Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the mid-year review of the State Budget shows the LNP is responsible for lower state revenues, GFC-style jobless levels, slower economic growth, and inventing excuse after excuse for its own handiwork.
Mr Pitt said the results of the mid-year review would be used by the LNP as an excuse to embark on assets sales.
“The Treasurer and the rest of the LNP’s leadership team have spent their first nine months in office cutting 14,000 jobs, savaging frontline services, and constantly talking down the state’s finances and economy,” Mr Pitt said.
“They are now reaping what they have sown and have nobody to blame but themselves.
“The mid-year review shows worsening unemployment and deteriorating economic growth as a direct result of the LNP’s slash-and-burn policies.
“It is no wonder the Treasurer tried to release the latest Budget mid-year review and its grim news a few days before Christmas when he thought nobody would pay much attention.
“The mid-year review shows LNP policies will drive up unemployment to an average of 6.25% this financial year — higher than it ever was under Labor even during the global financial crisis.
“The unemployment rate for 2013-14 has also been revised up from 5.75% to 6% which means the LNP’s budget cuts will slow the economy for some time and put a bigger question mark over the LNP’s 4% unemployment target in six years.
“Where is the plan to create the 420,000 new jobs the Premier said were needed to fulfil that promise?”
Mr Pitt said the mid-year review also showed the state economy would grow at 3.75% this financial year, down from 4% projected in the Budget. Growth was also expected to slow next financial year from a Budget forecast of 3.75% to 3.5%.
“This slow-down is a direct result of the LNP’s savage cuts to jobs and services despite the Treasurer’s attempts to blame everyone else but himself,” he said.
Mr Pitt said the Treasurer’s statement that the LNP needed another term in office to return the state’s AAA credit rating proved the mass sackings and savage cuts to frontline services in the State Budget were to fund LNP election promises and had nothing to do with the state’s credit rating.
“His statement also underlines the fact that the LNP’s mass sackings and frontline service cuts were to fund LNP election promises, not to secure a AAA rating,” he said.
Mr Pitt said a key metric used by ratings agencies in assessing a AAA rating — the net financial liabilities to revenue ratio — was in a worse position this financial year under the LNP than when Labor left office.
“This means the Treasurer’s slash-and-burn approach has sent Queensland backwards on the path to a AAA rating,” Mr Pitt said.
“It is now plain that the Treasurer’s only plan to obtain a AAA rating is to sell off state assets which makes it even more urgent for him to release the secret second Costello Audt report he has had on his desk since the end of November.”
Mr Pitt said the mid-year review also revealed the state tax burden had risen under the LNP.
“The Treasurer must take responsibility for a rise of $120 per person over the past year in state taxes, from $2,271 to $2,391 per capita,” he said.
“Mr Nicholls must also say if a $107 million drop in ‘employee expenses’ over four years to 2015-16 detailed in the mid-year review points to a second wave of sackings by his government.
“He needs to provide answers because if Queenslanders have learned one thing in the past nine months it’s that you cannot trust the LNP to keep its word,” Mr Pitt said.