Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the LNP should pay for its latest taxpayer-funded advertising campaign pushing myths about state debt as part of the Newman Government’s campaign to justify asset sales.
“The ads continue to suggest there are ‘choices’ to be made when in fact the Newman Government has made up its mind to sell assets,” Mr Pitt said.
“The Premier and Treasurer are already talking about spending the proceeds of asset sales on eight new dams, football stadiums and roads projects.
“The taxpayer-funded ads are just part of a scare campaign to cover up their hypocrisy.
“From its first day in office the LNP has been planning asset sales despite saying before the election it had an economic plan that did not rely on asset sales.
“More recently Treasurer Tim Nicholls has been saying Queensland is going broke and the latest ads claim the state’s debt position means no new schools, hospitals, or roads.
“Yet the Newman Government can find $2.6 billion to waste over the next 10 to 15 years on its new Executive Building project and taxpayers will never own it or the seven buildings sold at a loss to justify it.
“We also see the LNP use taxpayer funds to employ ‘spin doctors’ from a major PR firm at possibly $20,000 a month to help sell the asset sales message including through these latest wasteful ads. The LNP should be paying for these ads, not taxpayers.”
Mr Pitt said the LNP has never told the truth about state debt.
“They fail to acknowledge the former Labor Government left gross state debt at $62 billion and almost half was held by government-owned corporation such as port authorities whose debt is repaid by customers such as big resources companies, not average taxpayers,” he said.
“The LNP never admits Labor had a plan to pay down debt after investing in major infrastructure projects such as new hospitals that secured jobs during the GFC.
“Most of all the LNP never acknowledges that Campbell Newman as Lord Mayor of Brisbane increased city debt from $400 million in 2009 to $1.2 billion in 2011.”
Mr Pitt said it was telling that the latest ads cited the discredited Costello Audit chaired by a life member of the Liberal Party and asset sales advocate Peter Costello.
“The Costello Audit set the scene for the LNP’s scare campaign with its projected ‘$100 billion debt’ that was based on totally false assumptions. The $100 billion debt figure was so shonky that five LNP MPs were forced to correct statements in State Parliament when they presented it as fact.
“The latest ad campaign is part of the Treasurer’s continued efforts to peddle myths about state debt to justify his plans for widespread sale of public assets.
“In March he released a Queensland Treasury document prepared by his $20,00-a-month ‘spin doctors’ which he claimed showed Queensland risked having debt of $120 billion.
“Just as the Costello Audit used wild assumptions to deliver a scary debt figure, the March report was based on a particular hypothetical ‘scenario’ arrived at by putting more wild assumptions into an economic model to achieve a doomsday scenario.
“Queenslanders should be wary of anything the LNP says on debt.
“This mean and tricky Treasurer and his arrogant government have made hypocritical spin an art form,” Mr Pitt said.