Regional Queensland is crying out for investment in new projects to provide jobs and economic stimulus, says Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt.
Speaking in Townsville, Mr Pitt savaged the Newman Government’s pitiful record and its failure to invest in major infrastructure to support the economy.
“What we are seeing from Premier Campbell Newman and Treasurer Tim Nicholls is catastrophic economic mismanagement that has lifted debt, wasted taxpayers’ money, seen unemployment rise, increased the cost of living for ordinary Queenslanders and slowed our economy,” he said.
“Net debt has increased by $7.58 billion since the March 2012 election and for the next financial year is tracking to be higher than forecast under Labor.
“The former government had a measured and manageable policy to invest in the type of infrastructure that needs to be built once in a generation to create jobs and stimulate regional economies.
“All the Newman Government has done is sack more than 17,000 public servants and enter into a contract to build a plush new executive building for Ministers with stunning views of the Brisbane River.
“As part of this misguided project the Government sold seven CBD office blocks at a knockdown price and entered agreements that will cost taxpayers more than $1 billion to rent back office space over the next decade.
“Only last week we learnt that it’s even worse than that. Having sacked so many staff the Newman Government is now spending more than $3 million a year to rent office space it no longer has any need for.
“The waste is shocking and it is not an isolated example. A self-promotional newsletter is costing taxpayers $4.3 million a year and the Queensland Plan is costing $4.6 million even though the LNP told electors it had a plan back in 2012.
Mr Pitt said before he was elected Mr Newman assured Queenslanders they had nothing to fear from the LNP.
“But, as Mr Abbott is promising, he used an ‘independent’ commission of audit to justify a program of mass sackings and frontline service cuts that continue to weigh on the Queensland economy
“Typical of all Tory administrations, Mr Newman said one thing and did another which is precisely why Mr Abbott can’t be trusted.”
Mr Pitt said Queenslanders would need no reminding that the LNP promised to cut electricity prices in Opposition only to impose the largest electricity price rise in Queensland history.
“The average household is paying $268 more for power this year than last while taxes per person in the state have increased by $257 since the election after hikes in insurance tax and fire levies,” said Mr Pitt.
“It is time the Newman Government stopped pretending. The facts tell a story of waste and indulgence.”