Transport Minister Mark Bailey with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
Transport Minister Mark Bailey with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Grey nomads won’t stand for this political arrogance

IT TAKES a special type of brazen political arrogance to take on four-wheel-drive motorists and those who call themselves grey nomads, independent retirees who have invested a large chunk of their superannuation on a luxury caravan so they can enjoy their remaining days travelling around Australia.

The last politician in Queensland to alienate a significant proportion of the electorate was Campbell Newman, and we all know how that turned out.

Unfortunately we're now coming to expect that same sort of hubris from the Left faction of the Palaszczuk Cabinet.

Fuelled by the backing of the unions, emboldened by the comfort of having at least another three years in government, drunk on the power of ministerial leather and with their actions seemingly rubber-stamped by a premier who either won't or can't pull them into line, the Labor Left ministers are having a lend of Queenslanders.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey has emerged as the latest Cabinet representative to uphold the Left's tradition of picking on a group of people and treating them like dirt.

Mr Bailey is presiding over new laws which will stop 4WD vehicles from towing caravans, boats, horse floats and trailers because they exceed their legal carrying capacity. The new laws mean bullbars, winches, water tanks and extended fuel tanks take bigger vehicles over the weight limit allowed to tow.

Vehicles operated in excess of legal carrying capacity are declared unsafe and are not covered by insurance.

The new laws will affect up to 200,000 grey nomads in Queensland, as well as fishermen and horse lovers.

 

Illustration: Brett Lethbridge
Illustration: Brett Lethbridge

 

Even police and SES vehicles will be affected. It means motorists wanting to continue to tow caravans, boats, horse floats and trailers will be forced to now buy large, powerful, expensive and fuel-inefficient imported utes and trucks. The reason? Well we don't really know although it's a fair bet it is safety-related.

The caravan association's peak body and private operators who supply bullbars and winches to the industry have repeatedly written to Mr Bailey asking for a seat at the table to discuss the new laws, which take effect in two weeks.

They didn't get a reply. It seems inconceivable that an industry peak body - representing hundreds of thousands of people - would write to a minister asking for information and be snubbed.

The problem for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is that Mr Bailey and his Left faction cohorts don't care. This is the minister at the centre of the so-called Mangocube personal email affair, which was investigated by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

He was cleared by the CCC but the probe exposed a comfortable and cosy relationship with the Electrical Trades Union when he was Energy Minister. Are we surprised? This is the same government that appointed CFMEU thug Jade Ingham to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.

Getting 4WD motorists offside is a big political risk. One in two motorists now drive 4WDs. Queensland has eight of the top 10 postcodes in the country for caravan ownership. These are people who vote.

And the absurdity is that while the government is punishing Queenslanders by imposing draconian new rules around towing, if somebody from NSW or Victoria crosses the border they'll be allowed to drive here without the same scrutiny.

It all sounds a bit fishy. Faceless bureaucrats have dreamt up new laws behind closed doors and they've been okayed by a Minister who's clearly out of his depth. Surely, we deserve better.



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