Responding on Blue Cards
I’m very keen to address comments made by Kendall Santillan in a recent letter (Star, April 7) in relation to the KAP’s Blue Card policy. Clearly Ms Santillan hasn’t spoken to any Indigenous Communities and her only motivation is to try and criticise the KAP.
I have been repeatedly approached by members from our Indigenous Communities seeking help with employment opportunities. On many occasions the Blue Card system has been a barrier to employment. This is despite the same person having the confidence of the community and the opportunity to make a great contribution.
The Blue Card system is well-intentioned, probably works well for a large part of the state, but has significant negative unintended consequences in some communities, particularly for First Australians.
The way the Blue Card system is structured means First Australians have no say in who can access Blue Cards to work in their community. The KAP’s Blue Card policy would give them control. We trust elders and leaders in Indigenous Communities to make better decisions about their future than a Brisbane bureaucrat. Clearly Ms Santillan and the Labor Party do not.
Last year I introduced a Bill to amend provisions in the Blue Card system to give Indigenous Communities the right to determine who can and can’t get a Blue Card and work in their area - provided they don’t have a disqualifying offence. This Bill was developed with input by the communities and in consultation with government departments. If there is any doubt these groups wanted this to happen, comments from submissions on the Bill will provide insight.
The Coen Community Justice Group said ‘we are strongly supportive of the Bill’ and ‘we feel that our ability to assess the suitability of persons is much better than that of distant functionaries.’
The Wellesley Islands Law, Justice and Governance Association said ‘the current system, albeit undoubtedly well-intended and laudable in its objectives, has a number of devastating (but probably unintended) consequences for applicants from remote indigenous communities such as ours.’
Economic development, sovereignty and child safety in our indigenous communities are serious issues and I ask Ms Santillan to talk to these communities to see what they want before criticising ideas they support.
You should remember that engaging families in meaningful work is the way out of alcoholism and associated violence, thus enhancing the safety of the child. It is arguable that the application of this instrument is currently having the reverse effect in First Australian Communities.
Robbie Katter, Member for Traeger
ICE epidemic hurts Queensland
The latest report from the Australian Crime and Intelligence Commission shows the true devastation of ICE use across Australia – particularly in the regions.
ICE remains the highest use of the illicit drugs included in the report.
The report indicates that ICE use is more prevalent across regional Queensland and regional communities and is increasing.
The devastation of ICE shows no sign of letting up and regional Queenslanders are suffering from that devastation.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington is calling for more to be done to help families who are struggling to cope.
We have seen the devastating effects ICE can have on domestic violence and child safety. The ICE epidemic is out of control and we are in grave danger of losing a whole generation to it.
The LNP will build four new rehab centres across the state, with more detox facilities to get people off their addiction and get them the help they need to stay clean.
Our focus is on more treatment, prevention and rehabilitation.
We also want to shut down the big crime gangs that peddle drugs to our kids.
Ros Bates, LNP Shadow Minister for Health