Gaven MP welcomes changes to use of opera house nets

Member for Gaven Dr Alex Douglas MP has welcomed the limiting of opera house traps in Queensland’s freshwaters following the death of platypus in the Nerang River.

“From February 1st next year, the use of funnel and round traps, which include opera house traps, with an opening size between five and ten centimetres, will only be allowed in waters west of the Great Dividing Range and the Gore Highway and 44 listed impoundments,” he said.

“I was concerned that precious wildlife including platypus in the Nerang River were being destroyed with these lethal nets and raised the question with the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

“The Minister has responded to my question on notice today, saying amendments had been made to the Fisheries Regulation 2008 to limit the use of opera house traps.

“I’m happy that the traps will be banned from waterways where platypus are most likely to be living.

“The Minister says that to prevent traps being lost by fishers and ghost fishing, the new regulations prescribe the mandatory use of solid floats, intended to reduce the number of traps lost because of damage to other types of floats such as milk bottles.

“Other changes will include banning the use of set lines in freshwaters and requiring fishers to be within 50 metres of their fishing lines at all times.

“Often cheap fishing lines mean fishers abandon their gear in the water.  These then continue to fish and have the potential to impact on fish and other animals.”


Road widening on the cards, but not sure when

Member for Gaven Dr Alex Douglas MP says planning has started on widening the Nerang-Broadbeach Rd between the Pacific Motorway exit and Nerang Railway Station but work will not be done prior to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“In Parliament I expressed my concerns about traffic snarling on this section of the road  during peak periods prior to the  Commonwealth Games but the Minister has ruled out any work before then,” he said.

“The Transport and Main Roads Minister has told me in answer to my question on notice that his department has undertaken planning for the future four-laning of this section of Nerang-Broadbeach Rd.

“However, he says the department’s analysis indicates that the road doesn’t require upgrading for the Games.

“The Minister says that specific traffic management plans will be developed for the Games across the Gold Coast, including Nerang-Broadbeach Rd with the aim of reducing demand and providing reliable traffic flow conditions for athletes, officials and dignitaries and to keep the Gold Coast moving.

“I sought an urgent review of traffic in my electorate because many events will be at Metricon Stadium and Nerang State Forest and residents had expressed concerns how our roads will cope with such an influx.”


Here we go, here we go, here we go

It’s Christmas and an election year all rolled into one in Ashgrove and the Premier is rolling out the presents for residents who might be deceived.

The first present however is for him.  It’s a $7.5 million Waterworks Road upgrade in front of his office.

The second present is courtesy of the LNP – they have passed the hat around last weekend for a fast $50,000 to top up the Premier’s election and Christmas wish-list.  It’s for the Premier too!

The third present is a luxury all expenses paid trip to India courtesy of the Queensland taxpayer hosted by friends in India coming soon after a $2.5 billion present to an Indian billionaire who wanted a railway set.

The fourth present out of the bag was supposed to be debt relief for Central Queensland farmers but it was taken back because the Premier did not think they deserved it.

Isn’t it odd that all these presents seem to be just for one person:  Premier Campbell Newman?

And I thought Christmas was about giving and being with family!


Health Minister out of step with sick children.

Today on the radio, Minister Lawrence Springborg showed the type of insensitivity that he has a long history of, as a member of parliament.

In answers to questions today about the Lady Cilento Queensland Children’s Hospital and problems relating to difficulties for patients, he was dismissive of their concerns.

He was affronted that these very distressed parents of sick children would complain about not being able to get a meal, wash their clothes, easily manage their children around them and it would seem, worst of all, have the “hide” to go public about their concerns.

The Minister says he is running a big Department and he won’t micro-manage those 200 various entities.

He says this, in spite of his decision to compel the new children’s hospital to open and simultaneously close the other children’s facilities.

He refuses to accept any responsibility yet it was his decision to force this opening prematurely.  The transition process was flawed.

Parents have every right to complain and the Minister needs to be humble and caring.  He needs to apologise for these difficulties.

The parents are not complaining about staff or the standard of care for the children.

In health, we don’t need ministers to blame others for their own mistakes nor condemn those who complain.

Complaints are the currency of good medical care – that’s what drives the process.

Medical people get it.  It is the Health Minister who is out of step here.  He just doesn’t get it.

Ripping $5 off the rebate is false economy

The Federal Government is proposing to reduce standard General Practitioner (GP) rebate by $5.00 when Australian GP consultations are the third lowest in the OECD and are one third of specialists’ costs of consultation.

There has been NO increase in government expenditure per person for GPs in 10 years with total spending in 2012/2013 at $7.4 Billion.

In the same period, hospital expenditure by the Federal Government has grown by a 50% compound.

The growth of public hospital expenditure continues on the same curve.

More than 85% of Australians see a GP annually.  17% of patients in poor health with medical problems don’t see a doctor because of cost.

The decision by the Tony Abbott Liberal Federal government to decrease rebates by $5.00 to general practitioners is only offset by the new ability to charge a gap payment simultaneously.

The net impact of these changes is no change to the overall quantum paid by the Federal government as patients will just be seen more frequently.

However the likely impact will be on those who allow a minor problem to become more serious and lead to potentially higher hospital admissions.

With the average cost in Australia of hospital admission being $4230, it does not take long to build up costs and cause gridlocks to the system.

There will be no $3.5 billion saving to the Federal budget from this initiative.

The likely impact will be a multiple of that cost and worse health outcomes.

This is a false economy when a smarter alternative was needed.