The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
THE LORD OF BYRON
After all his beaching and moaning, Steven’s holidaying Miles away in NSW. He’s...
DEPUTY Premier Steven Miles has been accused of hypocrisy for taking a Byron Bay beach break after spending months calling for more support for struggling Queensland tourism businesses.
After a year of government calls for Queenslanders to holiday at home, Mr Miles was spotted in the NSW tourism mecca on Saturday walking with his wife and boogie boarding on a six-day escape.
It prompted Opposition attacks that he should have put his money where his mouth is.
The LNP broadside follows political attacks from Mr Miles, including that Prime Minister Scott Morrison had “abandoned” 168,000 Queensland workers by ending JobKeeper and that his government “hates” Queensland tourist towns.
Mr Miles also publicly tore up a quarantine bill from the Berejiklian government for the state’s share in hotel costs, vowing he wouldn’t “send Queenslanders’ money to NSW”.
Manager of Opposition Business Jarrod Bleijie said for a politician who “spends all his time attacking others for not supporting our state and who said he wouldn’t send any money to NSW”, his actions didn’t “pass the pub test”.
“In an unprecedented crisis for Queensland’s tourism operators, surely the Deputy Premier can do what he’s been preaching and holiday at home,” Mr Bleijie said.
“He’s miles from where he lives but hypocrisy hits home.”
Contacted for comment, Mr Miles’s office responded with more political tit-for-tat.
“This is pretty rich coming from the Queensland LNP who billed taxpayers to take their spouses on a junket to Luna Park in Sydney,” a spokeswoman said. “This is the same LNP led by a Prime Minister who stayed in Hawaii while the country burned.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has repeatedly encouraged all Queenslanders to support struggling tourism operators, particularly in the far north where the continued closure of international borders is still biting hard.
“Please book a holiday and back local jobs,” she said just last month.
It’s understood Mr Miles’ holiday was booked and paid for last year but had to be rescheduled due to the pandemic. It follows months of commentary from Mr Miles on the importance of supporting the Queensland tourism industry, particularly in the wake of JobKeeper payments ending.
He recently accused the Morrison government of “hating” Queensland cities for leaving them off a list of tourism destinations chosen for a support package funding halfprice airfares to key destinations and not allowing intrastate tourists to access it.
Deputy Opposition Leader and Treasury spokesman David Janetzki said Mr Miles was full of political attacks.
“This is a guy who stood up in parliament waving a NSW jersey to mock the Opposition Leader,” he said. “This is a guy who childishly tore up a quarantine bill from the NSW government as a social media stunt ... To make these crude attacks and not support hardworking Queenslanders when they need it most is simply unbelievable.”