cairns News - Rob Pyne MP

Help us ‘Whip Up a Storm’ to Keep The Bastards Honest!

Queensland must have Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)

Member for Cairns Rob Pyne’s call for an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) to be established in Qld has gathered momentum following a Queensland Mayor being arrested and charged with offences including extortion.

Pyne condemned the Palaszczuk Government for a failure to listen to concerns he raised in Parliament over many sittings, which most recently resulted in him being referred to as a ‘coward’. He said, “The CCC has a large archive of complaints that need to be reviewed. Whistleblowers and complainants from the past need to be interviewed and given an opportunity for a proper hearing”

Pyne said, “The current process is inadequate. Just getting the CCC to investigate is a massive obstacle. The percentage of complaints investigated is LESS than 2%. The remaining 98% are referred back to the organisation being complained about.”

Professor Prenzler said of the CCC “Over three decades the Commission had failed in its task of independently investigating allegations and preventing misconduct by sending complaints back to the agency concerned where they usually vanished, leaving complainants disillusioned, angry and vulnerable.”

“These are not victimless crimes, people have suffered, lives have been lost. This is not about me, this is about our state and stamping out crime and corruption in the public sector.

“I continue to call for the Palaszczuk Government to support an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for the Sunshine State. Today I have written to The Premier requesting:

  • Establishment of an ICAC in Qld.
  • A ban on property developer donations to Mayors and Councillors.

This matter is now so serious and urgent that should the Palaszczuk Government fail to act they will be increasingly infected by the stench of existing and emerging corruption.”

Palaszczuk Fails to Protect Queensland Jobs at Sea

Member for Cairns Rob Pyne has condemned the Palaszczuk Government for a failure to act in relation to Rio Tinto’s use of foreign crews on intrastate routes. He said the state government should be making sure Queenslanders are given jobs on ships taking intrastate voyager, not cheap foreign labour. Referring to Pacific Aluminium’s decision to sack Australian workers and replaced them with developing world workers, paid as little as $2-an-hour, Pyne said blame could be sheeted home to Pacific Aluminium parent company Rio Tinto.

Pyne said, “The continued use of foreign crew company contravene Australian labour, safety and wage laws. The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) are on record as saying, “They say they can’t afford Australian workers on Australian wages, yet Alfred Barrios – the global CEO of Aluminium – pocketed $3.6 million in wages and because of their generous decision to pay out US$2.15 per share, he made another $300,000.”

Pacific Aluminium was a profitable subsidiary of mining giant Rio Tinto and as a result did not have a valid business case for sacking its local workers.

In today’s sitting of Queensland Parliament, Mr. Pyne asked, “Will the Palaszczuk Government condemn Rio Tinto’s use of foreign crews on intrastate routes and make sure Queenslanders are given jobs on ships taking intrastate voyager, not cheap foreign labour?”

Pyne said he supported the MUA on this issue and levelled criticism at the Palaszczuk Government that he said “has ‘bent over backwards’ to facilitate Rio Tinto projects such as $2.6 billion Amrun project which is developing one of the world’s largest bauxite deposits in Cape York.’ He said “We must ensure corporations such as Rio Tinto meet their obligations to us as a community.”

“Why is Rio Tinto replacing Australian seafarers with highly exploited foreign labour to the complete disregard of local jobs, national security and environmental risk and what is the Palaszczuk Labor Government going to do about it?” he said.

Queensland Must Establish ICAC now to punish Corrupt!

Member for Cairns Rob Pyne has condemned the Palaszczuk Government for a failure to listen to concerns regarding local government, in light of recent events and explosive documents he will table today in the Queensland Parliament. This follows Mr. Pyne’s well documented public feud with Deputy Premier Jackie Trad on this issue. Pyne claimed corruption would remain widespread in Queensland until the Sunshine State had its own Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Mr. Pyne who had previously tabled documents alleging ‘wrong doings’ in relation to Ipswich and other Councils was rebuked by Deputy Premier and then Local Government Minister Jackie Trad. Trad repeatedly told Mr Pyne, that the current complaints process – to first complain to the council itself and then the Crime and Corruption Commission – was adequate. Pyne rejected this, saying “Complaining directly to councils on some circumstances has seen some residents threatened with legal action, businesses locked out of council contracts and employees threatened to lose their employment.”

Pyne added, “because of this and for a number of reasons, the CCC has consistently failed to identify and punish wrongdoers and a judicial inquiry should be established, with all the required powers. Transparency and accountability must be a cornerstone of our governance process.

Mr Pyne’s concerns were further validated recently with the Operation Belcarra investigation into the conduct of candidates involved in the 2016 local government elections, Paul Pisasale recent resignation and follows last night’s screening of Four Corners, outlining the human toll of The Joke in pre-Fitzgerald Queensland.

Mr. Pyne said, documents he tabled in Parliament make sensational allegations regarding Ipswich Council and he hopes the cumulative pressure will convince the Queensland Government to establish an ICAC. Pyne concluded, “I remain committed to getting our state to a gold standard. That means an Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) here in Queensland. His view is shared by 80 per cent of the population and we deserve an ICAC now.

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Pyne says Pitt – Palaszczuk Budget Fails Cairns and FNQ

Member for Cairns Rob Pyne has condemned the Palaszczuk Government for a failure to act in relation to systemic disadvantage experienced by Cairns and Far North Queensland in today’s state budget. He claimed proper consideration had not been given to the demands of crossbench MPs and a number of important projects had not been funded.

Pyne said, “The North Queensland crossbench made four demands of the Government. These were a) that power prices be reduced by 5%; b) a goal of reducing Nth Qld unemployment to 6% by 2020; c) unspent infrastructure funding spent in Nth Queensland to stimulate the economy; and d) establishing a North Queensland Budget Equity Board.

There had been no action on cost of living pressures. Mr. Pyne said he was happy as lobbying for new buildings at Cairns West and Trinity Bay State High School had yielded results with 4.8M and 5.8M respectively. He also welcomed funding for the Performing Arts Centre and the Mental Health Unit but said the only really big infrastructure spend was the 176M for the Cairns Convention Centre.

Many in Cairns would be disappointed in projects that were not funded, including:
• Funding specifically for West Cairns to address unemployment and poverty by targeting education, training and diversion programs in the 3M suburbs.
• Cairns State High School Undercover Area: Stage 1 of their Multipurpose Facility
• Cairns Aquarium, which needs State Government financial participation to contribute to regional jobs growth.
• Health funding to address unacceptably long waiting lists for surgery and to establish an alcohol and other drugs rehabilitation facility.

Pyne said that while you never get everything you want in any budget, it was the failure to address cost of living pressures that was most disappointing. He concluded, “Cairns residents frequently tell me the cost of living is their number one concern, whether it is business or people on low incomes. The failure to provide relief, particularly the failure to meet our call for a 5 per cent reduction in electricity prices was particularly disappointing.”

Ends
Media contact – Rob Pyne 0438 360 376

Pyne urges Cairns to Have Say on Abuse Reporting Law

Member for Cairns Rob Pyne has called for members of the public to make submissions on his Bill to extend mandatory reporting of suspected cases of childhood sexual abuse to “Ministers of Religion” in all educational settings.

Mr. Pyne’s Bill, the Child Protection and Education Legislation (Reporting of Abuse) Amendment Bill 2017 is currently before the Education, Tourism, Innovation and Small Business Committee and Education Committee. The committee is currently considering the bill and will receive submissions from the public up until next Tuesday the 13th of June. People can lodge submissions via the Committee’s website at https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/committees/ETISBC/inquiries/current-inquiries/ChildProtectionReport

Mr Pyne concluded, “It is a view of the overwhelming majority of Australians that when someone in a position of power or authority suspects childhood sexual abuse that they report it to the police.”

People can make submissions to the Education, Tourism, Innovation and Small Business Committee until next Tuesday the 13th of June.

The matter of reporting of childhood abuse has been on the agenda nationally with today to see a state funeral of child abuse campaigner Anthony Foster is in Melbourne. Mr Foster fought to ensure Government affording the same accountability and safety to children in Catholic School as they do in public education. Last week the Western Australian AMA also called for reporting of clergy abuse in that state.

Patricia Boylan from the North Queensland Clergy Abuse Reference Group can also be contacted for comment on 0438 774 498.

LNP & Government vote down North QLD road funding bid

North Queenslanders could miss out on critical road funding because the LNP was too focused on playing politics in Parliament last week.

The LNP moved a motion that the Government adopt the LNP’s car registration policy. Crossbench MP Robbie Katter moved an amendment to the LNP’s motion, requesting that a greater portion from vehicle registration revenue be quarantined for North Queensland roads.

The motion specified that the funding be set aside for the Flinders Highway, Ray Jones Drive, Millaa Millaa to Malanda Road, and Almaden to Chillagoe Road. Knuth, Pyne, Gordon, Katter

“We weren’t interested in a policy war between the two major parties, we wanted to try and turn this into something meaningful for North Queensland,” Robbie said.

The LNP and government refused to support KAP, and voted the motion down. Crossbenchers Rob Pyne, Billy Gordon and Steve Dickson supported the motion.

“The important point for us is not so much the amount of funding there is but where that funding goes. There have been many years of government neglect where we are constantly trying to catch up. If there is going to be an increase in funds, it should come through to the north,” Robbie said.

Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth said road funding was critical in North Queensland. “Road funding in North Queensland can be a matter of life and death,” Shane said. “I’m very disappointed our motion wasn’t supported.”

Time to stop the ALP and LNP Putting Us Last!

A supporter sent this through for the upcoming election campaign. I am compelled to speak out against the major parties when they are voting for vested interests and party donors, while the difficulties and adversity faced by ordinary Queenslanders is ignored. What are your thoughts? #NewDemocracy

Pyne to support Cairns IGA and small business against southern corporations!

Today, Member for Cairns Rob Pyne and the rest of the Queensland crossbench will vote together against the Trading (Allowable Hours) Amendment Bill.

Rob and fellow crossbenchers Robbie Katter, Shane Knuth, Billy Gordon and Steve Dickson, said they could not in good conscience support a Bill that gave more power to supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.

“This Bill is not in the best interest of our local retailers such as our IGAs and other local business operators such as hardware stores and motor traders, who employ local people and have been contributing to the Cairns Community for a long time”, he said.

“This bill is sold as making positive changes to trading hours in Queensland, but in reality, it gives more power to the giant supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths, so they can swamp local business.”

“The Parliamentary Committee that investigated the Bill could not even bring itself to recommend it be passed, that’s how bad it is,” he said. The report states: “The IGA State Board stated that following the deregulation of trading hours in December 2016, IGA supermarkets lost $1 million per week in turnover. It advised that the loss in turnover reduced wages by approx. $5.5 million, which will lead to a reduction in employment across the network of approximately fulltime jobs.”

The report suggested that these jobs were not necessarily re-created by the two major supermarkets, because of the use of self-check outs. “This will be disastrous for small business operators in Cairns and other rural and regional areas in Queensland,” Rob said. “I have shown a commitment to supporting small, local businesses, and I will continue to do so. I will not support any changes which will have a negative impact on our local economy”

Mr. Pyne concluded, “Voters want jobs and a thriving local economy which in turn creates a healthy, liveable community. I will continue to support Cairns traders and local business groups in their endeavour to survive and prosper.”

Labor’s Royalty Holiday – another free ride for Adani

Rob Pyne, Independent Member for Cairns, today slammed the Palaszczuk Labor Government for reportedly stitching up a secret royalty deal for billionaire mining magnate Gautam Adani.

“The Premier should hang her head in shame,” says Mr Pyne. “She was elected on a promise not to use taxpayer funds on Adani’s mega-mine and now they’re falling over themselves to fast-track this dodgy project. It’s a total outrage!”

 The shock media report of a “Royalty Holiday” would see Adani pay just $2 million a year in coal royalties once the $21 billion Carmichael project starts operating. This amounts to $320 million dollars in free coal.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the controversial proposal to give the Indian billionaire, who notoriously relies on the Cayman Island tax haven, a billion dollars from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

Another gift of a public resource was handed to the billionaire by the Government with the new water law that gives Adani access to unlimited free water.

“The Queensland Government is bending over backwards to facilitate Adani’s Reef-destroying coal mine, and they’re using hardworking Queensland taxpayers’ money to do it” said Mr Pyne. “It’s an absolute disgrace. The resources under the ground belong to the people and they can only be dug up once. We’ve got make sure we get this right.”

Mr Pyne’s office has been swamped by calls from constituents demanding to know why Adani was receiving such special treatment from the Government.

“I will be asking some tough questions in Parliament on behalf of my constituents about what exactly this guy has over the Queensland government. The public deserves to know before Adani gets taxpayer-funded free rides to build his coal mine.”

Media enquiries: Rob Pyne MP Cairns

References: Palaszczuk’s 2015 promise http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2015/s4166092.htm

Rob Pyne