Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says no LNP Minister or MP should have smile on their face tomorrow as their first State Budget sacks possibly 14,000 government workers in the first wave of the Newman Government’s program to slash-and-burn frontline services.
“The Premier, Treasurer and other LNP Ministers have been less than gracious when announcing their mass sackings and savage cuts to frontline services in the past few months,” Mr Pitt said.
“The Premier has said he is ‘excited’ by the Budget, but there are 14,000 families who are not excited.
“Tomorrow the LNP presents a Budget built on the pay-packets of their own sacked employees so there should be no flicker of celebration on the face of any LNP MP.”
Mr Pitt said the Newman Government’s first State Budget would be based on the blueprint delivered by the now widely discredited Costello Audit.
“Last week two independent assessments were scathing of the Costello Audit and its methodology,” he said.
“Just this morning on ABC Radio National respected economist Saul Eslake joined other independent commentators, economists and analysts in saying the Costello Audit had embraced the rarely used concept of ‘gross debt’ which exaggerated the state’s financial position.”
Mr Eslake said the Costello Audit had used gross debt “….in order to come up with a number of $100 billion. That is completely ignoring the financial assets which Queensland has.”
“The truth is that the Costello Audit was never independent and even one of its commissioners had disputed the Premier’s claim about borrowing top pay public sector wages.
“The LNP has been playing the blame game since March but after tomorrow’s Budget they take full ownership of job cuts, frontline service cuts and any fall in service standards especially in regional Queensland.”
Mr Pitt said a key figure to look for in the Budget would be the projected headline figure for state debt.
“On 16 August the Premier told ABC Radio that ‘the overall debt position that we are presenting is no different than the government that’s just left’’,” he said.
“If that is anywhere near the position revealed tomorrow then the LNP has quite simply sacked thousands of Queenslanders to pay for their election promises.
“The LNP government has been talking about the previous government’s ‘debt binge’ but in August it borrowed an initial $1.65 billion and never said a word,” he said.
“That shows how mean and tricky the Newman Government is and how we need to wait to see the Budget figures in black and white before making specific judgements.”