The dangerous state of the Burke Development Road west of Chillagoe in Far North Queensland has prompted calls from local truck drivers to close the road until it can be repaired.
In the past week there have been two motor vehicle accidents, one a roll over resulting in serious injuries requiring the Cairns rescue chopper to evacuate the victims to hospital.
The Transport and Main Roads Department in Cairns and Member for Leichardt Warren Entsch were notified three days ago about the dangerous condition of a 40 klm section of the main arterial road to Kowanyama and Normanton yet no action has been taken.
Mareeba Shire Council says it has no funds to upgrade the road, however a maintenance crew was working on the Wrotham Park end of the road and heading west.
NO ACTION TAKEN BY TRANSPORT AND MAIN ROADS DEPT OR MEMBER FOR LEICHARDT, WARREN ENTSCH
Katters Australian Party Member for Leichardt Dan McCarthy said he had driven on the road several times in the past and it had always been in need of repair.
“This road is disgraceful and trucks are getting wrecked trying to drive over it. I know of a transport operator at Dimbulah who refuses to use it. I have been advised the side tracks through the bush are now getting cut up and it really is unsafe to use,” Mr McCarthy said.
“Like the gravel sections of the Peninsula Development Road, the TMR just refuses to fix it. I will be ensuring federal money is forthcoming to have a major upgrade so the Kowanyama people and locals can use it.”
Triple road trains carrying gravel to Kowanyama from a local quarry over the past month have destroyed the soft clay loam road surface.
Chillagoe transport operator Karyl Struber said the road should be closed until it is repaired, but the deep dust holes were beyond a grader and water truck. She said it would need major works before reopening.
“It is disgusting and not safe. It is not right and little money ever gets spent on it,” Ms Struber said.
“Tourist buses and people from Kowanyama use this road and if a bus load of kids had an accident there would be big trouble.” –contributed
by Gil Hanrahan
The concerted campaign by the ABC against Senator Fraser Anning and federal MP Bob Katter over Muslim immigration has left the public broadcaster with egg all over its collective face.
According to an ABC poll held on August 15, in an attempt by the left wing of the ABC to further subvert Katter and Anning, 75 per cent of 38,400 respondents said Anning should not apologise for his speech.
Significantly the poll was taken in the south east corner of Queensland, taking in Brisbane.
All the usual detractors from the Liberal, Labor and Greens have been left floundering in the wake of Anning’s dialogue which the majority of Australians were waiting for a politician to air.
Another similar poll, according to KAP staffers, shows 98 per cent support for Anning’s speech.
Cairns Liberal politician Warren Entsch, known locally as the father of the gay marriage debacle, was critical of Katter exposing the flaws in the Liberal immigration policy.
Entsch described Katter and his candidate Dan McCarthy who is likely to take Entsch’s federal seat of Leichardt, as ‘coming out of the sewer.’
After the polling and many thousands of comments supporting Katter and Anning on the Channel 7 website, Entsch has proven himself a continual embarrassment for the Liberals and his constituents.
Police and Civil Liberties Council at a loss in how to deal with rampant indigenous youth crime:
Petford Farm program should be reinstated, demands Federal Member Warren Entsch
by Casey Briggs, ABC and Cairns News
A police operation to photograph and question unsupervised children on the streets of Mount Isa is illegal and should be stopped, according to civil libertarians.
Queensland’s Civil Liberties Council will ask the state’s privacy commissioner to investigate the operation, as politicians suggest the initiative could be expanded to other regional cities.
As part of Operation Tucson, children wandering the streets in the north-west Queensland mining town are being stopped, photographed, and in some cases driven home by Queensland Police Service (QPS) officers.
Officers record the child’s name, address, clothing and where they are going.
Queensland Civil Liberties Council vice-president Terry O’Gorman said he will send a submission to the Privacy Commissioner tomorrow morning, asking them to investigate.
“Police do not have the power, and should not have the power, to willy-nilly walk down the street, take photographs of people and put them on the major Queensland Police Service database,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“Stopping children, particularly Aboriginal juveniles, in the street at 2 o’clock in the afternoon simply to ask them what they’re doing is beyond the law, it’s illegal and it should be stopped.
“It’s also very bad for juvenile and police community relations.”
Mr O’Gorman is concerned about how the photographs will be used by the QPS.
“They must be being put on a police database: that’s the equivalent of these youths, many of whom have never committed a criminal offence, having a criminal record,” he said.
In the three weeks the operation has been running, officers have stopped children 500 times.
Queensland Police said the photographs will be kept confidential, and won’t be shared with other agencies or bodies.
“We respect the rights of individuals, and most times people are very supportive and cooperative of what we do,” said Acting Assistant Commissioner Kev Guteridge.
“We’ll try and link [the data] back to other offences that may have been reported to identify those people as either offenders in other offences, or more importantly clear their name if they weren’t responsible.”
“We’re out there trying to protect the community — if there was anything sinister involved we certainly wouldn’t be involved in that.”
Meanwhile the Member for Leichardt, Warren Entsch has called on the State Government to reinstate the highly successful Petford Farm program which operated west of Cairns for three decades.
Petford Farm program developer Geoff Guest OAM, over 30 years has successfully rehabilitated more than 3000 youths and older visitors with his ground breaking program which breaks the substance abuse cycle.
Former Labor Premier Anna Bligh withdrew funding for the Petford facility 10 years ago because she believed Mr Guest and wife Norma’s methods were too harsh.
The Petford program has long been supported by Professor Ernest Hunter, former head of the Indigenous Mental Health faculty at James Cook University because of its effectiveness, which does not rely on the use of prescription drugs such as Ritalin or other behavioural suppressants.
Member for Kennedy Bob Katter and Mt Isa MP Robbie Katter have both called for relocation sentencing incorporating the Petford program.
On the weekend Mr Guest said he would be prepared to advise any new rehabilitation facility about adopting his program.
Calls to expand Mt Isa operation
It comes as two far north Queensland MPs back the idea of running an interception operation in Cairns similar to that of Mt Isa.
Federal Government Liberal MP Warren Entsch said the operation in Mount Isa “makes a lot of sense”.
“I don’t know how you can justify children as young as eight years old roaming the streets at 10 o’clock at night … other than they’re there for mischief, or their parents can’t control them,” he said.
There is growing community concern in Cairns over car thefts, with a record 767 cars stolen in the past year.
Warren caught out again telling porkies, first in Weipa and now Cairns. No deal with ALP or Greens
The battle lines have been drawn in the Far North between incumbent Federal Liberal Member for Leichardt Warren Entsch and KAP senate candidate Joy Marriott after Mr Entsch allegedly abused Ms Marriott at a landowners forum at the weekend.
Monday saw a round of media conferences in Cairns with Joy Marriott and fellow candidate for Leichardt, Brad Tassell condemning Mr Entsch for telling Ms Marriott to “F**K off” in front of witnesses at the Lakeland forum.
Pouring fuel onto the fire he started, Mr Entsch dug himself deeper and deeper into the hole by denying he swore and refusing to apologise to Ms Marriott.
Claiming KAP had done a preference deal with the ALP and Greens was absurd and easily confirmed they had not, both candidates said.
Brandishing how to vote cards at the television interviews, Mr Tassell and Ms Marriott clearly explained that no deal had been done with the Greens or Labor and in fact both parties were placed last and second last on KAP tickets.
Ms Marriott said she felt intimidated and disgusted about Mr Entsch’s behaviour which was inappropriate at a public meeting.
“Warren Entsch has lost the plot, and I think he has been affected by two serious accidents he had recently when he was hospitalised for head injuries,” Ms Marriott said.
Compounding Mr Entsch’s aggressiveness and anger was the tight exchange of preferences between independent Dan McCarthy and KAP’s Brad Tassell that will in effect, according to KAP sources, prevent Mr Entsch from being re-elected.
“Mr Entsch seriously mishandled the truth again on ABC radio on Monday by claiming KAP was doing an exchange of preferences with the ALP and Greens,” Mr Tassell said.
Having a more circumspect outlook than Mr Entsch, Brad Tassell said he was prepared for either himself or Mr McCarthy to win the seat, “as long as we get rid of the major parties,” he added.
A Weipa grazier has contradicted claims by Member for Leichardt Warren Entsch that the Stones Crossing road , east of the township is open to the public.
The former owner and now lessee of Bertie Haugh Station, John Witherspoon said the road to Stones Crossing had never been gazetted as a public road and had been closed by another owner, Phil Bray since the mid-90’s.
Opening a ‘ring road’ for tourists through Stones Crossing and Bertie Haugh would create problems for both Australia Zoo and Mr Witherspoon who occupies the grazing lease.
“While Mr Entsch says the Irwin family is selfish, he should get his facts right before he says anything about Australia Zoo and its world class research programs into estuarine crocodiles,” Mr Witherspoon said.
“Locals have been using the road for access to the ‘killing fields’ north of the Ducie River, but we are left to clean up afterwards especially disposable baby nappies strewn about the place.
“They take motor bikes and four wheel drives there and generally go for broke which is ok but we can’t be expected to get them out of trouble when they get stuck in boggy gullies or washed down the Wenlock River because they underestimated the fast flowing crossing or get stuck there by high tides.
“Rubbish such as empty beer cans and bottles are not welcome and it is illegal to shoot cattle for a killer or to start bushfires.
He said locals and tourists were jeopardising their lives when driving through the Wenlock River crossing because of its depth, fast flowing water and large holes in the bottom of the river bed.
“And of course the large crocodile population,” he stressed.
Resident manager of Australia Zoo Barry Lyon concurred with Mr Witherspoon confirming the dangerous river crossing was accessible for only four months of the dry season.
“It is a dangerous crossing and only two of us are allowed by the company to use it,” Mr Lyon said.
“We have the biggest crocodile research program in the world going on and we are tracking 139 different crocs to investigate their habits particularly their ability to self-heal after getting massive wounds from other animals.
“The possibility of applying this natural healing method to humans will boost medical science, like the research of a group of scientists who come here to collect plants for medical cures such as Parkinsons disease.”
“We have acoustic-tagged bull sharks, barramundi, swordfish and spear toothed sharks in the Wenlock which has the most diverse varieties of freshwater fish in Australia.”
The Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve has found more than 100 varieties of birds and conducts regular school excursions boasting its own ranger program.
Mr Lyon said it was a unique property supporting major research programs yet has cattle grazing for fire management and economic utilisation of the area.
Mr Witherspoon believes there is a much better ‘ring route’ through Billys Lagoon Station along an existing track to Moreton Telegraph Station.
“This road is much less dangerous than Stones Crossing and would give the Traditional Owners potential for some tourist dollars,” he said.
The Federal Government’s Northern Development legislative program could take a hit should a double dissolution election be called on July 2. The Government has pledged $5 Billion for development from the Kimberley region in Western Australia to eastern Cape York Peninsula. The enabling bill to secure this massive project could stall and not be presented at the next Parliamentary sittings.
Agriculture will be the main beneficiary of the long sought after strategy with large-scale irrigated cropping projects to be funded on a 50-50 basis, starting at $50 million.
The CSIRO has been charged with mapping the areas of arable soils across the north, already identifying 16 million hectares, about 5 per cent of the total northern land mass.
The notion of Northern Development and large scale irrigated farmland has been around for decades but its main proponent in more recent years has been Kennedy MP Bob Katter.
He says the Government must get the bill through Parliament before the election, because he did not trust the Labor Party to continue with the scheme should it win on July 2.
Katter urged the Member for Leichardt and chairman of the Joint Select Committee On Northern Australia, Warren Entsch to ensure it is passed through both Houses at the next sitting starting April 18.
“The CSIRO might have found several dam sites on eastern Cape York, but the State Labor Government and their bed-mates the WWF, Wilderness Society and CAFNEC are hell bent on shutting the Peninsula down to prevent any agriculture or other development, thus denying indigenous communities jobs and a future,” Mr Katter pointed out.
“Successive state governments have plastered the entire Cape York Peninsula with environmental overlays covering about 70 per cent of its land mass, stopping any economic development for pastoralists and indigenous communities, so we must get some development on what is left.”
CSIRO researcher Dr Peter Stone has been heading up the North Australia Water Resources Assessment looking for substantial dam sites to irrigate proposed large scale farmland.
Dr Stone told ABC Radio that 16 million hectares of arable soils had been identified as suitable for irrigation and 90 dams sites had been found to provide up to 15,000 gigalitres of stored water.
The north was inundated with an average 2 million gigalitres of rainfall each year, of which 90 per cent evaporates, 10 per cent goes into streams and about 2 per cent enters the groundwater storage, he said.
“The research by CSIRO proves these projects can be taken seriously and I have been pushing for 20 years that northern development has to occur, because for too long southern cities have lived off our coat tails of copper, coal and cattle and its time we put this country back on track,” Mr Katter said.
Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson(above) has been scathing of the State Government over land use on the Peninsula. At a recent Mareeba meeting he stressed the need for more secure land tenure on the Peninsula and likened proposed draconian vegetation management laws to a “re-run of Wild Rivers,” an impost he said he had fought to get rid of for five years.
The Liberal Member for the Federal seat of Leichardt, FNQ, Warren Entsch has released the official explanation of the TPP:
|On behalf of theHon Warren Entsch MP
Office of the Hon. Warren Entsch MP
Federal Member for Leichhardt
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Thank you for your email regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement negotiations. Mr Entsch has asked that I respond on his behalf. We have had a number of our constituents contact us regarding the TPP and so contacted the Minister’s office responsible for this matter, because it is quite a complex issue and the following response hopefully will allay your fears. Before actually becoming law it will be openly discussed in Parliament and have to pass through both the Lower and Upper Houses.
As a region-wide free trade agreement, the TPP offers an opportunity to strengthen job-creating trade and investment, and further integrate Australia into the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region by pursuing common and liberalising policy outcomes.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement will be unprecedented in its scale and level of ambition. The twelve countries that have negotiated the TPP – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam represent almost 40 per cent of the global economy – or around US$28 trillion.
Benefits of the TPP will be broad-ranging;
- for Australian businesses – by creating more export opportunities in the Asia Pacific;
- for Australian consumers – by lowering the costs and increasing the variety of goods available in Australia; and
- for the Australian economy – by promoting economic growth in the Asia Pacific, further integrating Australia into the region, and creating a common platform for expanding trade into the 21st Century.
Once concluded the TPP will be the largest trade agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organization, and represents the most significant restatement and enhancement of trade policy rules since the mid-1990s. Once finalised, TPP membership will be open to other economies in the Asia Pacific to promote prosperity and strategic stability.
Because we have received a number of constituent concerns regarding the TPP and its effects and we have therefore compiled a number of answers to cover all situations as follows:
Restricting the Government’s ability to regulate
The Australian Government is not intending to sign up to international agreements that would restrict Australia’s capacity to govern in our own interest – whether in the area of healthcare, the environment or any other regulated area of the economy.
Investor-State Dispute Settlement
Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provides an opportunity for Australian investors to protect their investments overseas against expropriation and to ensure that they are afforded a certain minimum standard of treatment, and treated in a non-discriminatory manner.
ISDS provisions have been included in agreements over the past three decades to provide protection for those who choose to pursue new opportunities for Australia by investing abroad. Australia has ISDS provisions in place with 28 economies.
The Government is considering the inclusion of ISDS provisions in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) under negotiation on a case-by-case basis. In the TPP negotiations, the Government will agree to ISDS if certain conditions are met by other TPP countries.
Contrary to some public commentary, ISDS does not protect an investor from a mere loss of profits and does not prevent a Government from changing its policies or regulating in the public interest. A loss of profits, by itself, does not amount to a breach of an FTA.
Should the Government agree to the inclusion of ISDS provisions in any of the FTAs under negotiation, we will seek to ensure that the Government is not restricted in its ability to protect public health and the environment. Further information can be found at www.dfat.gov.au/fta/isds-faq.html.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is an integral part of Australia’s health system and the Government will not agree to an outcome in the TPP negotiations which would adversely affect the PBS or Australia’s health system more generally.
Australia’s position on Intellectual Property
The Government considers that the TPP negotiations provide an important opportunity to establish effective and balanced protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) across the region, in the interests of Australian importers, exporters and consumers. The Government is seeking an outcome on IP in the TPP negotiations that is consistent with Australia’s existing laws, improves transparency and which will streamline the processes for protecting and enforcing IP rights in the region.
Australia has an effective and balanced intellectual property regime, and the Government does not intend to alter the current system through the TPP.
Copyright and the digital environment
I would like to assure you that the Government fully understands the importance of maintaining policy flexibilities, especially for the digital environment. Australia is supporting effective and balanced commitments on copyright in the TPP negotiations that retain the policy flexibilities we currently have. This is particularly important to enable the Government to consider domestic developments, such as the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report following its inquiry into copyright and the digital economy.
Access to medicines
Also issues regarding intellectual property provisions of the TPP and access to medicines. The Government understands the need for access to affordable medicines, both in Australia and in other countries. The Government is working to negotiate a TPP that is in Australia’s national interests, and that supports each Party’s right to protect public health and promote access to medicines. In particular, Australia’s TPP negotiating position takes into consideration input and advice on the potential impact of TPP proposals on Australia’s overseas aid program and developing TPP countries.
At the same time, the Government recognises the role of intellectual property in providing incentives and rewards for investment in pharmaceutical research and development. Ultimately, any outcome on pharmaceutical intellectual property issues in the TPP negotiations must strike an appropriate balance for Australia in promoting investment in innovation, and supporting timely and affordable access to medicines.
Australia is carefully analysing the inclusion of tobacco control language in the TPP negotiations. Under existing international trade obligations, Australia has the right to implement tobacco control measures, such as plain packaging for tobacco products, in the interests of public health. Australia will consider any proposal in the TPP negotiations that confirms this right.
Nothing being discussed in the TPP negotiations will weaken Australia’s policies or regulations on food or alcohol labeling. Australia’s ability to regulate food labeling will not be diminished. All Parties will retain their current rights under the World Trade Organization to make policy related to human health, safety and the environment.
State Owned Enterprises
The Government supports disciplines on State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in the TPP negotiations that will ensure that entities compete in their commercial activities on an equal footing with the private sector and do not benefit from advantages provided by government. Australia will continue to pursue disciplines that would maintain the Government’s right to use SOEs that serve a public purpose.
Concerns about labour issues under discussion in the TPP. We expect the TPP Labour Chapter will set a new benchmark that will benefit workers across the region by promoting compliance with internationally-recognised labour rights and the effective enforcement of labour laws. While dispute settlement for the Labour Chapter remains subject to negotiations, we expect that the final outcome will include an effective enforcement mechanism.
The TPP Environment Chapter will promote high levels of environmental protection in the TPP region. Australia is seeking to negotiate environmental commitments on issues where trade rules can help to address environmental challenges, including through liberalising trade in environmental goods and services and disciplines on fish subsidies that contribute to over-fishing. We are also working with other parties on trade-related ways to support objectives on conservation, biodiversity and other pressing environmental issues.
Leaked Negotiating Text
The Government is aware that documents purporting to be a leaked version of the TPP have been made public. As is normal practice in trade negotiations, the parties have agreed to keep negotiating documents, including text, confidential, though allowing for governmental consultation processes with stakeholders. The Government will not speculate on the accuracy or otherwise of so-called ‘leaked text’. Negotiating text is a dynamic document, changing regularly, and has no status until all parties have agreed to it.
Consumer protection and best practice regulation is an important aspect of the TPP negotiations. Australia does not intend, through the TPP negotiations or any other trade negotiations, to diminish the level of consumer protection available in Australia. DFAT works closely with key agencies and consults with groups such as CHOICE in developing Australia’s approach to these issues.
The Government is aware that Australians consumers are concerned about the price they pay for items purchased via the internet. As part of TPP negotiations, Australia has raised the profile of ‘geoblocking’ as a commercial practice which has an impact on how consumers engage in electronic commerce.
Transparency in TPP negotiations
Contrary to some reported claims, the TPP negotiations are not secret. The Australian Government made a public announcement about involvement in the TPP negotiations in late 2008 and has been carrying out domestic stakeholder consultations since that time.
As is standard practice with the negotiation of international treaties, draft TPP negotiating texts are not public documents. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is however taking every opportunity to ensure that stakeholders are adequately consulted and able to express their views. There will be an opportunity for full public and Parliamentary discussion prior to any agreement being ratified. In accordance with the Government’s treaty-making process, once the TPP text is agreed it will be tabled in Parliament for 20 joint sitting days to facilitate public consultations and scrutiny by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) before any binding treaty action is taken. Once tabled, the treaty text and an accompanying National Interest Analysis will be published on the JSCOT website and in the online Australian Treaties Library. Further information about the TPP can be found on the Department’s website, at: www.dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/tpp/.
Consultation – for stakeholder groups
The Australian Government commenced public domestic stakeholder consultations in late 2008 and they are ongoing. Australia’s negotiating positions have been, and continue to be, guided by consultations with a range of stakeholders. The Government will continue to take every available opportunity to consult with stakeholders and is always open to receiving written submissions and meeting with interested parties. I would encourage you to continue to participate in this consultative process.
I trust that this information is of assistance.
Here is a recent article you may wish to read.
“Farmers predict Australian agricultural exports could double by 2030 if the Trans- Pacific Partnership trade agreement is clinched as the Coalition and Labor continue to back negotiations despite escalating attacks from the Greens and anti-trade activists”
Cape Alumina project scrapped
In another cynical, self-preservation announcement the government stopped the proposed Cape Alumina bauxite project dead in its tracks this week after the (Steve) Irwin family pressured the Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney to halt the $1 billion development on environmental grounds.
Although Cape Alumina had no intention of mining anywhere near the Wenlock river which flows through Bertiehaugh pastoral holding held by the Irwins, 200 klms north east of Weipa, Newman could see the positive environmental spin it would generate for the LNP amongst the Brisbane chardonnay set at the next election.
Cairns News has no doubt the Irwins’ will be campaigning for the LNP in the south east corner come next election, mooted in August.
The wider collateral damage has not yet been evaluated however the decision will directly cut 1700 jobs, further entrench the reliance of local indigenous groups on the welfare sponge and set back the Cape York economy many years.
In yet another blow to the Far North, Rio Tinto at Weipa yesterday announced it was placing its $1b South of Embley expansion on the back burner for a further 12 months.
In today’s Cairns Post, Warren Entsch, the Liberal Member for Leichardt which takes in Cape York Peninsula, launched a scathing attack on the State Government for shutting down mining on the Peninsula.
Entsch attacked the Irwin’s for having prior knowledge of the government’s rebuke and for campaigning against the project which was in place before they were gifted the $6.3m Bertiehaugh station by the former Federal Labor Government.
“Terry and Bindi Irwin had enough notice to travel to Brisbane so they could stand beside Campbell Newman for the announcement,” an angry Warren Entsch said.
He said he was shocked there had been no consultation with himself, the Mapoon Shire Council, Cook Shire Council or Cape Alumina itself.
Mr Entsch said this decision sends a very bad message about development in Queensland.
CMC Committee sacked
The wheels are starting to come off the LNP Government wagon after this week’s desperate manoeuvres by Premier Campbell Newman to gain control of the anti-crime watchdog, the Crime and Misconduct Commission.
The Parliamentary CMC watchdog committee was sacked by the Attorney General Jerrod Bleije after its Chairman, Independent MP Elizabeth Cunningham criticised its interim chairman, Ken Levy allegedly for making a false statement before the committee.
Amid much public controversy, a new committee was appointed yesterday with a majority of government members.