Palaszczuk reshapes Adani loan position

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk is reshaping her decision to scuttle Adani's $1 billion loan application as a choice for voters at the ballot box, as she continues to fend off questions over conflict of interest.

She denied her announcement on Friday to veto Adani's rail line request was due to Labor party research showing the proposed loan was unpopular and demanded the Indian mining giant "get on with it".

Ms Palaszczuk had initially framed the veto as a response to integrity commissioner advice due to her partner Shaun Drabsch's work on the proposal.

If Adani's loan is rejected, it clears the way for Aurizon's rival proposal to build the same project.

While the State Government owns shares in Aurizon, Ms Palaszczuk said she could not see how her decision created a conflict of interest.

"I'm having a think about that, I don't believe so," she said.

Asked if Aurizon's proposal should stand on its own two feet, as she said Adani's must, Ms Pakaszczuk said she would seek advice and could not outline the difference between the two projects.

"I don't know because it hasn't come to Cabinet yet," she said.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (left) is seen inspecting the building of the new Mackay Fire Station. Picture: AAP/Darren England
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (left) is seen inspecting the building of the new Mackay Fire Station. Picture: AAP/Darren England

Speaking in a marathon 45-minute press conference in the Labor-held seat of Mirani, Ms Palaszczuk said Adani was able to fund the project themselves and they should do so.

"This company needs to get on with the job. There's other mining companies that are doing just that," she said.

"I've spoken with JFE Steel... I've visited their steel works in Japan. They value the work they do here, their mine is up and running.

"The people of Queensland are going to make their decision. Their decision is going to be whether or not they want taxpayer funds being used to sponsor this mine.

"It's clear, it's right clear down the middle. If they want that they can vote for Tim Nicholls and One Nation."




She did not name anyone behind the "LNP smear campaign" she said prompted her to make the veto announcement on Friday, but suggested Senator Matt Canavan was involved.

"Matt Canavan, he's been out there, still going on. Of course he's allowed to respond, but it just makes me think, is he part of it all," she said.

Mirani MP Jim Pearce said it was vitally important the Adani mine go ahead, but did not criticise the decision to veto the loan.

"I don't know a lot personally about that issue. Over the weekend nine out of ten people that approached me said Jimmy, make sure this mine goes ahead," he said.

"I say to the company, put your bloody money on the table guys and let's get on with it because we're all waiting to have jobs."

One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson is seen popping a bottle of champagne on the “Battler Bus”. Picture: AAP/Dave Hunt
One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson is seen popping a bottle of champagne on the “Battler Bus”. Picture: AAP/Dave Hunt

At the press conference, Ms Palaszczuk also poked fun at Senator Pauline Hanson's bubbly campaign launch this morning, while warning of chaos under an LNP Government supported by One Nation.

"Wasn't it launched with champagne? I think that says a lot," she said.

"But in all honesty, let's be really serious here. A vote for Pauline Hanson's One Nation is a vote for Tim Nicholls and the LNP.

"They have different policies. It will be complete and utter chaos."

She said Senator Hanson's voting record had her supporting the Coalition Government in most votes Federally.

Mirani MP Jim Pearce, whose seat is held by a notional 3.8 per cent and is under threat from One Nation, said voters had to remember Senator Hanson would not be involved in the Queensland Parliament.

"By supporting One Nation you will have a Parliament made up of LNP and One Nation. What a dog fight that will turn out to be," he said.

"If One Nation forms government with One Nation, God bless us."

- Matthew Killoran

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (centre) is seen meeting workers on the Bruce Highway upgrade in Mackay. Picture: AAP/Darren England
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (centre) is seen meeting workers on the Bruce Highway upgrade in Mackay. Picture: AAP/Darren England


Mayor to stand as independent

ROCKHAMPTON Mayor Margaret Strelow will run as an independent after losing preselection to contest the Central Queensland seat for Labor.

"This will be a tough fight but I want the best for Rockhampton," Cr Strelow said in a statement released to the media ahead of a press conference in Rockhampton.

She will now create competition for Labor in the seat, competing against the man who beat her for ALP preselection Barry O'Rourke.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had anointed Cr Strelow her preferred candidate to replace retiring Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne who is bowing out of politics for health reasons.

Rockhampton Mayor Magaret Strelow’s decision to run as an independent has sent shockwaves through the Labor party.
Rockhampton Mayor Magaret Strelow’s decision to run as an independent has sent shockwaves through the Labor party.

LNP Leader Tim Nicholls was also surprised by Ms Strelow's decison, which he was told of during his press conference in the seat of Pumicestone.

"Really?" he asked.

"We've known for the past three years that Labor has been a disunited, muddle-headled rabble.

"They couldn't agree on many things.

"We've seen Jo-Ann Miller quit, we've seen Leeann Donaldson sacked, Stirling HInchliffe quit, Billy Gordon get fired, Rick Williams - the successful, so-called MP up here - be given his marching orders as a pretext for the early election call.

"And now we see a disgruntled, former Labor member of the party, a mayor, thumb her nose and run as an independent.

"The real question for Annastacia Palaszczuk is does she prefer the preselected ALP candidate or does she prefer her good friend, the mayor of Rockhampton, Margaret Strelow?

"I mean, they are a mess."

- Sarah Vogler and Jessica Marszalek






Hanson hits Queensland

FIREBRAND Senator Pauline Hanson has kicked off her state election campaign by taking aim at the major parties.

Only arriving home from India over the weekend, Ms Hanson says she will be running a grassroots campaign from Brisbane up to Cairns.

"This is the start of the campaign and I am so excited about it," she said.

"I think the people of Queensland are fed up with the major parties, both the Liberal and National parties and also the Labor Party."

While refusing to put a number on the amount of seats she expects her party to win in the November 25 poll, she said One Nation will have a bigger impact than it did in the 1998 state election.

Ms Hanson confirmed she had struck a deal with the Katter Australian Party that would see them preferenced number two in every seat they run.

As revealed by The Courier-Mail, support for One Nation has surged according to the extraordinary results of the election's first Galaxy poll.

- Trenton Akers





Follow our coverage of campaign day nine below


Ghosts of Newman and Nicholls

Two Queensland Council of Unions protesters have brought the ghost of Campbell Newman to the campaign trial today.

The pair, dressed as Tim Nicholls and former premier Mr Newman, hung around the front of a commercial kitchen fit out business in the electorate of Pine Rivers this morning as the LNP Leader talked energy bill savings inside.

Placards that mentioned health and job cuts and asset sales read: "It'll be grim under Tim."




Mr Nicholls had already left the business by car and reporters were embarking the LNP's media bus when a Queensland police protection officer identified himself with his badge and asked for the protesters' names.

The pair left, crossing the busy Gympie Arterial Rd still wearing their comically large costume heads.

- Jessica Marszalek





Bruce Hwy promises

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will today outline a billion-dollar-a-year vision to upgrade the Bruce Highway to help build on record exports, create regional jobs and improve flood prone hot spots.

The bold plan includes a commitment to deliver the last section and missing link of the Cooroy to Curra project, the Sunshine Coast Daily reports.

"The stretch of the Bruce Hwy between Cooroy and Curra was one of the most dangerous sections of the National Land Transport Network," Ms Palaszczuk said.




"Major upgrade works on this section have increased capacity and most importantly improved safety but there is more work to do.

"Section C is nearing completion, so now attention is on the final section D.

"The final stage of this project between Woondum and Curra will create a Gympie bypass and complete the project which is more than 60km long."

The Bruce Highway between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. Picture: Mark Calleja
The Bruce Highway between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. Picture: Mark Calleja

The state and federal governments committed $50m towards the planning of Section D last year.

Ms Palaszczuk said if re-elected her government would commit 20 per cent share of the project to construct the missing link.

The project would build on the Bruce Hwy work undertaken, including the major Caloundra Rd to Sunshine Mwy upgrade.

Ms Palaszczuk said under the Future-proofing the Bruce plan, a Bruce Highway Trust would identify priorities through a 15-year forward plan and invest $1b in projects under five-year action plans.

Ms Palaszczuk started day nine of her campaign with an early morning constitutional along Pioneer River in Mackay this morning.

There were no Adani protesters, but a few strategically placed local supporters along the way.

Ms Palaszczuk will continue her campaign in the regions, as Senator Pauline Hanson begins her own tour promoting One Nation.



Barge to Moreton a step closer




LNP spruiks energy policy

- Jessica Marszalek

Tim Nicholls will visit small businesses today to outline how his new energy policy will save them money.

The LNP leader is expected to visit companies north of Brisbane to outline how a small business using 7.63 Mwh would save $65 a year and a large business using 244 Mwh would save $1880 a year.

"Businesses can't grow and employ more people if they are weighed down with higher costs and electricity is one of their largest costs," Mr Nicholls said in a statement ahead of campaigning today.




He yesterday said he would introduce competition by breaking Queensland's two electricity generators into three and wrote down Energy Queensland's asset base by $2 billion, costing the Budget $160 million a year.

"We are taking action on every component of the electricity bill - something that Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor have failed to do," he said.

He said the write down would reduce network charges by 11 per cent from 1 July 2018, savings businesses hundreds of dollars.






One Nation's airport pledge

One Nation wants 99-year leases for small Queensland airports, saying many are under threat.

The party's Queensland leader Steve Dickson says smaller airports have seen their lease terms reduced and housing developments are closing in on their perimeters.

"One Nation will ensure local airports are given 99-year leases so they can seriously plan for the future," he said in a statement on Monday.

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