Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says Treasurer Tim Nicholls should rename his “listening tour” on asset sales as a lecture tour because he will not be listening.
“Desperate efforts by Mr Nicholls to again talk down our state by claiming it’s going broke proves the LNP has made up its mind to continue selling state assets,” Mr Pitt said.
“The Premier’s promise that he and his government would listen more in the wake of the Redcliffe by-election has been shattered a week later by Mr Nicholls.
“Trotting out the bogeyman of ‘going broke’ shows he will not be listening as he swans around the state. The Newman Government is determined to forge ahead with asset sales regardless of what Queenslanders think.
“It’s the same attitude that saw them already sell nearly $4 billion in assets this term without asking anyone, with the potential for at least $5 billion more before the next election.
“Mr Nicholls might like to explain on his tour why, if the state’s finances are allegedly so bad, can he find $2.6 billion to waste on the LNP’s new Executive Building project.
“Mr Nicholls will be continuing the LNP campaign to talk down our state as he and the Premier have done over the past two years with references to Queensland being ‘like Spain’ and our state being on a ‘power dive into the abyss’.
“The latest message Tim Nicholls is sending to major potential investors and the rest of the world is that we are going broke. That is no way for a responsible Treasurer to behave.
“The Treasurer campaigned against assets sales at the 2012 election and said he had an economic plan. Now almost two years and two State Budgets later, the fact he is scaremongering just to push asset sales shows that he is desperate and out of ideas.
“Queenslanders put their trust in Campbell Newman and Mr Nicholls, but the fact is they’ve cut too hard, too fast, and our economy has been slowed as a result.
“This week’s State Accounts showed exports are propping up growth while domestic activity such as household spending remained weaker under the LNP than under Labor. Private investment, dwelling investment and business investment are all weaker under the LNP
“But what else could we expect from a government that sacks almost 20,000 people, slashes and burns frontline services, does not invest in infrastructure, and has spent the best part of two years talking down the state’s finances? If the economy is strong, revenues are strong,” he said.
Mr Pitt said the former Labor Government had a strategy to pay down debt and Mr Nicholls had said before the 2012 election he had a plan too which did not involve asset sales.
“Mr Nicholls has also never acknowledged the fact that almost half of the $62 billion in state debt at the time of the March 2012 state election was held by government-owned corporations whose clients – not average taxpayers – would pay off. For example big mining companies using port facilities help pay down the debt of port authorities.
“Labor learned the hard way when it came to Queenslanders’ views on asset sales but the LNP has not been listening even after the message it was sent from the Redcliffe by-election,” Mr Pitt said.