Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt, says Tim Nicholls must specify when the Newman Government will deliver on its 4% unemployment rate promise when he delivers the mid-year fiscal and economic review.
“Today’s Westpac Coast to Coast Report is yet more evidence of the economic and financial incompetence of the Newman Government that has cut too far, too fast, and too deep and smothered the state economy,” Mr Pitt said.
“Almost every major indicator shows the LNP’s arrogance and incompetence has seen it fritter away the strong-performing economy it inherited from Labor. (See table below)
“Before the last election, Mr Newman and Mr Nicholls swore they had plans to grow the state’s economy and have us heading to a 4% unemployment rate — all without the need for asset sales.
“Now that Joe Hockey has released the Federal Budget update and revealed his own massive deficit that will compound the savage cuts already made by the Abbott Government, it is imperative Mr Nicholls details his long-overdue plan for jobs.
“All we have seen so far is a plan for sacking workers and stifling confidence including cutting 24,000 jobs, slashing funding to frontline community groups, and the Premier and Treasurer trying to outdo each other in talking down Queensland, all of which hammered confidence to the point where individuals shut their wallets and the private sector stopped hiring.
“Unemployment is now 6.9%, the highest in mainland Australia and the highest in 11 years with economic growth nearly halving under the LNP. “
Mr Pitt said the latest Westpac Coast to Coast Report stated: “… there is little cause for celebration. Queensland has the highest unemployment rate of any state…”
It went on to say: “….it is likely that a considerable period of time will pass before Queensland once again sees persistent, robust growth…”
“The LNP must stop claiming they have the economy back on track when they have actually derailed economic growth and destroyed 29,100 full-time jobs.
“Mr Nicholls must use the mid-year update to say definitively when the LNP will deliver on its 4% promise, and how they intend to do so.
“If he again dismisses 4% jobless as ‘a stretch target’ it will prove he never had a plan for jobs just as it is clear he never had a plan for economic growth.”
Mr Pitt said the Treasurer could not use the Joe Hockey excuse of falling commodity prices.
“While coal prices have dipped, that should be offset by Mr Nicholls’ royalty tax increase in his first budget,” he said.
“In fact, the budget bottom-line should benefit from a lower Australian dollar, while low interest rates have kept the property sector ticking along.
“Independent economists have attributed half of the Federal deficit blowout to rising unemployment. What we are seeing under the LNP at both a national and state level is a jobs deficit.
“And cutting jobs so deeply and so quickly means a snowballing lack of confidence.
“The softness in the Queensland economy is due to a lack of confidence, brought about by the LNPs reckless doomsday rhetoric and the severe cuts they inflicted on almost every sector.
“The mid-year update can’t be used as an excuse for the LNP’s asset sales. It must clearly define a way to tackle Queensland’s decade-high, GFC-style unemployment rates and lack of growth.
“The fact is the Queensland economy has tanked under Campbell Newman and Tim Nicholls.
“Queenslanders need a plan for jobs, not a plan for a $37 billion fire sale of Queensland’s assets and an over-committed one-off honey pot of belated infrastructure funds.
In 2012 Under Labor:
In 2014 Under the LNP:
|Economy growing at 4% (2011-12)
|Economy growing at 2.3% (2013-14)|
|Unemployment at 5.5% (March 2012)||Unemployment at 6.9% (November 2014)
|+53,000 full-time jobs. More than 53,000 full-time jobs were created over the three years to March 2012||-29,100 full-time jobs. 29,100 full-time jobs have been lost since March 2014 seasonally adjusted
|The domestic economy or state final demand growing at 7.5% (year to March Qtr 2012)||-1.8% state final demand over the year to September Qtr 2014|
|Business investment growth of 32% over the year to March Qtr 2012)||-18.6% business investment over the year to September 2014
|Retail Trade growth of 0.6% in March and 4.2% over the year||0.0% Retail Trade flatlining in October — the eighth consecutive month of no growth
|Employment growth of 1.3% (2011-12)||-0.2% employment growth in Nov 2014
|Building approvals growth of 1.7% in March and 3.7% over the year||-0.7% building approvals in October 2014|
|Household consumption growth of 4.7% over the year to March Qtr 2012||1.7% household consumption growth over the year to Sep Qtr 2014
|Private investment growth of 23% over the year to March 2012||-11.6% private investment over the year to Sep Qtr 2014
|A projected fiscal deficit of $1.249 billion in 2014-15||A projected fiscal deficit of $2.271 billion in 2014-15|
|Total State debt of $62 billion||Total State debt of $73 billion|
Link to Westpac Coast to Coast Report: https://wibiq.westpac.com.au/wibiqauthoring/_uploads/file/Australia/2014/December/WestpacCoasttoCoastDecember2014.pdf