How is it already April? The year is flying past! This week we saw some big movements on issues we care about like the Great Barrier Reef and health funding. We know that the next couple of weeks are going to be big for the future of Queensland so we put together this update for you.
Our Reef, Our Climate
Our beautiful Great Barrier Reef has been all over the media for the last couple of weeks but for all the wrong reasons
Experts are telling us that the reef is experiencing the worst coral bleaching event ever seen. Our reef is grappling with the impacts of climate change while our politicians are using it as a political football. While the Queensland government talks about protecting the reef; every day it is looking more and more likely that they will approve the mining leases for Adani's Carmichael mega-mine.
As Queenslanders, we know that outdated coal projects like Carmichael mine cannot coexist with our reef. Queenslanders have a vision for a future powered by the wind and the sun, which supports healthier communities and protects the Great Barrier Reef for our kids. We have all of the technology and people power we need to transform our energy system, create healthier communities and an economy that provides thousands of clean jobs for Queensland.
Take action to protect the reef by signing the petition calling on our leaders to stand up for our reef, our climate and our Queensland.
Human Rights Act for Queensland
We have an exciting update on the Human Rights Act for Queensland. At the end of last year, the Queensland Government set up an inquiry to look into whether Queensland should have a Human Rights Act. We agree with our friends from the Human Rights Law Centre who told the inquiry that, "it's time for Queensland to enshrine the values of freedom, equality, respect and dignity in law."
The inquiry is currently accepting submissions from the public. Add your voice to the community submission here.
Turnbull's income tax thought bubble
Remember that time Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey announced $80 million worth of health and education cuts in the 2014 budget? Yeah, that happened.
Today state and federal governments came together to reach an agreement on the funding crisis facing our schools and hospitals because of Abbott's cuts. What we know for sure is that it isn't looking good.
The state governments have accepted a short-term deal on health funding from the federal government. The deal was for $2.9 billion of hospital funding, in return for no additional funding for public schools. This hardly goes close to filling the budget hole created by the 2014 budget. The government is sending a clear message to taxpayers; you can have a band-aid solution for health funding or fair school funding, but definitely not both.
This week, Malcolm Turnbull showed his true colours trying to palm off the budget hole they created to the states to deal with. He released plans for tax reform to the media earlier in the week that would allow states and territories to levy their own income tax, and hand responsibility for public school and hospital funding over. The plan even included walking away from funding public schools and leaving the most vulnerable students at risk. Just to make it even more unfair, the government would continue to provide funding for private schools. The good news is that this plan is apparently off the table for now after state premiers couldn't agree.
At this stage, it is hard to know what today's news will mean for public health and education funding in Queensland but we want to know that public services and jobs will be protected. We will be watching this closely and this year as we move closer to an expected federal election it’ll be up to us to make sure that the Prime Minister and all politicians provide the quality education and health services we all expect into the future.