LNP Cabinet Ministers should be embarrassed showing their faces in Cairns at this weekend’s Community Cabinet after delivering their first State Budget in Parliament which scrapped infrastructure, slashed services and cut jobs in the region.
Member for Mulgrave and Shadow Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, said the LNP’s 2012 State Budget almost wiped Cairns off the funding map with the scrapping of major infrastructure projects and critical underfunding of others.
“Treasurer Tim Nicholls could easily find $3.5 million in the State Budget as a first instalment for planning the Premier’s pet project — a new Executive Building for himself and his Ministers in the Brisbane CBD,” Mr Pitt said.
“But as the Cairns Chamber of Commerce has said the LNP needs to start developing an ‘outside-of-Brisbane mindset’. So far all the LNP Government has delivered for Cairns and the Far North are cuts to jobs and services.
“It is the height of rudeness for the Newman Cabinet to try and come to Cairns the weekend after the meanest Budget in a generation is delivered and try to sell their slash-and-burn policies to the people of Queensland.
“I think the people of Cairns will see the LNP’s transparent spin for what it is. Once again, as the Cairns Chamber of Commerce says, ‘token commitments rather than definitive plans for action’ and ‘give-a-dog-a-bone’ commitments’ are not good enough for our city and our region.”
Mr Pitt said the Member for Cairns Gavin King should be ashamed he has now officially lost more than $90 million for the people of Cairns with further implications across Far North Queensland.
“Mr King has lost the $57.3 million Cairns Entertainment Precinct and $33 million worth of investment in the Cairns CBD upgrade, with the LNP only allocating $5 million for the CBD upgrade,” Mr Pitt said.
“It should be noted however that after all the claims by Mr King of co-called ‘phantom money’ in the last budget under Labor, there is no funding identified for the upgrading of the $5 million for the upgrading of the Cairns CBD in the budget papers.
“The people of Cairns should be incredibly disappointed that Mr King has let the LNP Government rip infrastructure investment out of Far North Queensland.
“This will have wide-ranging impact on jobs and industry in the whole Far North.
“Even when the LNP commits $40 million for the Trinity Inlet dredging project, it is well short of the expected cost of between $80-100 million.
“This and other cost blow-outs show how shonky the LNP’s election policy costings were.”
Mr Pitt said on top of scrapping infrastructure projects in Cairns the LNP government has also slashed hundreds of government jobs in the region.
“In response to last week’s Budget, hundreds of people took to the streets in Cairns to protest the LNP Government’s axing of 14,000 jobs,” he said.
“A couple of weeks ago we saw concerned doctors and nurses protesting outside Cairns Base Hospital in response to the revelation the LNP are slashing nearly 3000 Queensland Health jobs.
“The people of Cairns are seeing this mean and tricky LNP Government for what they really are.”