Joe Hockey’s second horror Budget in 12 months has failed Queenslanders again, Treasurer Curtis Pitt said.
Mr Pitt said the Abbott Government’s failures continue on health, education, infrastructure and jobs, leaving Queensland facing a multi-billion funding shortfall.
“The cuts to health and education funding announced in Joe Hockey’s first Budget have not been addressed in this Budget,” he said.
“Queensland is still facing an $18 billion funding shortfall in health and education over the next decade.
“This is despite Lawrence Springborg’s economic crystal ball gazing that Queensland would get an even greater share of health and education funding.
“The Queensland LNP is in denial – Joe Hockey refuses to provide the funding we need to pay our doctors and nurses and keep teachers in our classrooms.”
Mr Pitt said the Commonwealth Budget Papers reveal Queensland will be $924 million worse off in hospitals funding and $466 million worse off in school funding over the next three years compared to the specific purpose payments in last year’s federal budget.
“These savage cuts are yet another exercise in cost-shifting to the States, and a further sign of Mr Hockey’s chronic financial mismanagement,” he said.
“By Mr Hockey’s own admission, national unemployment is likely to remain stubbornly high at or above six percent for the next three years.
“That’s a damning indictment on a Budget which is supposed to be all about jobs and employment opportunities.
“Despite this, the Abbott Government is proposing root and branch changes to the Commonwealth public service which could threaten the job security of workers.
“Queensland’s federal public servants don’t need the same harsh medicine Campbell Newman’s arrogant LNP government dealt to our state public servants.”
Mr Pitt said key infrastructure priority projects such as Brisbane’s second river rail crossing, Gold Coast Light Rail extension and Sunshine Coast Rail Duplication had not received a single cent in funding from the Federal Budget.
“The Abbott Government’s Northern Infrastructure Fund isn’t a ‘fund’ at all – it’s a loan scheme and Mr Hockey isn’t giving us any detail on how North Queensland can access those concessional loans or even what the conditions are,” he said.
“However, we campaigned hard in Canberra for National Partnership Agreement funding and as a result the Commonwealth has provided a two-year extension for a series of NPAs in early childhood, remote indigenous housing and dental services.
“These extended NPAs which deliver Queensland approximately $350 million in additional funding to deliver vital services, and around half of this will go to kindies.
“And after standing up for Queensland’s fair share of GST, we are pleased that the Budget will deliver Queensland its agreed revenue share as recommended by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.”
Mr Pitt said the second Hockey Budget specifically recognised Queensland’s LNG export growth is helping to drive the nation forward.
“What all Queenslanders needed was a responsible Federal Budget that delivered on jobs and economic development – and Joe Hockey has failed in this task.”