LNP will cut jobs and essential services again, but where?

Opinion 2Queenslanders know the Liberal National Party will cut essential frontline services and government jobs across the State if it was ever to return to Government, but they don’t know where.

Prior to the 2012 State election, then LNP leader Campbell Newman promised public servants they would have a “bright and rewarding future” and there would be “no forced redundancies”.

Yet in its first Budget on 11 September 2012, Tim Nicholls announced:
“The total number of FTEs to be lost in 2012-13 will be 14,000…. To give Queensland public servants greater certainty, the Government has decided to bring all FTE losses into 2012-13.”

Mr Nicholls – with a straight face – has repeated Mr Newman’s promise of “no forced redundancies”.

In the two years since the last election, my Government has restored the frontline services cut so severely by Mr Newman and Mr Nicholls.

Nine out of every 10 government workers are in frontline or frontline support roles.
On behalf of Queenslanders, we have employed more doctors, nurses, teachers, police, fire, ambulance and child safety officers to provide services for Queenslanders.

Between the December 2014 and December 2016 quarters, the number of additional full-time equivalent (FTE) positions employed by the State Government include:
– 4007 extra teachers and teacher aides
– 3274 extra nurses
– 1199 extra doctors
– 295 extra ambulance officers
– 212 extra sworn police officers with an additional 94 recruits sworn in this year;
– 122 extra fire and emergency services officers and
– 71 FTE child safety officers, with an additional 129 officers to be appointed this year and more committed earlier this month.

The LNP must answer:
– If the LNP believes there are too many government workers, how many would they cut?
– If the LNP believes my Government has employed too many doctors, nurses, teachers, police, fire, ambulance and child safety officers, where are there too many?
– What hospitals now have too many doctors and nurses?
– What schools now have too many teachers and teacher aides?
– What communities now have too many ambulance, police, fire and emergency, and child safety officers?

Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP


Coalition finally sees value in infrastructure

Opinion 2After four wasted years, the Turnbull Government has finally accepted that borrowing to invest in productivity enhancing infrastructure can drive economic growth and job creation. Treasurer Morrison’s declaration that at a time of record low interest rates it makes sense to borrow for projects that boost economic productivity is precisely what Labor, the Reserve Bank and economists have been saying for years.

However, investing in the right projects is critical, which is why the Government must reverse its ill-advised decision to side-line Infrastructure Australia by establishing an Infrastructure Financing Unit within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Infrastructure Australia was created by the former Labor Government to independently assess infrastructure projects and to work with states and the private sector on funding arrangements. Its key role is to ensure that when the Government does borrow for infrastructure, it invests in projects that stack up.

Creating another bureaucracy to side-line the independent adviser makes no sense. The Government should have already learned that lesson from its creation of the Northern Australia Investment Facility, which was announced two years ago but has not invested in a single project. Having finally accepted economic common sense on infrastructure investment, the Government should use the 2017 Budget to tackle traffic congestion that is acting as a hand brake on economic and jobs growth in our cities. Infrastructure Australia approved Brisbane’s Cross River Rail and the Melbourne Metro projects before they received funding in the 2013 Budget.

One of the key reasons for the 20 per cent decline in total public sector infrastructure investment in the Government’s first two years in office was its 2014 decision to scrap such projects in favour of dud road projects that had not been the subject of proper planning.

The Government should also work with Infrastructure Australia on other critical public transport projects including the Western Sydney Rail, Perth’s Metronet and the AdeLINK light rail project in Adelaide.

Anthony Albanese MP