Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the Newman Government’s capital works freeze shows it never planned to keep its promise of a 4% jobless target.
“ABS unemployment figures released today show the Newman Government is going backwards on full-time job creation,” Mr Pitt said in Townsville today.
“It has presided over the biggest single fall in full-time jobs of any state, with 11,200 jobs lost between September and October.
“After one year and seven months of the Newman Government’s policies there are now 3,800 fewer full-time jobs in Queensland in October this year than at the time of the last election in March 2012.
“Yet from March 2012 to March this year Queensland’s population rose by more than 92,000 which means there are 3,800 fewer full-time jobs to go around more people.
[singlepic id=537 w=320 h=240 float=left] “Today’s ABS figures show the seasonally adjusted jobless rate for Queensland has remained at 5.9% from September to October, up from 5.5% at the time of the 2012 state election.
“The percentage of people looking for work — the participation rate — fell substantially in October, reflecting the fact that under the Newman Government people are giving up on the jobs market.
“If the participation rate had stayed the same as it was at the 2012 state election Queensland’s unemployment rate would be about 7.3% seasonally adjusted.
“Unfortunately our state is growing but the Newman Government’s policies are shrinking job opportunities.”
Mr Pitt said the Newman Government’s capital works freeze was hitting job prospects, especially in regional Queensland.
Mr Pitt said before the 2012 state election the LNP promised to target a 4% statewide jobless rate over six years.
“Treasurer Tim Nicholls has already backed away from the 4% promise by claiming it was never a promise but ‘a stretch target’, whatever that means,” Mr Pitt said.
Mr Pitt said the former Labor Government knew the value of spending on infrastructure.
“In government Labor had an extensive capital works program that built the state’s asset base while also creating or saving jobs during the global financial crisis,” he said.
“Unfortunately all the Newman Government has done so far is to sell off assets — mainly in secret and without any approval of voters at an election as they also promised.
“They have no major infrastructure projects, especially in regional Queensland.
“In fact in the Townsville region the Newman Government is spending close to $116 million less on infrastructure this financial year.”
Mr Pitt said by comparison the former Labor Government had initiated a range of major projects in the region, including:
· $85 million to lengthen and deepen the Port of Townsville’s Berth 10A — a project recently opened by Treasurer Tim Nicholls who made no reference to his capital works freeze;
· $334 million in state and federal funds for expansion of the Townsville hospital;
· $18.9 million for the Flinders Street Mall upgrade;
· $110 million in state and federal funds for widening the Douglas Arterial on the Townsville ring road and$190 million for the upgrade of the Townsville Port Access Road;
· $101.6 million for the Townsville Marine Precinct;
· $4.6 million for kindergartens at Bluewater, Kelso, Kirwan and Weir State Schools;
· $12 million for a new district police facility in Townsville;
· $5 million to redevelop the Pimlico campus of the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE;
· $4.7 million for the Townsville Correctional Complex.
Mr Pitt said the only major capital works project the Newman Government talked about was its new and unnecessary Executive Building in the Brisbane CBD for the Premier and his Ministers.
“That building is being built for the government which will be a tenant, meaning taxpayers will have nothing to show for the rent they will pay,” he said.
“In addition to justify the new Brisbane building, Treasurer Tim Nicholls secretly sold seven government office blocks in Brisbane for a total price that was $226 million less than their book value.
“That $226 million could fund new projects in Townsville or other regions and create jobs to boost local economies.
“But the Newman Government prefers to put itself first and regional communities a distant last.”