Five years too long to fix alcohol plans

I was extremely disappointed to read the Labor Government’s plan to wait until 2019 before finalising Alcohol Management Plans in our region. I have worked patiently and respectfully with the Mornington Island Council and the state government over the last four years to address this issue.

In response to yet another question on notice in Parliament, the government said they would be waiting until next year before finalising their broader AMP review. I have hounded the government on this issue since 2012. Five years to fix this issue is too long.

I have visited many of the affected communities and have witnessed firsthand the damage these unworkable prohibition laws are having. Local councils, in conjunction with their communities, want control of their destiny and to adopt their own alcohol management plans, which I completely support.

In Palm Island, many people each week are fronting courts as a result of the unsuccessful plans imposed by the state government. The flow on affects are enormous with many people facing the prospect of losing their jobs, or not being able to apply for jobs, because they have lost their Blue Card as a result of bringing a bottle of wine into their community. In Mornington Island locals are brewing their own toxic alcohol, which is taking a devastating toll on their health as well as their social fabric. I will continue to lobby the government to act immediately on this issue.

The creation of a separate North Queensland state continues to gain momentum following a public forum that was held in Cairns in early June. The next public forum to discuss this issue will be held in Townsville in August. Check out bootbrisbane.com for the upcoming announcement of the next date.

The Banking Royal Commission moved to Brisbane in recent weeks and the wider public finally got to hear some of the horror stories from our farmers about what they have endured at the hands of the big banks. I think we all would have liked to hear more from our farmers, especially after commissioner Kenneth Hayne chose to extend the hearings for an extra day.

Issues with financial institutions highlight the big gap that exists when it comes to helping new businesses and projects in regional Queensland. It’s hard to get the bankers from Sydney and Brisbane to spend time in our region so they can understand the projects and businesses out here that have enormous potential.