Gladstone Port gets big mention in maiden speech
MEMBER for Gladstone Glenn Butcher delivered his maiden speech in the Queensland parliament on Thursday afternoon.
Here is the full speech:
I would like to thank the many people who were involved in my recent election success that sees me standing here today as a member of the 55th Queensland Parliament.
First and foremost, my beautiful wife Theresa, and my two wonderful children, Taylor and Blake.
Without their unfailing support and confidence in me over the last 21 years, including a decade of shift work, endless ALP and rugby league commitments at an executive level, and two election campaigns, I would not be here today.
A million thanks would not be enough, they are my world. I would also like to make special mention of my mother and father, Annette and Neville Butcher and my only sibling, my twin brother Wayne.
Throughout the campaign I was blessed with their total support and assistance.
Many days on the campaign trail were from daylight to dark and their dedication was steadfast, helping wherever they were needed in my quest to represent the electorate of Gladstone.
Also to my mother and father-in-law, Dave and Joanne Gourley, I offer sincere thanks and gratitude for their full support in our personal lives over many years, as well as during the hectic days of political campaigns.
I have a huge extended family as well, and each one of them played some part in the final election results on 31st January.
My sincere thanks to every one of them.
As all members know, there are many who add to the success of campaigns, and I would like to take this opportunity to make special mention of some who have supported me, never doubted me and helped me win the election and the respect of my electorate.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank Shelly Holzheimer and Matt Burnett for their contributions over many years.
Their dedication and support for me in my campaigns to become the member for Gladstone will never be forgotten.
The tireless hours that they both spent ensuring that even the finest detail was addressed, will always be remembered and greatly appreciated.
To my campaign team of Mel Gourley, Josh Milroy, Michael Quirk and Craig Giddins, I thank them for their hard work and dedication.
I was humbled by the huge number of willing and motivated volunteers who campaigned in the community, including pre polling, election day, door knocking, roadside stalls and community forums.
Many thanks to the unions, and particularly the Not For Sale team, for the total dedication to the campaign, in rain hail and shine.
Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the voters of the Gladstone Electorate for their confidence and support and I take this occasion to wish my predecessor, Liz Cunningham, all the best in retirement after 20 years as the State Member for Gladstone.
It is of note that the Gladstone Regional Council has recognised Mrs Cunningham with the naming a multi purpose sporting facility in her honour.
LNP resoundingly rejected
The Gladstone Electorate overwhelmingly rejected the Liberal National Party at the January 31 state election with the LNP achieving just on 15% of the primary vote.
Mr Speaker I feel humbled at the extent by which the electorate supported me and the Australian Labor Party, by winning the election on the primary vote.
The electors of Gladstone sent a loud and clear message to the Queensland Parliament that only the Labor Party can represent their views and that message was delivered with a resounding 25.9% swing in the Gladstone Electorate.
The overwhelming issue that resonated with the Gladstone electors was the fact that they did not want their assets sold.
Mr Speaker I make particular reference to the Gladstone port and the land set aside for a high school in Calliope.
There can be no doubt the 2015 election was a referendum on asset sales.
Asset sales not popular in Gladstone electorate
The previous government was seeking a mandate to privatise the port of Gladstone, sell the land for a high school at Calliope and privatise our electricity assets.
I wish to make reference to the stark difference between the attitude of previous Labor governments over two decades, and that of the Newman LNP Government towards the creation of jobs in and the enhancement of the economy in the Gladstone region.
Successive Labor governments led by Wayne Goss, Peter Beattie and Anna Bligh all focused on helping Gladstone become Australia's 21st century industrial city - an industrial powerhouse on the east coast of Australia.
Keen to provide jobs
Mr Speaker, the first responsibility of any state government is to create the economic conditions to ensure all men and women seeking employment can find a decent full time job.
As former premier Wayne Goss frequently stated "the best form of welfare a government can provide is a job."
Labor governments understand just how difficult it is to create sustainable regional economies in Queensland.
Accordingly, they worked closely and in harmony with the Gladstone community over more than two decades to not only create job opportunities, but to also put sustainable strategic plans in place to ensure continued growth and prosperity.
When the Goss Government facilitated the establishment of the massive Gladstone state development area during the 1990s, it also committed to the establishment of a board to both promote and facilitate major industry into the area.
It had to wait until the Beattie Government was elected, after the intervening Borbidge Government, before the Gladstone Economic and Industry Development Board was set up as a statutory authority under the Co-ordinator General.
The board was hugely successful working closely with the Queensland Government and industry to attract and facilitate over $40 billion of major industry development in Gladstone.
The Newman LNP government dismantled the board in 2012. as a result major industrial development, other than approvals facilitated and committed under the leadership of Anna Bligh, have been practically non existent.
However, the worst decision by far of the Newman government was to commit to the sale of the Port of Gladstone.
Gladstone harbour is Australia's best
Gladstone harbour is the best commercial deep water natural harbour in Australia.
It is currently handling approximately 100 million tonnes per annum of cargo, over three times the cargo of 25 years ago.
The Gladstone Ports Corporation is a highly successful and profitable government owned corporation, which is delivering over $1 billion in dividends and tax equivalent payments to the queensland government every decade.
This is in addition to the $1-$1.5 billion of coal and LNG royalties it will be providing to the state coffers each year, and that figure will continue to increase.
With the commencement of the LNG export industry and the new Wiggins Island Coal Terminal trade is expected to rise to around 150 million tonnes per annum by 2020.
The three LNG plants and the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal were all facilitated under previous Labor governments, as was the $800 million expansion of the RG Tanna Coal Terminal.
The LNG plants facilitated by Labor have provided construction jobs for over 5,000 Gladstone locals as well as 10,000 other from throughout Australia and beyond.
Unfortunately, nothing new has been facilitated since the election of the Newman Government.
As the LNG construction workforce starts to decline and with the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal now in operation many locals are extremely concerned about employment prospects.
The Newman Government failed the Gladstone community in that very vital aspect of future job creation.
How could anything positive happen with the Gladstone Economic and Industry Development Board disbanded and the entire focus of the Gladstone Ports Corporation distracted by the concentration on preparing the port for sale?
Thankfully, Mr Speaker, that distraction has been removed with the election of the Palaszczuk Government. the Gladstone Ports Corporation can once again focus on growing the economy of the Gladstone Region.
Only by working with the community in a structured and coordinated manner can the future of the Gladstone Region be put back on a path of consistent job creation and generation of economic and social prosperity, and that is exactly what the Palaszczuk government is intent on doing.
Gladstone Hospital needs attention now
Mr Speaker the Gladstone Hospital needs urgent attention, including the reinstatement of front line services that have declined over the years.
The electorate of Gladstone has had to manage the impact of the LNG and industry boom without corresponding infrastructure and staffing levels in health services and care.
With the massive industrialisation of Gladstone, the hospital must better reflect sufficient services to ensure acceptable levels of patient safety and care.
Frustrations are often understandably, but unfairly, levelled at front line staff.
Our hospital has lost many full time equivalent healthcare professionals since the previous government was in office.
These staff losses have impacted on service delivery in oncology, emergency, intensive care, peri-operative and infection control departments
Critical staff losses have placed additional pressure on our health system which in turn is sometimes causing negative responses from local patients and families.
I look forward to the return of sufficient staffing levels at the hospital, which will engender a positive impact all around.
I also look forward to working very closely with the health minister and premier to give the Gladstone Electorate what is desperately needed, and that is major upgrades to Gladstone Hospital infrastructure including a new accident and emergency department and dedicated intensive care unit, as the first step to a long term vision of a new modern hospital facility.
Calliope land an investment in the future
The growing community of Calliope in the Gladstone Electorate strongly opposed the previous government's intention of selling critical land, which for many years has been earmarked for a high school.
Governments should be investing in our children's future and preparing our growing regions for increased attendance, not cutting teacher numbers and selling strategic land for future educational use.
Not only did the previous government try selling the land for a high school but they forced the local council to rezone the land from community use to residential use to make way for a quick fire sale.
I thank the Palaszczuk Government for supporting the Calliope community and reversing the dreadful decisions made by the previous government ensuring the property is available for educational purposes into the future.
Mr Speaker I would like to talk about the great Gladstone Region, home of the traditional owners, the Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang and the Byelee people.
Gladstone is a dynamic, modern city boasting a sub-tropical climate with islands, waterways and beaches providing year-round boating, fishing and swimming.
Gladstone is famous for mud crab and fresh seafood.
It boasts one of the highest boat ownerships per capita in the country, and is home to one of Australia's largest fishing competitions, the Boyne Tannum HookUp.
Gladstone is the destination for the competitors the blue water classic, the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race.
In true Gladstone form our community, through Gladstone Festivals and Events welcomes the yachts with fireworks, live music and entertainment at the iconic harbour festival, an easter time event not to be missed.
Each yacht is greeted with a carton of cold beer and a commemorative medallion.
This year the tradition continued with Mayor Gail Sellers, councillors and Gladstone Volunteer Marine Rescue personnel welcoming crews on their arrival.
There'll be plenty for cruise visitors to see
From March 2016, P & O cruise ships will dock in the Gladstone port with thousands of tourists disembarking to explore the region, and who could blame them?
As the gateway to the majestic and vibrant southern end of Great Barrier Reef, Gladstone offers direct access to Heron Island, Wilson Island and un-inhabited coral cays.
Heron Island is an important nesting ground for green turtles, black noddy terns and wedge-tailed shearwaters.
The Gladstone Marina is home to a great waterfront recreation area, one of many that marks the city.
Included in the marina setting is the award winning Spinnaker Park on Leo Zussino Drive, a huge expanse of parkland ideal for families, with picnic areas, native walking tracks and a beach cove which is very popular with children.
On the other side of the marina and Spinnaker Park is the recently opened East Shores precinct, a welcome addition to the Gladstone waterfront.
Planning for this facility began many years ago with the construction of the dedicated Port Access Road removing trucks from flinders parade, paving the way for East Shores to proceed.
The Port Access Road is appropriately named after the former state member for Port Curtis, Mr Bill prest.
Visible from East Shores and in most corners of the electorate, is the prominent and distinctive peak of Mount Larcom, with its summit 632 metres above sea level.
Tourists wanting to venture out of the city area can enjoy some genuine country hospitality and historically significant sites in the beautiful Boyne Valley, an hour's drive away through peace and tranquility.
Millennium Esplanade at Tannum Sands beach is well known for its stone pitched architecture and is another popular destination for families.
Tannum Sands Surf Lifesaving Club lifeguards patrol the beach from September to May each year, and with the exception of January, Cr Maxine Brushe and the volunteers from Boyne Tannum Arts, Business and Community host the free community event, Beach Arts Music in the Millennium Esplanade parklands.
Back in the city the 83 hectare Tondoon Botanic Gardens are home to an impressive variety of plants from the Port Curtis region and tropical North Queensland.
Gladstone: home of industry
Gladstone is home to many of the world's industrial giants.
My former workplace of 21 years, Queensland Alumina Ltd, is still one of the world's largest alumina refineries.
QAL is joined by Rio Tinto Yarwun, Boyne Smelter and NRG Power Station as the long term investors in the Gladstone economy.
Other major industries proud to call Gladstone home include Orica, Cement Australia and more recently Northern Oil.
It goes without saying industry would not survive in Gladstone without our dedicated team of railway workers.
The Callemondah shunting yards has provided the arrival point for the coal trains, the backbone of the Gladstone and Queensland economy for many years.
With the arrival of the three LNG industries on Curtis Island the Queensland Government will start to reap the huge benefits from the royalties this new industry brings.
My electorate was deserted by the former government with insufficient financial assistance offered to support the community during this time of unprecedented industrial growth.
The Gladstone Foundation was initiated to help ease the burden of social infrastructure requirements during the construction phase.
Unfortunately only a small portion of this fund has been allocated.
Social infrastructure is still lacking to this day and the funds held in the Gladstone Foundation need to be immediately released.
Agriculture an important part of local economy
Agriculture continues to play an important role in the Gladstone economy.
While acknowledging the fact that Gladstone is the most industrialised electorate in the state, primary producers are also a very important sector, contributing some of the state's finest fare to our tables.
The Boyne Valley, Yarwun and Mt Larcom areas particularly are dotted with farming enterprises.
Grazing, dairying, fruit and vegetable growers all contribute economic wealth, employment and diversity to our region, and in fact many visitors to the area leave with a case of famous Yarwun pawpaws.
As in every electorate primary producers are at the mercy of mother nature, and it is important that these areas are supported by government outside times of crisis.
While we continue to develop access to the port for new industries, we need to ensure agriculture and primary industry exports are included as part of any future development of the Gladstone port.
Mr Speaker, to ensure viability of both the state and local economy into the future we need to continue to diversify.
Any financial support for infrastructure from the Queensland Government towards an inland highway or rail corridor in the future must include direct links to Gladstone and its port.
For many years the transport and main road department has avoided the upgrade to the Kin Kora roundabout.
This intersection of two main roads is by far the busiest and most dangerous intersection in the Gladstone Electorate.
I am pleased to advise the parliament that on behalf of the minster for main roads, Mark Bailey I officially turned the soil on this long overdue project on Monday.
Though long overdue, this is great news for Gladstone.
It is my intention to ensure that this is the first of many infrastructure projects for the Gladstone Region.
Gladstone will no longer be ignored
Mr Speaker, I stand here today steadfast in my promise to the Gladstone Electorate, we will no longer be ignored.
We are not just a cash cow for the Queensland economy, we deserve quality infrastructure and services and this government must support my community in the same way my community supports this state.
I am excited at the prospect of being a member of a government that will listen, respect and appreciate not only the huge wealth generated in my electorate but also acknowledges the beauty of tourist attractions, and every other aspect of the many reasons we choose to call the diverse Gladstone electorate our home.